Responsible Shopping is Bargain Shopping for Authentic Items
Shopping has always been associated with travel and when people travel to a new destination selecting the right souvenir is important. With the increasing popularity in some places and increasing numbers of travelers it’s harder to find the right souvenir. The following are some tips for responsible shopping:
- Buy Local
Keep traditions alive by buying locally and not from large stores or purpose-built tourist markets. Destinations like Siem Reap have quite a few of the latter that your travelers should avoid in favor of buying locally made and produced items. Locally made items are more sustainable because they support the local economy and not the huge Chinese export market. Go for Artisan family shops.
If you see big tourist buses at a shopping place, that is a good reason to stay away. Indochina has a host of small Artisan family-run shops. Hoi An is a great example. At Khiri Travel Indochina, we train our guides and keep our partners informed of where best to go to buy custom tailored clothes or other Artisan items.
- Ask your guide
Don’t be afraid to ask the guides. They may know or can ask around if a product is made locally and can advise on where the best places are to shop. A memorable gift is one that comes from the region in which your travelers visited.
- Avoid plastic or excess packaging
This one is pretty obvious; however, people in Asia sometimes feel the need to mummify a gift in multiple layers of plastic and then put it in more plastic. It’s best to stay away from plastic altogether if possible. If a souvenir comes in plastic, it’s probably not an authentic handicraft or a local item.
- Do not buy or eat endangered species or any product made from such
- Have fun! Shopping in Asia is an amazing experience. Engage the local people and try your hand at bargaining. Don’t be unreasonable, but finding a good bargain is all part of the experience.