Souvenirs are a MUST in our House! We have cups, magnets, t-shirts, mugs, dolls, and everything in between from all over the world. I love to get and give souvenirs because I love looking at that nostalgic reminder of vacation and going back if only for a moment to a really great time of making memories with my family.
One thing about souvenirs is they get expensive VERY quick and if you are anything like my family you plan and budget for your vacations. I remember going to Disney last Christmas and Katie Beth begged and begged for a balloon for the Christmas parade, and against Shane’s better judgement and our usual rules he gave in to our little princesses request and $14 (yes you read that right!) later she had a balloon that poped when we got back to the resort!
Five years ago after Katie Beth’s 2nd trip to Disney World and a trip to Dollywood with a very “needy” (HA!) toddler we decided to come up with a system that would still allow for souvenirs and it would give daily incentive for our little ones to have good attitudes and try even harder to strive for excellence in their behavior. I am in no way saying this is the perfect plan for every family and that a souvenir doesn’t find it’s way in our stroller every now and again, but for the most part our Park Souvenir plan has helped us save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years.
1.Plan ahead a “souvenir” for every day.
Plan Plan Plan! This does take some planning on the part of mom and dad, but this can save you the MOOLAH in the long run. I try to make sure that my kids have a gift that will be in theme with our trip. If we are going to Disney I try and make sure that their gifts are themed with the park we attended the day they receive their goody!
2. Make receiving a “souvenir” a reward.
One of the greatest things about our souvenir system is we require good behavior in order to receive each days souvenir. You would be surprised at how much whining is cut out of the day when your children are reminded of their prize that is waiting back at the resort. This also reduces the amount of times children ask for every souvenir they pass by, because they know if they behave, they are PROMISED a souvenir as soon as they get back.
3. Shop on Sale
When purchasing your gifts go for the DEALS! Shop online early! You can find TONS of official Disney Parks merchandise online and have it shipped directly to your door. If you are a lucky one like me, you may live close to a Disney outlet store, if so take full advantage of their deals- not just on souvenir prizes, but on things you will use in the parks (signature books, fans, towels, ears, etc).
4. Give an actual Souvenir budget
Every child (and adult for that matter) likes to have a little spending money in their pocket while on vacation. We aren’t such sticklers that we don’t buy any souvenirs from the park at all. At the beginning of vacation we give each child their allotted amount of money and they can spend it at their discretion. This makes for very happy travelers .
Regardless if you go on vacation with a plan for souvenirs or not, as long as you are with family you are sure to make memories that will last longer than any souvenir that you could ever acquire! Remember to live life to the fullest and HAPPY TRAVELS!
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