Often times when I'm traveling I like to get a few souvenirs from whatever destination I'm visiting — a two-story bus from London, a miniature Eiffel-tower from Paris, a magnet, a mug, a T-shirt, etc. However the stores that happen to sell these items are usually located in the tourist districts and generally overpriced.

Is there a way to get local souvenirs without paying the tourist price? I assume that the margin on most of that stuff is huge, so there are probably places willing to sell them for less.

  • 5
    If you buy them from the internet I expect they should be much cheaper.
    – DBedrenko
    Dec 4, 2014 at 15:17
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    This answer is specific to London, but basically everything sold by the 'tourist shops' is not only wildly overpriced, it's also total tat. For a meaningful souvenir that's better quality, I'd recommend something from one of the museum gift shops e.g. if you want something bus/tube/transport-y try ltmuseumshop.co.uk for cool vintage posters and transport-design-related gifts. See also Science Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A Museum, Museum of London, British Museum.
    – A E
    Dec 4, 2014 at 17:28
  • Wouldn't most of the souvenirs be items a local wouldn't buy anyway? They're targeted to tourists, so I would expect your choices are pay or don't.
    – Andy
    Dec 4, 2014 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


I've had reasonable luck with large stores aimed at locals such as Carrefour or Sam's Club. It's also entertaining (for me anyway) to see what else is on offer. Of course they may not have the total kitsch but if you're flexible there can be some interesting finds. Another option is gift shops at museums - which often have more tasteful stuff, and campus shops at Universities. Along with the usual staples (many of which are of use to the traveler), campus shops often offer some "touristy" things that are affordable on a student budget.

If you really must have stuff that locals would never in a million years buy, I don't think there will be many options. If you want a bunch you could try to find wholesale dealers, liquidation outlets and that sort of thing, but the details would vary greatly from place to place and it might not be practical, let alone economical, even if you were fluent in the language and willing to travel all over the city.

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