IMPACT: Vacation with Compassion

We all love going on vacation, and I know that when I go on an amazing adventure, I always want a souvenir to remember the occasion. Unfortunately, there are a lot of souvenir trades that are cruel to animals and harmful to the environment. We have all seen the dried-out starfish souvenirs at the beach shops, or the rattlesnake heads at the Grand Canyon, and even the newest trend of live animals in key chains, but what is the true cost of these little trinkets? A life is not worth a small souvenir. We can make a huge impact just by refusing to purchase those souvenirs made of animal products, or even of the animal itself. There are many humane ways to have something wonderful to remember the trip by.

Handmade products:

Almost anywhere you go, you can find amazing handmade souvenirs. Handmade goodies, from bracelets to baskets, can be an amazing remembrance of a fun time! I love to go into the smaller souvenir shops and look for anything locally handmade. Not only can you find some of the most unique items, but you are also boosting the local economy while protecting the wildlife and habitats that you went there to visit in the first place.

Photographs:

You can always take pictures to remember your trip! Instead of snatching that beautiful flower out of nature and witnessing it die two days later, take a picture of it. That picture can last forever and will always be just as beautiful as the moment you first saw it. Pictures are really one of the best souvenirs you could ever have. The memories will always be trapped in time and last longer than anything you could possibly buy.

Post cards:

If you are like me and not the best photographer, you can always buy postcards. Yes, they are printed on paper, so they're not the most eco-friendly, but if you plan on keeping them as souvenirs, they're not the worst choice. There are always so many beautiful post cards to choose from in tourist shops, no matter where you are traveling.

The experience:

Isn’t the best souvenir of our trip the experience itself? Memories that you will never forget are the most amazing takeaway from a vacation. So, the next time you are on a trip, think to yourself, "Do I really need this souvenir? Do I need to waste precious vacation time walking around a shop full of needless items to remember this experience, especially if the cost is a precious life?" Instead, visit a local eatery, and try some new and exciting (vegan!) food. Go on a fun excursion. The money you spend on those souvenirs could instead be used to spend on a fun activity.  

So, the next time you go on an adventure, opt for these cruelty-free souvenir options instead. Consider skipping the shops all together and just enjoy the nature and the company with whom you're traveling. You can very much enjoy a trip without a trinket. Vacations are meant for making memories-not for collecting things! You may just have the best vacation of all, and save the local wildlife in turn!

 

-Vanessa Savage

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