Growing up, I always loved receiving a postcard from an aunt or cousin from some far-flung place I had never heard of. Those were the days when there was no Google and if you wanted information, you would have to search for it in an Encyclopedia. In fact you would have to shift through volumes of books to find a snippet of relevant information because there was no Wikipedia back then either. But I will stop walking down memory lane now & explain why I think postcards are so cool, even in this day & age. Here are my 10 tips on Postcard shopping:
1. There is an art about picking a postcard. It has to be right for the person you are sending it to but needs to look good on their fridge too.
2. The postcard should not be too expensive, after all there is always the risk it will get lost in the Post. So something reasonable or if you have a few people to send to, one of those buy 2 get 3rd free offers are great.
3. Always find out where you can buy stamps. Some shop keepers will sell you these as well, others won’t have any. This means a trip to the local Post Office (Called ‘La Poste’ if you’re in Morocco) . So don’t wait till the last minute to make that postcard purchase, otherwise you might not be able to send it.
4. Just to be clear, the postcard needs to be sent from the country you are in, not from the Post Office down the road from your home. A foreign stamp is the seal of an international postcard.
5. Get the kids to send a postcard to their class & best friends. It is something that will inspire other children. And their best friends will feel seriously chuffed to have received something through the letter box, since they haven’t discovered the joy of receiving bank statements & bills as yet.
6. Souvenirs are always hard to find. What to pick for that fussy niece or nephew, what to chose for Mum & Dad? Far easier to send a postcard, which will give them a nice surprise a few days or weeks after your return from holiday. When I went to Fez with my Aunt, I secretly posted a postcard to her address. She loved the surprise of receiving the postcard, a couple of weeks after we returned home from Fez.
7. Many of us are travelling on Budget Airlines these days, with their serious bag restrictions. So taking souvenirs home can be impossible. In fact, one of the twins fell in love with a painting in Marrakesh which we simply could not bring back because we had booked no hold luggage. Instead, he got to pick a postcard and sent it to his best mate.
8. So after the twin’s best mate received the postcard from Marrakesh, his family ended in Marrakesh for a holiday thereafter. Postcards really can inspire other people to travel & try somewhere new. So if you really like where you went on holiday, share the love before you return home, buy sending a postcard.
9. It may seem like a small thing but when you buy a one, you make a tiny contribution to the local economy. Particularly when you purchase from smaller local shops. Your purchase is unlikely to make the shop owner rich but it might be what helps him put a meal in front of his family, at the end of the day. That is very much the case in some countries.
10. Of course, sometimes postcards fail to arrive. It is just one of those things. But do not let that put you off. The rewards of sending one & receiving, far outweigh the risks of it getting lost. But just in case, you could always buy some delightful fridge magnets. One of the twins took a photo of these cute camel magnets when we last in Essaouira.
So next time you are abroad, send a souvenir. Send a postcard.
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