If one is lucky enough to afford a vacation this summer, chances are, it will be hard to swing all of the souvenirs that everybody inevitably expects. On one hand, souvenirs seem like just another marketing gimmick that can turn into a drain on your wallet. Truth is, when you really enjoy yourself on vacation, it’s natural to want to somehow preserve that feeling. The problem is, you’ll rarely capture that complex range of emotions in a pair of novelty salt and pepper shakers. So what do you do? Are souvenirs even necessary in this day and age? Protocol usually demands some sort of offering to coworkers, house sitters or pet sitters who take care of things while you are away. So how much should you spend? For extended family members, a postcard, especially from a far off land with a colorful stamp, is often gift enough. In this age of wireless communication, old fashioned snail mail is a novel excitement once more (keep things simple and print address labels before you go). Local goodies that travel easily like taffy, fudge and caramel corn will never be turned away by coworkers or hired help but the real conundrum is how to save the memories for your family. Try to think of the aspect that meant the most during your vacation. Live animals such as fish and hermit crabs should be avoided as they soon lose their appeal about five minutes after you return home. Simple is better, like a sea shell painted and made into a soap dish, or a copy of a recipe of your vacation region’s cuisine that you can make long after you return. A collage of family photos of the trip is easy to frame while pictures can even be made into a memory book from many online sites. Craft stores sell see-through holiday bulb ornaments that can be filled with some sand and tiny shells from your favorite beach. Write the date and location of the trip and you have a thoughtful, useful souvenir. If it becomes a tradition, your tree will soon be filled with good memories. Do you buy souvenirs for your vacation? Do you include the kids in the planning and budgeting process?