5 Great Museum Store Gifts for Travel

Museums and travel have a lot more in common than you may think. It makes sense that museum gift shops would have lots of great gifts and gadgets for travelers because many of their patrons are vacationing families or visitors from out of town.

Whenever I went on a school field trip as a kid my mom would give me a few dollars to spend in the gift shop on whatever I wanted. This was very exciting and overwhelming for this young museum lover as museum gift shops can often seem like mini-museums themselves. How could I be expected to choose one item when there was so much colorful packaging to distract me and everything was so beautifully merchandised?!


One of my childhood favorites was the Astronaut Ice cream I bought from the New York Hall of Science. It's basically freeze dried ice cream that comes in a silvery pouch that looks very spacey. As an adult I wound up working for the New York Hall of Science and they still sell it there! It's definitely not as good as real ice cream but it's a pretty good travel purchase. Pouches of freeze dried food are available in many sports and camping stores but you never know when you'll wind up in outer space with an ice cream craving!


One of my favorite gadgets that I'm fairly obsessed with is the Gorilla pod. My friend Anthony who was my flat-mate in New Zealand introduced me to it and now I don't know how I ever traveled without one. It's basically a small tripod with bendable joints that can wrap itself around almost anything. It's great for us solo travelers who want to get a shot of ourselves once in a while and far less cumbersome than a conventional tripod. Just wrap it around a tree and put your camera on self timer. Voila! You've got a beautiful self portrait. The Gorilla pod is made by a company called Joby and has become very popular now so you can buy them on Amazon.com or even at Walmart but I bought mine at the Museum of the International Center of Photography in New York City. And now I own two of them. One for my little point-and-shoot camera and another for my DSLR.


You can buy these little roll-up tote bags just about anywhere these days but I purchased this particular one at the Discovery Museum in Times Square. This is definitely one little item I always take with me on any trip. It's great if you need a bag for shopping and will eventually be a money saver when you are checking in your luggage at the airport and your bag is overweight. Just pull out your tote bag, fill it with some items from your luggage and bring it on the plane as a carry-on bag. No more overweight baggage fees!

Besides, saving you money, it also helps save the environment. Plastic shopping bags are banned here on Maui so I always bring a few of these bags with me when I shop for groceries.



Speaking of money savers, this New York City subway map is actually a wallet. There's no more need to travel around wearing an unflattering money-belt under your clothes to protect your money. This wallet is made out of Tyvek so it's waterproof and won't ever rip and since it looks like a map and not a wallet you won't need to worry about it getting stolen. It has two pockets so you can separate different currencies and it can hold many credit cards, ID's etc..I purchased this wonderful wallet at the NYC Transit Museum.

                                    

This last one, was a gift from my good friend Jess who I worked with at the Wildlife Conservation Society. She purchased this lovely WCS Safari hat for me at the WCS Bronx Zoo store. This hat came to the rescue when I was climbing up Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. I thought my husband packed the sunblock and he thought I packed the sunblock. I know I look like a nerdy spy in this photo but my safari hat protected my already massively freckled face from being scorched by the merciless African sun. As we got higher and higher I eventually had to resort to putting on my rain coat to protect the rest of my skin. Another great use for the hat is that if it gets really hot you can cool yourself down by dunking it in a stream and plunking it back down on your head. Instant air conditioner.

There are so many other great finds in Museum Stores so don't forget to stop in and have a look on your way out of the museum!

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