One of my favorite things about traveling is picking out gifts for my friends and family. While I’m out of town, I’ll purchase little things at this-or-that market, the antique store that I stumble in to on my way to dinner, and more often than not, the consistently under-appreciated bookstore. It’s not so much a generous gift-giving trait as it is my love of shopping in uncharted territory. Without fail, my suitcase comes back with way more presents than I have friends.

Over the years I’ve noticed that some gifts are particularly well received:

1. Beautiful notebooks: Maybe it’s because they remind us of Indian Jones, or er, Brigitte Jones, but handsome notebooks are always a good gift. They inspire us to write, often serve as free therapy, and look good on a book shelf.

2. & 3. Ethnic jewelry: Everyone looks good adorned, and the great thing about exotic jewelry is that it doesn’t need to be fine, or even expensive, to be cool. The more foreign it looks that better, and generally I stick to earrings or bracelets that are small enough to fit in to any suitcase.

4. Gauzy scarves: The best part thing about scarves is that you can always use one. Weather it’s to give an outfit more life, to tie around a bag to pull a look together, or to drape over a lamp for a cool hippy vibe, they are never not appreciated.

5. Trinkets and do-dads: Many people won’t agree with me on this one, but I think that tasteful, beautiful chachkies can be wonderful gifts. Personally, I’m particularly fond of Buddhas and snow globes. If you pick something out that means something special to a person back home, it makes them feel as if they were traveling with you. And what could be better than that?


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