An opportunity being a corporate flight attendant is the ability to find unique and “totally awesome” gifts for everyone on your list, often at lower prices than you might imagine!
Wherever you go, there will be tourist-aimed shops, but these likely aren’t the best places to find the best gifts. Find out where the locals go. They’ll be able to point you to off-the-beaten-path stores that carry quality and authentic items. It’s also helpful to read up on specific items that a city or country is known for, especially if you have that item in mind before going. Not only will this strategy allow you to find the best place to buy, it will also guide you on whether you’re paying a fair price when you get there.
For relevant items, get a certificate of appraisal or authenticity from the merchant and remember that there are many places in the world where haggling is still a large and expected part of a business transaction, so don’t be afraid (in the right setting) to do so!
Make sure you have a written list of the people for whom you want to purchase gifts and a note on what those people generally like, and try to find out if they have a special affinity for a certain place – whether it’s a region or a country. Does you niece love anime and are you heading to Japan soon? As the hub of the genre, there will be plenty of opportunities to find something she’d love. Consider stocking up on the many Kit-Kat varieties only available in Japan. If you’re heading to a different country, think about what kinds of candies or other foods are unique to that place and bring some back for everyone to sample. They’ll make great stocking stuffers!
Has your sister dreamed of a trip to Paris or the French countryside? Perhaps she’d like something from the Louvre gift shop or an original painting from a local artist?
If you’re at a loss, try buying items that speak of where they came from. Belgium has a reputation for beautiful lace or pick up a beer stein in Germany. If you find yourself in Morocco, look for pottery. Russia is home to beautiful lacquer boxes.
Whatever you find, though, it’s sure to be the hit of your gathering. Not everyone has the wonderful opportunity of travel that you do, but you can offer everyone a little taste of what you have experienced.