Melissa's Travels

Melissa’s Global Gift Guide: 2023

Throughout the year, I love sourcing special products that make great presents for all of the people in my life who love travel and artisan-made products. After 178 days on the road in 2023, in 19 countries (and a trip to Vienna still to come), these are my picks of a dozen worldly treasures from around the globe, to gift to the wanderers in your life this season.

From Turkey:

My first evil eye luggage tag by Madame Malachite was given to me by a dear Turkish friend. Being someone who believes that travel is always better with talismans, I don’t know how I ever traveled without it. I now have one on both my Indagare carry-on tote bag (see more below) and my wheeled suitcase. Who wouldn’t want to carry good luck and protection with them wherever they go? SHOP HERE

Related: Istanbul Insider: Textile Designer Madeline Weinrib Reveals Her Top Spots

From Capri:

The two sisters (and now one of their daughters) behind the distinctive jewelry brand Grazia e Marica Vozza also make really special evening bags that have the same perfect mix of elegance and ease as the island of Capri, where the brand was born. SHOP HERE

Related: Melissa’s Favorite New Finds in Florence

From Tuscany:

Author and recent guest on my Passport to Everywhere podcast Frances Mayes wrote her first best-selling book Under the Tuscan Sun about acquiring her Tuscan villa Bramasole, and after restoring the house, she began creating olive oil from the ancient groves on the property. It has been a staple in our house for years. SHOP HERE

Related: Passport to Everywhere Podcast Episode — Travel Legends: Author Frances Mayes on Tuscany and Home

From Mexico City:

On many of our Insider Journeys to Mexico City we make a visit to a very special perfumer, Xinú, which creates amazing, all-natural scents. Even people who generally don’t love perfumes fall for these gorgeous scents. Normally, I wouldn’t give something so personal as a scent, but these are total crowd-pleasers. SHOP HERE

Related: Mayan Mysteries: Spotlight on Guatemala

From Texas:

Two of my favorite champions of artisans, Madeline Weinrib and Indian textile designer Peter d’Ascoli, teamed up to create this stunning silk kaftan for the Heirloom Project at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Peter designed it to celebrate the new Hossein Afshar Galleries for Art of the Islamic Worlds. Its pattern is inspired by Shakhrisyabz Suzani, now on view in the galleries. SHOP HERE

Related: Melissa’s Picks: The Best Travel Bags for Touring

From Tennessee:

Of course, a weekend at America’s legendary Blackberry Farm would make a great gift, but to bring a taste of the farm to someone you love, sign them up for the Blackberry Farm Cheese Club. SHOP HERE

Related: Passport to Everywhere Podcast Episode — Hotel Legends: Blackberry Farm with Mary Celeste Beall

From the U.K.:

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I have adopted a new carry-on suitcase from the English heritage brand, Globetrotter. Each suitcase is handmade in the UK with super-light fiberboard sides and brass and leather fittings to ensure feather weight and super strength. It is possible to customize the bags with your own color combination and monograms.  SHOP HERE

Related: What’s New in London This Fall

From Switzerland:

I discovered Made51, an amazing UNHCR project, at the airport in Geneva, where a small boutique exhibited the work of refugees from Syria. As their website explains, “The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time—with over 110 million people now living in forced displacement. There is an urgent need for a whole-of-society approach to address this humanitarian crisis. With the simple act of buying refugee-made products, you’re supporting collaborations with 35 social enterprises in 23 countries around the world that together are creating opportunities for 3,700+ artisans to use their skills and heritage to earn an income.” I especially love these woven coasters, made in the Mahama and Kigeme refugee camps in Rwanda.  SHOP HERE

Related: Melissa’s Travels: On Going Back to School — Europe’s Top Language School

From Qatar:

I discovered these dates when I was in Qatar last year just before the World Cup and to say that you have never tasted dried fruit until you have tasted these is an understatement. I didn’t even think I liked dates and now I crave these special treats. SHOP HERE

Related: Melissa Biggs Bradley’s Travel Tips for Exploring Qatar

From Greece:

Eugenia Chandris scours her home country of Greece and beyond for special small artisan makers to curate her online global boutique A Magic Cabinet. I love the Greek Salt Odyssey sea salt flakes (based in Thessaloniki, Salt Odyssey harvests from the Messolonghi wildlife preserve), Seacret inspiration herbed olive oil (established in Kalamata) and the Choe beeswax candles, which are hand-poured with Mediterranean fragrances on the island of Corfu. SHOP HERE

Related: Indagare’s Mykonos Summer Update

From Colombia:

All of the products carried on this site are made by artisan communities in Colombia and many take dozens of hours to produce. The traditional mochila bags and the straw placemats are great presents. SHOP HERE

Related: Just Back from: Celebrating Heritage Textiles at XTANT in Mallorca

From Paris:

We’re thrilled to be partnering with 1stDibs, an online design marketplace (inspired by the magic of the Paris flea market) that vets and collects the finest sellers and makers in vintage, antique and contemporary furniture, home décor, art, fine jewelry, watches and fashion—sourced from more than 600 cities around the world. For a taste of Paris, here you can find a curated selection of vintage Hermes treasures, like ashtrays and scarves. SHOP HERE

As an Indagare traveler, you'll receive 20 percent off your first purchase on 1stDibs (up to $375 in savings) and an exclusive consultation with one of their Private Client specialists, when you sign up for a 1stDibs account here. Happy hunting!

Related: The 26 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Plus... The Easiest Global Gifts:

Gifting on the Go with Mytheresa: Since I am carry-on-only obsessive, but I am also often hosted by wonderful people on my travels, I discovered a great way to send special thank-you presents from around the world to anyone, without carrying them in my baggage: using our partner Mytheresa. I select the gift online and send the link, the recipient address and my message to my dedicated personal shopper Mikayla, and she gets it packaged and shipped anywhere (email myindagare@mytheresa.com to get started; your dedicated Mytheresa Personal Shopper can also curate individualized style edits of must-have pieces for any of your upcoming trips). Some of my favorites Mytheresa gifts include this Massimo Listri: The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries book by Taschen, Les-Ottomans tray and Audo Copenhagen wooden vaseSHOP HERE

The Very Best Carry-On, from Indagare: We designed our own travel tote bags after years of trying many others. We took our favorite features—from water-repellant bottoms and interior pockets to straps that secure them on wheelie bags—and adapted them to the largest TSA-approved dimensions, in a high-quality canvas with super-strong brass zippers. No one on the Indagare team travels without theirs! You can order the Indagare Travel Tote online here.

Give the Gift of Indagare! Gift a year of membership—or a credit towards one of our Insider Journeys—to the travelers in your life. Click here to purchase a digital gift card.

Give for Good

For gifts that make a positive impact around the world, here are some of our team’s top recommendations:

  • Indonesia’s Saleh Bay is home to the second largest whale shark population on earth. And when you stay at Amanwana, you can support the protection of these gentle giants, thanks to a partnership with Konservasi Indonesia, by adopting a whale shark. Learn more
  • The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya cares for orphaned baby elephants until they can be released back into the wild. When you donate or adopt an elephant, you support the costs of their milk, housing and caregivers—as well as the economic empowerment of local women (Reteti sources their milk from Samburu women goat farmers). Learn more
  • The Māori Arts and Crafts Institute of Te Puia in New Zealand protects the traditional crafts and ancestral lands of the indigenous Māori people for future generations. When you purchase a gift from their gallery, you’re supporting the artisans and their programs. Learn more

Related: The Indagare Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Our Favorite Gifts for Travelers

All products featured are independently selected by Indagare. However, if you purchase something through select links above, Indagare may earn an affiliate commission.

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