A few of my favourite things

A few of my favourite things

It’s a lucky person who gets to travel frequently. But with a little less luck, you can still be a person who knows other people who travel frequently. When your friends are away in Tokyo or Paris or London and ask what souvenirs you want, you need to play smartly. Don’t ask for yet another magnet, for that last spot behind the fridge, and what’s the point in getting the same box of Ferrero Rocher that’s now available at the neighbourhood Patel Stores?

There is much more to international destinations than what you can buy from the airport duty free. With a little research, you can find local delicacies, handicrafts and chic, quirky souvenirs.

To help you get started, we put together a list of hand-picked items from popular destinations around the world. You won’t find them in most duty-frees, smuggled goods stores or in-flight catalogues, and most certainly not at Patel Stores. Sure, your friends might have to travel a bit or make a few phone calls. But then what are friends with visas for?

Sydney: Foqi Bent Bottle Opener

Shanghai: Shanghai Code Vintage Glasses

Zurich: Freitag luggage

Since 1993, the brothers have been making cult luggage out of old tarpaulins, tyre tubes and seat belts. While messenger bags remain their forte, they also have a variety of wallets and smaller totes. The flagship store in Zurich is hipster mecca. Prices start from €43 (around 2,700) for a one-of-a-kind iPhone 4 pouch. For details, log on to www.freitag.ch

Paris: Le Petit Atelier De Paris

New York: The New Yorker Hard Drive

This is the magazine that sets the bar for all others. Arguably the greatest thing made of paper in the world, ‘The New Yorker’ magazine has enthralled readers for decades with its formidable array of fiction and non-fiction writers, and unexplainable cartoons. From J.D. Salinger to Malcolm Gladwell, the magazine’s archives are a thinking person’s delight. Which is why you must ask, nay demand, that your friend visit The Cartoon Bank on Broadway and buy you a copy of the Complete New Yorker Hard Drive. The slim little 120 GB portable drive contains every page from the magazine since 1925. Update DVDs are periodically released as well. Stupendous value at $179 (around 8,000). For details, log on to www.cartoonbank.com

Cape Town: Imagenius Obama Fabric

London: Underground Film Map

The London Transport Museum may sound like the classic tourist trap but it is, in fact, a charming little place that is sadly seldom visited. So do your friends a favour by getting them to go there and buy you an Underground Film Map. The map is a reinterpretation of the classic London Tube map with the station names replaced with those of movies and TV series that were shot at or around the stations. It captures 70 years of London film history. All for £9.95 (around 700). For details, log on to www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk