When traveling, time and again, there is a local guide who makes my trip a success. They go that extra distance to make sure I see birds, stay healthy, and have an enjoyable trip, in short, they become friends. By far, my favorite gift for these local guides (in addition to a tip), is a bird book. I’ll often bring a second book just for this purpose. Because most bird books are published in the UK or USA they are neither available, nor affordable in many countries. Time and again, I find local guides either need a book for themselves or to train new guides. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving since subsequent visiting birders get to enjoy the fruit of their study.
Other thank you gifts can be a tricky thing, and though money is what most people need and want, (tipping is good!), it may not always feel sufficient or appropriate. For occasions when I want to express a personal thank you, I carry small products made in my home town. These items either have the name of my town or state on it, or have a story attached. For example, small bees wax candles made by a friend, or small bottles of preserves with the name of my town on the label both take up little space and travel well. Keep in mind that some items like chocolate, melt in the tropics and can make a mess of your bag. Alternatively small flashlights (with batteries), caps, t-shirts, or pen knives may be more your style. Whatever it is, it will be appreciated and received in the manner in which it was intended.