I think that you are talking about two very different issues. Gifts and Trading Goods.
As the previous poster indicated it really depends where you will be cruising as to what trading goods you wish to carry.We have not found a lot of opportunity to trade
in the caribbean
. Cash is king here and folding money
is what most want.
The exceptions to that have been Cuba
, where soap,spices,rum and cigarettes can be readily converted into lobster. And a few isolated fishing
camps in Venezuela
where cigarettes and booze are requested for fish
Personally I am disinclined to supply alcohol in remote
areas to strapping men
who are likely to drink it all at once and then want to party....!
As to gifts, my personal opinion is that whilst it's great to say thank you for some kind of exceptional service
the dubious actions of some cruisers in handing out 'goodies' to all and sundry is demeaning. If we are asked for a gift I always insist on some kind of trade. It may be a mango or even a seashell but that allows an exchange that at least attempts some kind of balance.EVERYONE has something to trade.
I get quite mad if we are following a group of boats who are handing out largesse through the islands, it really does no favors to any of us, cruisers or recipients.
As to gifts for exceptional service
we carry a supply of t shirts with our boat name on and these are always valued as a thank you. And of course there is often an obvious need that you can fulfil from your ships stores. We have mended outboards, supplied hurricane
lamps and provided supplies in a number of these situations.