As the family member or friend of a lucky student about to study abroad, you want to do what you can to make their experience a great one! The internet is littered with helpful must-haves for every traveler—but what about gifts that will help your loved one feel more at home, wherever they are in the world?
Besides the gift of you visiting (which is not always feasible, womp), the most thoughtful gifts for someone studying abroad is one that will help make their new living space an oasis of calm and source of inspiration in a foreign land.
Read on for the eleven creative gifts for someone studying abroad, all in the form of wall decor that is light, practical, and attractive! The bonus is, once your gift is on their wall, it will always inspire them to think of you, too! You wouldn’t want them to forget you on their grand adventure, would you?
Gifts for someone studying abroad they’ll love
What makes a great travel gift for a student studying abroad? We decided you can arm them either with great stuff to take on their adventure or ways to commemorate their experiences in their dorm rooms once they make it back.
1. Scratch off world map
This fun map is quickly becoming a must-have for any wanderer, making it one of the best gifts for travelers this year! It’s easy, helps keep track of all the adventures—and it’s an ever-changing decoration! This Scratch The World Travel Map by Maps International is highly detailed, and includes many major cities, for increased accuracy. This is the best gift for a student traveling abroad—it is a beautiful piece that any person seeing the world needs on their wall.
2. Portable Bluetooth Speaker
When you arm your study abroad student with their favorite playlists // Spotify account, they’re invincible! Give them the gift of sharing their music with friends at the pool, on the trails, at the mountain top, and more—this portable bluetooth speaker is one of the best gifts for college students studying abroad.
3. Portable printer
For anyone who tends to take pictures on their phones—which is everyone, especially a student exploring the world!—this Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer from Polaroid is a genius way to make sure those memories are preserved and displayed. If your student tends to panic-delete every time they try to take a photo (if you know, you know), this gadget is especially for them. Small, lightweight, portable, this printer connects directly to both Android and iOs devices, making printing those phone images a breeze—and making snapping those shots stress-free!
4. City map
Although one of the best gifts for a student studying abroad is access to Google Maps, this City Map Art Print from Modern Map Art comes in at a tie. There is nothing like an old-fashioned map for helping one get the lay of the land—and for when that precious phone battery is running low! These gorgeous and useful maps come in a variety of cities, so you can personalize it to whatever fabulous place your loved one is studying. Or, you can even give your student a map of their home city, as a nice reminder that home will be waiting when they’re ready to come back.
5. Turkish towel
One of the best travel hacks out there is to take a Turkish towel instead of one of those designed-for-travel microfiber towels, which, let’s be real, do not get the job done. Light and breathable, Turkish towels travel wonderfully, dry quickly, and get softer with every wash. The Turkish towel from DoKa Home comes in a variety of cool and pretty designs, meaning the towel can double as a wall hanging when not in use. Multi-use items are one of the best gifts for students studying abroad—there is only so much you can squeeze into a suitcase, after all!
6. Push pin map
A close cousin of the scratch-off travel map is this World Map Poster with Pins from Pin Adventure Maps. The beauty of the push pin is that you can get very precise with where you have visited—and even color-code in whatever category pleases your little organized heart. Let’s be real…every country deserves more than one scratch-off…or, um, trip.
7. Apple iPad
For the student studying abroad that doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of a map poster, this beautiful tapestry by Jinmi Handicrafts comes in a variety of map designs and would be a great addition to any dorm room. It can also double as a privacy-maker—which everyone needs at some point, no matter how nice the roommate!
8. Hanging travel organizer
Hanging travel organizers are a necessity for any traveler—and this doubles for a student potentially sharing bathroom space! Unfortunately the market is saturated with organizers that are poorly made, meaning they will start leaking at the worst possible moment. Look no further than this foldable wet pack and toiletry bag by Drakensberg, made from canvas and leather. It’s sturdy, attractive, and will look great on any wall. This bag is an investment that is sure to benefit your traveler wherever they go.
9. Instax Mini Camera
One of the best ways to make friends in a new country is to buy them a fun and friendly camera. To really solidify your new friendship, hand them a ready-made copy of your adorable new pic!
10. Tortuga Travel Backpack
The best of the best, this travel backpack from Tortuga Backpacks will not only keep their stuff safe from the elements, but will keep them looking stylish, too. This 45 liter pack comes in three colors and packs like a suitcase (clam shell luggage for the win!). The best part? This roomy pack is still carry-on friendly, so you’ll save your study abroad student hundreds of dollars in unnecessary check-in fees! It’s one of the most practical gifts for college students studying abroad.
11. Camera Lens Kit
This list of the best gifts for travelers wouldn’t be complete without these incredible add-on camera kits for your everyday smart phone! Who doesn’t want to come back from their trip abroad with hoards of photos to add to their iCloud?
Buy the best gift for someone studying abroad
There you have it! Eleven incredibly creative gifts for someone studying abroad—because the best thing you can do is to make sure their new living spaces are homey and organized. Since you can’t actually be there yourself, these gifts will ensure your loved one is living in a pretty and organized space where they can plan their new adventures, learn how to get around their new city, keep track of where they’ve been, and relax when they’re homesick!
Tell us—which one do you think is the best gift for a student traveling abroad?
Authored by Amy McMahon
Amy McMahon has lived all over the world, from China to Czechia, teaching and telling stories along the way. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and baby daughter, where she is an emerging writer. She has been published on Medium, Listverse, HerStry, Intrepid Times, and in several travel anthologies. You can find her online at amyandthegreatworld.com or @amygreatworld (Instagram & Twitter).