Do you have a loved one studying abroad in the upcoming future? It’s natural to want to give them a parting gift or two to help make the transition as smooth as possible (and to avoid them forgetting about you, picking up their life, and never coming back—right?!). 😉
Creating the perfect study abroad survival kit as a gift can be challenging. Trying to find the perfect balance between sentimental, useful, and travel-friendly is no easy feat.
That’s why we’re here!
If you’re struggling while building your travel survival kit gift, look no further. We’ve curated the perfect combination of gift ideas, full of items that are practical, good quality, and come in a range of prices to fit any budget.
10 items to add to your travel survival kit gift
There’s nothing worse than having to pack a wet towel. But when you shower late at night and don’t know the next time you’ll have access to a washing machine or dryer, you don’t have much choice!
Microfiber towels are the perfect practical travel survival kit to help solve this issue. The towel can hold 4 times its weight in water and can dry up to 10 times faster than traditional cotton towels! The towel is also extremely light, and packs up very easily meaning it’s not going to take up precious space in the student’s luggage. The only thing you need to worry about is what size to get!
Sleeping in a new bed, experiencing the dorm or common room lifestyle, and frequent traveling via train, plane, and automobile, means student sleep schedules are often interrupted on study abroad trips. As a study abroad student however, sleep is of utmost importance! Not only do you need to focus on learning, but also having the energy to explore new cities and meet new people.
To improve the students’ chances of getting a good night’s sleep, consider including a few sleep tools in your gift! We’ve found a great travel set which includes a face mask, an inflatable neck pillow (which inflates automatically), and ear plugs—all simple ways to add more comfort and consistency to a sleep routine.
When you’re out all day using your phone for photos, maps, and communication with the rest of your group, it’s very easy to drain your phone’s battery. Compounding the issue is the fact that study abroad trips often entail long hours when you aren’t exactly sure when you’ll have access to an outlet for 5+ hours to charge your phone.
For the student’s safety, and your peace of mind, we definitely suggest adding a portable charger to your travel survival kit gift. The Anker portable charger is a top-seller on Amazon with almost 5 stars and over 17, 000 reviews. The charger is small, and offers at least 1 charge on almost all common phone models in 3-4 hours!
Any frequent traveler knows the constant battle of trying to fit all your favorite clothes in your luggage, not to mention the struggle of finding a specific item of clothing without it looking like there was an explosion.
If this sounds like your beloved traveler, you’ll want to add packing cubes to your present. The cubes allow you to fit more into your luggage, and allow for better organization (suggest having them put all of their shirts in one cube, their shorts in another, etc.).
If the study abroad trip is anywhere outside of your home country, the student is going to need a universal travel adapter. Instead of buying individual adapters for each different country, a universal adapter allows you to purchase one device which will last throughout all of the student’s travel adventures.
The Mibote universal travel adapter has international capability (US/EU/AU/UK plugs which cover over 160 countries), high power (supports charging items like phones, laptops, and cameras), and built in safety features which help avoid electric shock. The variety of ports also means you can use it to charge multiple USB devices at the same time! This truly is the most necessary and practical study abroad survival kit gift.
It’s unlikely your student is planning on packing a professional camera on their trip. They’re bulky, heavy, and expensive—all things study abroad students often try to avoid! However, it is likely that the student is going to be taking a ton of photos from their adventure, and sometimes phone camera quality doesn’t quite do the experience justice.
A portable phone camera lens is the perfect happy medium. It is essentially a professional camera lens the student can attach to their phone for improved camera quality and zoom. It’s small and portable, and there isn’t as much risk with porting it around wherever they go.
Just make sure you know their phone model when purchasing so you can ensure compatibility!
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that the student is likely not going to be renting a car on their study abroad trip. Car rentals are an unnecessary expense when most of the trip will already be planned and coordinated.
If the student plans on doing any activities or adventures outside of the study abroad schedule though, gifting them an Uber gift card as part of your travel survival kit is a great way to ensure comfortable, safe, and economic transportation.
Please note you may want to confirm that Uber is available in the country or countries they are traveling to before purchasing!
No one wants the bulkiness of physical books when traveling, but with the possibility of a lot of down-time on flights and long drives, reading is a great pastime to encourage, especially if the student is an avid reader!
The Kindle Paperwhite is a thin, glare-free, and waterproof digital reading solution that reads like real paper. The charge is also said to last weeks! Consider loading the Kindle with a couple of books, or pairing it with an Amazon and/or Kindle gift card so the student can get started on reading right away.
Further, if the study abroad experience includes courses that require textbooks, this Kindle is the perfect addition in that it helps the student avoid the bulk and weight of these physical books!
This is a very unique and fun addition that your recipient is sure to adore! This portable photo printer is similar in size to a phone and allows students to print photos instantly from their phone or social media via Bluetooth connection. This is an awesome way for the student to make and share memories with any friends they make along the way!
Bonus suggestion—grab a travel journal and put a couple photos of you and their other and family and friends in the front of the journal with a few words of advice, encouragement, or love. This is the perfect way to add a sentimental touch to your survival kit, and the student can continue to use the journal to record their experience, and as a spot to put their printed photos!
Though this is by far the most expensive item on the list, a suitcase is not the place to skimp on quality.
A good quality suitcase is imperative on a study abroad trip, especially if it is a lengthy trip. We’ve all been there—trying to awkwardly push down a suitcase handle that just won’t seem to collapse properly, or pulling a suitcase behind us that feels like it’s 100 lbs. because the wheels aren’t working.
The Away suitcase not only features 360 spinner wheels, but a hidden laundry bag, a TSA-approved combination lock, an interior compression system, and an ejectable battery that charges your phone. The carry-on size is also perfectly designed to fit the overhead bin of most major airlines, a size which is perfect for students who don’t want the burden of checking a bag and worrying about the possibility of lost luggage.
This is also the perfect place to pack the other items in your study abroad survival guide kit!
Make your travel survival kit gift useful, awesome, and personal!
Creating a study abroad survival kit is the perfect send-off for your loved one, and we hope this list gave you some inspiration for crafting your own! It’s important to make your survival kit practical, with good quality gifts the student will actually use and love.
You may also want to consider including a few personal touches like photos, a gift that reflects their hobbies or interests, or a digital gift card to their favorite (global) coffee chain. Adding a little personality to the kit in a way that doesn’t sacrifice ease of use and/or practicality is a great way to make the student truly feel loved and understood!
Authored by Jasmine Irven
Jasmine Irven is an ambitious 23 year old from Toronto. In 2018, she completed her Undergraduate Degree in a Media Studies program, where she specialized in Digital Communications.
She recently made the jump to full-time freelance after working in the corporate world for a couple of years and is excited to help businesses grow their online presence via writing, social media management, and website design. Jasmine is an avid traveller who is passionate about health and wellness, living sustainably, and creating meaningful work. Follow Jasmine on Instagram