The allure of living in another country is the opportunity to learn a new language, experience a different culture, and the chance to see the world. It’s no wonder your friend packed up their bags and hit the road—whether for that fanciful job or to study abroad.
You’re a tad jealous, but you’re mostly excited for them—that’s why you’ve been seeking gift ideas for overseas friends. You don’t want them to miss the comforts of home (or you) tooooo much, right? Just enough to want to come back to hang out with you from time to time. 😉
Keep reading to uncover great gifts for overseas friends.
The definitive list of the best gift ideas for friends abroad
1. Noise canceling headphones
Traveling overseas means hours spent at airports, long flights, and noise, unless you have a good pair of noise canceling headphones. If the headphones are wireless and portable, even better for easy carry-on packing. Either the in-ear Apple AirPods Pro or Bose Quiet Comfort 20s are great options for Apple users to reduce noise but also be able to control calls. With the press of a button you won’t miss important flight announcements.
Other great gifts to send abroad can help them shut out the world with over the ear fit headphones, like Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700 or the considerably cheaper COWIN E7 headphones.
2. Adventure camera
Although most students use their phones to take pictures, adventure cameras can help them capture all the memories of their time abroad. The waterproof GoPro Hero 8, or for less than $200, the older model GoPro Hero 7 Silver will help your student document their new adventures. The difference between these two is that the 8 has a front screen and records with smooth video stabilization.
3. International power adapters
There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and realizing you have the wrong adapter to charge your electronics. BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter with three AC sockets and four USB ports will ensure re-charging needs for laptops, phones, and tablets are being met.
4. Travel journal
A Maleden leather journal or Moleskine Voyageur Notebook are great gift ideas for overseas friends to keep a written record of their travels. Journals make great gifts for travelers to jot down their thoughts, special memories, and impressions about the places they visit. The Voyageur even has sections for budgeting, keeping daily schedules, and creating packing lists for that student who loves to be organized.
5. Comfortable sleep masks
Getting the essential sleep you need can be difficult when traveling. Sleep masks help us catch up on rest by blocking out the light on airplanes and trains. It is the perfect gift for the student whose roommate is up late studying. When choosing a sleep mask, you want to look for one that contours to the face like, for example, Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss. Another excellent option is the Mavogel Cotton Mask with side wings. The Mavogel puts less pressure on the eyes than other masks and is designed to block light coming from under the nose area. Both come with a carry pouch, great for travel.
6. A taste of home
What types of snacks is your friend missing most from back home? Consider making a DIY gift basket full of their favorite treats, or going all-in on a pre-made one. Who doesn’t love receiving food gifts for friends abroad?!
We like the salty option from Frito Lay, the lighter option here full of healthy snacks, or these delightful, picture-perfect macarons.
Amazon has the most digital books available in the e-reader market, so a Kindle is the ideal choice. Pack light with a Kindle Oasis or its cheaper version, Kindle Paperwhite.
Travel guides: Lonely Planet travel guidebooks offer city specific guides with first-hand tips, plus great maps to navigate a new destination.
8. A local experience from Airbnb
Consider purchasing a local experience as a gift idea for overseas friends. What’s better than getting to learn about a new culture than from a native? Give an Airbnb experience, it’s not just for accommodations, Airbnb has cultural immersion classes, tours, and adventure activities, there’s something for everyone.
9. Netflix Subscription
Yes—living abroad IS an adventure and yes, we hope your friend is spending more time exploring their new destination than watching TV, but… sometimes you need a night (or two) in, and when those needs arise, Netflix can be a great companion. It’s one of our favorite, oft-overlooked gifts to “send abroad.”
10. Laundry bag
No need to throw dirty clothes on the floor, this Two-piece travel laundry bag is a great way to stash a few loads of dirty laundry and makes transport to and from the laundry room or local laundromat easier.
11. LED photo clip display
Gift a bit of home to your student and help them brighten up their room decor with a light clip photo display. They can bring their photos to light and hang pictures of friends and family in their bedroom. Betus 10 foot 20 LED Photo Clip is battery powered with white twinkling lights, it has two light settings and a one-year free replacement warranty. Looking for a more colorful option, get this Magnoloran Multicolored 50 Photo Clip set. It comes with a remote control that has eight lighting modes.
Make their day with these gift ideas for overseas friends
We’re just scratching the surface with these gift ideas for overseas friends. What do you love to do together? What might they be missing the most from home? What reminds you most of them? Customize your gift to make it really meaningful, and don’t forget to make sure you buy gifts for friends abroad that mean something to you, too.
Written by Gina Duncan
Gina Duncan is a writer who loves to travel and share her adventures on My Rooftop Stories. She started traveling in college. Since then, she has been sharing her passion for travel by planning and leading teen trips through Europe and the United States. She is now focusing full time on travel, content writing, ghostwriting, and copy editing for blogs and websites. Check out her travel photos on Instagram.
Her current bucket list includes Rome, Tuscany, Mumbai, Cantabria, Reykjavik, Porto, Vietnam, Budapest, Amsterdam, and the Isle of Skye. She writes short stories and enjoy practicing yoga and meditation, journaling, taking dance classes, and watching T.V. She’s a bit of a television aficionado, she even put her honeymoon on pause to watch her favorite show.