Friday, August 28, 2015

Gifts for Someone Studying Abroad

Hello Loves,

This semester two of my best friends are studying abroad. It is absolutely horrible for me because I'm going to miss them so much! I decided to send them a little package before they left. I filled it with just a couple of things that I thought they'd like and find useful abroad. One of the girls that is going her birthday is within the first couple of days of getting abroad so I sent some surprise birthday stuff to my other friend so they can throw her a surprise party. I love parties so I hope they enjoy themselves.

Some key pieces of advice before getting presents before buying stuff remember that they are downsizing to go abroad. As much as you want to buy them knick knacks and fun things, they have very limited space to take everything they need so keep in mind that everything you get them has to be useful or it won't be used. Another quick piece of advice is to keep in mind where that person is going so you can buy weather & culturally appropriate.

Obviously this is a super important part of traveling. I personally find luggage to be a very personal thing to buy, but some people really like giving and receiving luggage as a gift. I think that it is really hard to know what luggage suits a person best, but keep in mind where that person might be going. If they are going to Europe maybe a suitcase or a multipurpose backpack would be better. If they are going somewhere more adventurous maybe a duffle bag or just a multipurpose backpack. Just keep that in mind when shopping. Stay useful!

Luggage Tag Personalized Travel Tag Custom Luggage Identification Tag Baggage ID Tag Vacation Suitcase Tag Kids Luggage Tag Carry On Bag Tag
These are really important and fabulous to have! They help identify luggage in the luggage claim and in case the bags get lost. There are so many cute ones out there!!

three//Travel Wallet or Passport Holder
For someone that is going abroad their passport is their most important document. Therefore getting passport holder or a wallet that can also hold their passport is really great because it allows for the traveler to have a safe place for their documents. There are some really great ones that range from $8 to $40 on Amazon.

four//Stack of Letters
I think this a super fun way of reminding your traveler that they are loved and that you hope they are having the most amazing time. It gives them just a little something fun to hold on to. It will also remind them from home. I made it more like a hunt and where they can't open them until each month has started. I really hope they like my little cards. Keep your notes positive and encouraging. Stay inspirational and motivational.

five//Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is incredibly important and sometimes getting caught up in the daily fun you can forget to drink water, sometimes the water is not healthy for consumption, or its just really expensive to buy water all the time. For that reason a water bottle would be incredibly useful for a student traveling abroad.

Reading material is necessary for travelers be it for pleasure or information on the road. Here are some ideas of types of reading for the traveler!

  • Travel guides: A good country or city-specific guide to where the traveler is going. Lonely Planet is known for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and great budget-traveler tips.
  • Culture guides: Travelers do not just visit a country, they enter a culture. Xenophobe's Guides highlight the unique character and behavior of a nature in a funny way while the Culture Shock! series provides full explanations of social and business customs through practical examples and helpful "Dos and Don'ts"
  • Novels/Literature: Learning about culture, history, geography, and language through literature is a wonderful way to explore a country. GoodReads offers its list of "Around the World in 80 Books" and Ann Morgan made a list of 196 titles from her "A Year of Reading the World"
  • Online News Subscriptions: Providing subscriptions to the Economist, Financial Times, The International New York Times, or other global information sources will allow them to stay informed about what's going on in the world.
While every person has smart phones with great cameras it is also nice to be able to turn to a real camera to capture the moment. Digital cameras offer much better image quality. There are views that are just too pretty for "point and shoot." While cameras can be on the expensive side a GoPro would be a lot of fun for the traveler instead of just a digital camera. 35mm Cannon or Nokia are great for additional features, better memory, and additional lens.

All students should be encouraged to keep a journal when abroad to record all their thoughts, impressions, adventures, emotions, and hesitations. It doesn't have to be anything fancy but definitely nicer than just a regular high school notebook. They can add pictures or other things to make it more sentimental. You can even write somethings in it or include some pictures to add a heartfelt touch. A small set of notebooks could also be handy to take around with them. Easy to take with them or store so they can take them out to jot down notes, peoples names, write a special memory, or tag a picture. There are so many different Journals out there. Cafe Press, Papyrus, Barnes and Noble, Etsy, Target, and Amazon have a wide selection. 

nine//First Aid Supplies
First aid supplies are important! They don't necessarily have to be all emergency first aid supplies. But band-aids are always a good thing to have because you never know when you need a band aid. Hairties are also a great thing to put in the kit because as girls they seem to always be missing. I put in the breathing barrier key chain in case of emergencies! Overall think of useful things that they would need while abroad. Stay useful.

ten//Neck Pillow & Sleep Mask
Sleep is essential! But it can be difficult to do in new environments and long plane rides and train or even long bus rides. You can pretty much buy a neck pillow in any airport these days. The Minnie Compact from Bucky is great because of the snap and go feature. Sleep masks can be really important to get a good nights rest in places where you might not necessarily get the darkness you need to get a good nights rest. Dream essentials has a wide variety of sleep masks for your traveler. I would also include socks because planes are cold and you can never go wrong with an extra pair of socks!

eleven//Hanging Toiletry Bag
Shared bathrooms and showers are pretty common in campuses abroad and staying in hotel rooms with many people might also lead to shared space. The nylon hanging toiletry bag with multiple pockets for maximum organization comes in many different sizes with a hang strap to fit over most hooks and towel bars. L.L. Bean has a nice assortment, as well as Lewis N. Clark for $20. REI Multitowel Lite has an extra gift and is lightweight as well as wrings out completely to fold up.

Despite the excitement of studying abroad the traveler will miss the comforts of home as well as friends and family. Instead of just promising to Skype every week give other gifts that will remind them of home. Letters as I mentioned above. You might want to include some pictures of great memories, either in a photo album or a lightweight frame. Small care packages of their favorite foods or snacks would also be a great thing to send (just be mindful of TSA and Customs regulations).

I'm so excited for them to come back and share all their stories and adventures with me. What they don't know is that I'll just be hiding in their luggage, so I'll be there the whole time hahaha

Safe Travels Y'All