Looking for a suitable goodbye gift for someone moving abroad or living in another country? Here are some practical and sentimental ideas for presents for family, friends and expats.
Choosing the right gift for someone who is moving to another country or working overseas can be a challenge. You ideally want it to be sentimental or practical, and it certainly needs to be lightweight or easy to carry for postage overseas.
At PSS, we have been helping people move abroad for over 40 years, so thought it would be useful to put together a list of some of the best farewell gifts for migrants and expats heading off to live in different countries.
How To Buy A Gift For Someone Moving Or Living In Another Country
When it comes to choosing gifts for someone moving or living abroad, it is important to make sensible choices. If they are taking an airplane to their destination, you do not want them to take up all of their baggage allowance with your present, however great it may be.
If you are looking for birthday or Christmas gifts for overseas friends, you are certainly not going to want to pay exorbitant postal fees to send something large or heavy overseas. Lightweight gifts to post or pack into luggage are the best solution to minimise expense and stress.
With this in mind, how do you choose the best gift for a friend going abroad?
At first, it can be difficult to think of the perfect present but once you get going, you will have no shortage of great ideas.
It can also be handy to think about why they are moving overseas – are they a migrating family, a working expat or a student going abroad to study?
Remember, relocating to another country invariably means downsizing, and in turn, that means getting rid of anything surplus to requirements. It is important not to make that process more difficult by choosing something bulky, heavy, and impractical.
So, let us take a closer look at our top gift ideas for someone moving to another country that won’t be “accidentally” left behind at the airport!
- 1. Gift card vouchers for local shops
- 2. Universal travel adaptor plug
- 3. An international gift basket of British goodies from British Cornershop
- 4. A Lonely Planet guidebook for the country or city they are moving to
- 5. A subscription to Britbox
- 6. A phrase book or online language course
- 7. A sleeping eye mask with Bluetooth headphones
- 8. A portable power bank – one of the top lightweight gifts to take abroad for kids or adults
- 9. UK-branded souvenirs
- 10. A VPN subscription
- 11. A cookbook of recipes in their new country
- 12. Sunscreen, sunglasses, or beach towels for hot countries
- 13. Portable luggage scale
- 14. A book about local culture and customs
- 15. Travel extension lead plug
- 16. Unique personalised gifts from Etsy
- 17. A digital camera for preserving memories
- Top Tips For Buying Gifts For People Moving Abroad
1. Gift card vouchers for local shops
Moving abroad usually means setting up a home from scratch, and that can be expensive. You can welcome your friend or family member to their new country by giving them the gift of vouchers for local shops.
Find out the best local businesses such as popular restaurants, department stores, and supermarkets that offer digital vouchers and gift cards. There is nothing more practical than a gift that allows them to save money as they establish their new life.
2. Universal travel adaptor plug
Most people take a lot of electrical devices with them when they’re moving abroad, but they can’t use them without having a travel adaptor plug. Different countries have different kinds of plugs that fit into their local power outlets, and with over a dozen different types of socket and plug types, it can be a minefield choosing the right adaptor.
Luckily, there are universal power adaptors that can be used all around the world and these make for great practical gifts for Brits living abroad.
3. An international gift basket of British goodies from British Cornershop
This is the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for UK citizens and expats living overseas! No matter how excited they are about being an expat they are bound to miss their favourite UK treats. Also, Christmas and birthdays are the most common times to miss family, friends and home comforts.
So what better than a hamper or gift basket from the British Corner shop. You can pick a ready-made care package or do a pick-and-mix. They have all the classic UK brands from Marks & Spencer to Walkers crisps.
Miss British chocolate? No problem they have everything from Cadbury’s to Quality Street! Miss British staples such as Yorkshire Tea, Bisto gravy and Branston Pickle? They have all these and more. They also have seasonal favourites too such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and even Advent calendars at Christmas.
4. A Lonely Planet guidebook for the country or city they are moving to
You may think Lonely Planet books are just for tourists but think again! Whilst they are certainly great for finding out about the main visitor attractions, they also provide a huge amount of useful information for those planning to stay longer.
Written by people with local knowledge, they provide numerous insider tips on culture, shopping, and eating but also sections on free activities, emergencies and what is on each month.
You can choose the country guide but also the region or city guide for where they are heading – just make sure you get the most recent edition for the latest info.
5. A subscription to Britbox
It is probably no secret that most countries’ TV services do not match up to what we are lucky enough to experience in the UK. Therefore, what better gift than a subscription to Britbox where they can stream their favourite programmes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5?
Britbox also include original content and ensures you will not miss the best of forthcoming British TV programmes.
6. A phrase book or online language course
Learning the local language is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and feeling more comfortable in the country. So no matter whether they going there as a student to study or an expat to work, a gift that helps them get to grips with the language is a great idea.
An alternative to a physical phrasebook is to pay for an online language course or phone app. A brilliant digital gift means there is nothing extra to fit into their already overcrowded luggage, and it will empower your friend or family member to have the confidence to express themselves when they arrive at their new home.
If you are looking for a fun gift that’s also useful, a phrase book of local slang is a great choice. Not only will it be an entertaining read on the airplane, but it’ll also help to integrate seamlessly with the locals in their new life!
7. A sleeping eye mask with Bluetooth headphones
For someone going on a long journey what better than an eyemask with built in Bluetooth headphones? A decent eye mask will help shut out any distractions and they can lie back and listen to their favourite relaxing music without getting tangled in wires.
This will allow them to arrive fresh and relaxed, ready to hit the ground running. They may also still come in handy later if they have trouble shaking off the jet lag!
8. A portable power bank – one of the top lightweight gifts to take abroad for kids or adults
There is nothing more frustrating and stressful than your phone or other gadgets running out of battery whilst you are out and about with no way of recharging it. If you give a power bank as your going away present, you can make sure that your loved one will not have to face that challenging and potentially troublesome situation.
With a portable power bank on hand, it is always possible to recharge a phone just enough to make a call in an emergency. This is especially useful now that airport security can require your phone to be switched on.
9. UK-branded souvenirs
You will never feel more patriotic than when you are living away from your home country, so Union Jack branded souvenirs can be great fun and a sentimental gift.
Simple gifts like UK flag pens, cups, keyrings or fridge magnets are affordable but sweet reminders of home and mean they can have a little piece of Britain with them all the time. They also make fun gifts to give away to new friends from other countries.
10. A VPN subscription
VPNs allow access to overseas websites in countries that block them. In certain cases, they also allow the user to access their subscription services when they live overseas, for example, video streaming services that let them watch all their favourite shows even when they’re not in the country anymore.
VPN subscriptions are a brilliant digital gift because they are useful without taking up any luggage space at all, and as an added advantage, VPNs protect their devices from hackers and cyberattacks, particularly when they’re using public wi-fi on their travels.
Of course, a VPN can also allow access to UK websites and online services that would not be available otherwise, as long as you use it legally and responsibly.
11. A cookbook of recipes in their new country
A cookbook of recipes from their new country is a brilliant choice of present as not only will it help them to adapt to new cuisine when they arrive but it can also be an enjoyable way of getting a taste of the new culture before they go!
Learning more about how to make local foods is an excellent way to integrate into society and become immersed in local culture. They can also impress their new friends by making them some of their favourite recipes.
As a slight alternative, when your friend is celebrating their birthday after they have moved overseas, you could send them a British cookbook for a taste of home! This is sure to be a present they will love but that won’t cost a fortune to send in the post.
12. Sunscreen, sunglasses, or beach towels for hot countries
Many Brits moving overseas are heading for sunnier climes so buying them something useful and appropriate could be a fun idea. Simple things like sunscreen, sunglasses, or a beach towel are perfect last minute gifts, which are not expensive.
Even if they are relocating for work, they are sure to want to spend some time relaxing in the warm climate, and you can make that experience even better with these useful yet easy to find gifts
13. Portable luggage scale
If you’re looking for a simple yet practical moving abroad gift idea you won’t go wrong with a portable scale. Designed specifically to be small and lightweight, it will not take up a lot of luggage space and can even be popped into their hand baggage for extra convenience.
A portable scale could help save them money and give them peace of mind on their travels, as they will always know how much their bags weigh to guard against excess baggage fees. Extra tip – you can advise our excess baggage shipping service if their luggage is more than their baggage allowance.
14. A book about local culture and customs
When people travel to a new country on holiday, they can choose to spend all their time living like a tourist without immersing themselves in the culture of their destination. However, when actually moving abroad to live, that is no longer possible. Living overseas is very different from being a tourist, so finding ways to integrate with the locals is key to a happy new life abroad.
Therefore, a book about local culture and customs could prove indispensable. A quick search online can reveal something suitable for most countries. For example the Culture Smart! Series published by Kuperard has guides on nearly every country including the USA, Spain, New Zealand and France.
15. Travel extension lead plug
For people who are migrating abroad and taking a lot of household goods including electrical appliances, a multi-socket travel extension lead is a very unique and practical gift.
Many people moving to countries with a similar electrical voltage to the UK (such as Australia and New Zealand) often take their electrical appliances with them. Although they are compatible, the plugs will not be, so a travel extension lead will save them the immediate hassle of changing all the plugs.
Like a travel adaptor, a travel extension plug fits into the overseas power outlet, but instead of only allowing a single device to be plugged in, it allows multiple devices to run or be charged simultaneously – ideal for people who have several devices they need to use at the same time.
16. Unique personalised gifts from Etsy
Sometimes only a sentimental gift will do, and there is nothing more lovely than a personalised gift that has been made especially for the recipient.
The craft website Etsy is a goldmine of great unique and thoughtful gift ideas that can be made to order. Just search for “moving overseas gift” for a plethora of original ideas.
Of course, it needn’t be something large as that would be impractical, but a small item like a necklace, keyring, or wall art that has been customised for your loved one is a touching and beautiful reminder of how special they are to you.
There are a number of moving overseas gifts that are personalised with the country such as this pewter pebble token that features the UK and Australia.
17. A digital camera for preserving memories
Living overseas may be a once in a lifetime experience, and it is sure to create some amazing memories. You can help your loved one to preserve those memories for a lifetime by giving them a camera as a going away gift.
Although it is certainly possible to take photos on smartphones these days, having a dedicated camera will allow them to take better quality photos and videos. This is especially useful if they want to turn travel blogger and document their adventure.
Top Tips For Buying Gifts For People Moving Abroad
When you are choosing gifts for people who are moving abroad, there are a few things you should be aware of when sending gifts overseas:
- Remember to check the voltage of any electronic goods that you are planning to send overseas as some countries operate on 110V while others operate on a 220V system. You need to check that any items you send will work safely in the recipient’s country.
- Check any customs regulations that will apply. Some items may need special licences or certificates while other items may be entirely prohibited.
- Make sure you have packaged your parcel properly when sending it in the mail. You do not want your item to be damaged, so wrap it in bubble wrap or packing paper and use a quality corrugated cardboard box without any empty spaces so the contents won’t move during transit.
- Measure and weigh your parcel accurately. The dimensions, shape and weight of your parcel will be used when calculating the shipping price and you do not want to have to pay extra charges because your parcel is bigger or heavier than you thought. Royal Mail’s standard service is usually limited to 2kg, so bear that in mind when choosing your gift.
- Some items cannot be sent by air. They include anything explosive, certain cosmetics, paint, batteries, printer ink cartridges and food items, so check before you send.
If you keep the above in mind, you should be able to find the perfect going away present for when they relocate overseas.
Looking to send items overseas?
We hope this list will help you find the perfect farewell gift for people migrating to another country. Most of these are equally good if they are a fully-fledged British expat already living abroad.
If they are worried about how to transport or ship all their household goods and goodbye gifts overseas, then perhaps you could recommend them PSS’s personal shipping services?
We can do anything from full household removals to boxes and excess baggage shipping for those who are doing their best to travel light.
I am sure a gift or contribution to their moving costs will certainly be appreciated!