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Gift Guide for your Favorite Expat

09 December, 2011 10:07  Erin Erin

Ribbon earth © Prod. Numérik - Fotolia.comFinding the perfect gift for your loved ones is a yearly Christmas challenge.

Does dad want another tie?
Should you get your grandmother a bird ornament?
Is it cheap to give your mom a framed photo of you?

What about a gift for your favorite expat? A globe-trotting, adventure seeking, globally aware pack, it's difficult to find the gift that fits your expat. Adding to the challenge of the gift, it needs to be something that is easy to send.

Fear not! EasyExpat has great ideas to find the gift for your person abroad. For Christmas, for Hanukkah, for birthdays, for fun - there is a gift in here for the expat or traveler closest to your heart.

Perfect Expat Gifts

Gift of more Travel!

Many expats have travel in their blood and though they may be settled in their current land, a chance to explore is an ideal gift. Maybe you'll get lucky and they will choose to visit you!

    You can give the gift of travel in a variety of ways:
  • Frequent Flyer Miles - Many airlines offer their members to buy and give frequent flyer miles to other members. Every airline has different policies regarding applicable fees and taxes, and most airlines put a cap on how many miles you can buy or gift in a single year. They also may offer a mileage reward for the person gifting as well. A win-win!
  • Airline Gift Cards - Gift cards are available by the dollar, not the mile. This can help facilitate a trip of their choosing. Note that some airlines may not accept foreign currency.
  • Airport Lounge Memberships - If giving the gift of travel isn't the right way to reward your loved one, you can make your frequent flyer more comfortable with a membership to an airline's lounge. Exclusive waiting areas offer free alcohol, snacks, wifi and personalized service from airline employees. Membership is purchased from the airlines, not the airport. Most memberships cost around $450 USD annually, with deals around the holidays.
  • Travel Friendly Toiletries - Traveling offers a set of difficulties your gift can make easier. Sets of refillable bottles that fit the airline standards can make traveling by plane quite easy.

Travel Inspired Art, Home Decor, & Jewelry

Travelers may like to be reminded of their travels with geographically-themed gear. Globes, maps, and vintage travel posters are always in style.

Camera/Photo Accessory

Photos have the unique ability to share an experience. Outfitting your expat with the proper gear can help them capture their experiences and share them with you.

  • Camera/Video Camera - An expat without a way to record their adventures is missing part of the adventure. Maybe they need a new equipment or an upgrade. CNet offers a comprehensive review and gift guide of camera on the market.
  • Other fun accessories include
  • Lens Accessories - Fisheye, telephoto and macro/wide angle lenses can add an alternate view to standard shots.
  • Online Photo Storage & Sharing - The ability to store digital photos online is vital. Most memberships start free, but may charge monthly fees after a number of uploads. They also offer services to turn your photos into calendars, photo books, clothing, etc. Sites include: Flickr, Shutterfly, Photobucket, and SmugMug. You can also upload your photos to EasyExpat's Flicker group!

E-Readers, electronics & Expat Books

Taking books abroad is impractical, yet many expats tearfully chose between their books and ship expensive boxes along with their furniture, clothes, and various belongings. Today's e-readers have simplified the process of bringing along your library. There are a variety of options and accessories. Some of the most popular are the ipad, Kindle, Fire, or Nook.

If they already have the perfect electronic device, you can give them a gift card to buy all the books they could wish for. Gift cards for iTunes allow travelers to restock their music supply, while those to and Barnes & Noble (depending on the type of e-reader) allow the recipient to buy reading material.

After you've found the right e-reader, been gifted the currency to buy what you want, you might be looking for some great books. And what makes for an exciting story? Travel, adventure, love interests, hostel natives, miscommunication - an expat story has it all!

Technology Accessories

Tech accessories area a great gift for anyone, including the world traveler.

  • Portable External Hard Drive - All your files, pictures, and documents cannot be too protected. Backing them up in several places is vital, especially when traveling or moving abroad. A portable external hard drive offer the ability to store all your files in an easily movable package. Drives come in a variety of sizes and prices.
  • Portable Speakers - Personal devices like laptops, cell phones, and mp3 players can become home entertainment devices extraordinary with the help of portable speakers.
  • Portable Power Pack - A power pack is a handy device that can charge multiple small gadgets using different connector tips.
  • Pocket WiFi Router - This router allows you to connect a phone and up to 5 devices wirelessly to the internet. Extremely handy if you are on the move
  • International Plug Adapter - This adapter offers a connection to any power source in multiple countries.

Help Integrating

Moving to a new home can be a highly isolating experience- especially if you can't speak the language. Language courses are an asset that most new expats can benefit from. Many language schools are worldwide organizations that allow you to purchase course credit. Companies include: Berlitz, Education First, and International Language Institute. You can also purchase language programs like Rosetta Stone, RocketLanguages, & Tell Me More.

Another helpful step in integrating into a new home is giving someone the chance to be a tourist in their own city. Tours are often viewed as something just for tourists, but they can be a fun and informative way to get to know "your" city. Most operators are online and can offer basic gift certificates so the giftee can choose the tour of their choice.

Foodie Comforts of Home

There is a saying that the way to a man's soul is through the stomach, but this may apply to expats as well. Nothing can remind you of home like a dish from your past. American expats around the world dream of Mexican food. UK expats bemoan the lack of proper tea. Australians search for Vegemite. Sending a Expat Survival Food Kit can make for an ideal gift. This can be as simple as a pack of spices, the item most missed, or a gift card at one of the many services that offer to ship items. Services can be found online, like,, & With the amount of international chains, it is also possible to give the gift certificate of a common meal. A coffee at Starbucks, a fast food meal, or a luxury dining experience.

Have your own idea about the perfect expat gift or a story of gift giving gone awry? Share it in the comments section.


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Funny I have just written about this! I suppose it is the season for it!

  Liv     12 Dec 2011, 02:16

Great Gift Suggestions [Reply]

What a fantastic list of potential gifts. I especially like the travel suggestions of frequent flier miles and airline gift cards as it lessens the burden on expats to travel and see families and friends who may not live close by. I've linked to this post on my blog for retirees thinking of moving to Mexico ( thank you for this. Regards, Rick

  Rick     12 Dec 2011, 18:09

Great Gift Suggestions [Reply]

Thank you so much for including my book, Perking the Pansies on your gift guide. I'm flattered and really grateful!

  Jack Scott     14 Dec 2011, 20:23