Looking for a special going away gift for friend moving overseas? As a mover and traveler, I love it when I find a really unique gift that reminds me of someone or somewhere special. And gifts for a friend or relative moving overseas are no exception.
The environment of staying home and social distancing makes saying goodbye to someone moving to another country downright heartbreaking. Instead of hosting a going away party, you might be saying goodbye virtually or not at all.
Moving abroad might be delayed or moved frantically up due to the #stayhome mandate. This can make gift-giving tricky. Are they staying or are they going?
I know this feeling all-too-well after unexpectedly saying goodbye to my American friend in London. Her family was planning to move in the summer, but due to coronavirus circumstances, that move came 3 months early.
Not only didn’t I have time to buy a going away gift while she was living in the same country, but she moved overseas within 4 days of that “We have to move back now” call.
Gutted to not be able to personally see or give her a going away gift in person, but all the more motivated to send the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for my overseas again friend. Here are gift ideas for someone moving to another country.
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Going Away Gift For Friend Moving Overseas
Some of these gift ideas are practical, some homey, some edgy, and some are just for fun. I’ve handpicked these going away gifts for someone moving abroad – true one-of-a-kind gifts made for your one-of-a-kind friend. And because they are from Etsy, these going away gifts for someone moving abroad help small businesses, too. Win-win!
1 – Personalized Laptop Case
Possibly one of the single most important things you need to move to another country (aside from your family in tow and passport of course), is your technology. Access to data via phone and computer is essential for moving overseas, and so is protecting it.
With the number of flights, train rides, taxi rides, or even walks to and from the local coffee shop (when #stayhome is over) your friend has in store, help save them from a disastrous “oh crap!” moment with a personalized laptop case. (Even if your friend uses a large tote bag, it won’t save a laptop from an accidental fall. I know after one Uber experience gone wrong.)
A laptop case might not sound like a cool gift for someone moving abroad, but chances are they don’t have one they like or had the time to buy one. It’s the perfect going away gift for him or her. The personalization aspect makes it special. The protection makes it life-saving.
2 – Jewelry Of Hometown Moving To Or Moving From
Jewelry and accessories are brilliant gift ideas for someone moving to another country.
Jewelry that represents the friend or relatives’ hometown provides comfort and a display of local pride. Like this California necklace that undeniably represents the state. It’s incredibly sweet with the precious cut-out heart, and doubles down as a great souvenir, too. I want one for every state I’ve lived!
Whereas, jewelry that is inspired by where a friend or relative is moving to helps grow excitement and enthusiasm for establishing new roots.
For something totally unique, consider a skyline necklace boasting iconic city structures. This London skyline necklace is perfect for anyone moving to or from London, and given its length could be used for layering with necklaces, which is totally on trend.
For a more constant reminder that can be readily seen, a city ring is truly unique and a going away gift any friend would absolutely treasure.
3 – Symbolic Cufflinks For Men
For the men moving abroad, cufflinks are the perfect make-a-statement accessory that’s all about identity and story-telling. That’s why I simply love these blue MINI cufflinks. Totally unique and guaranteed to be asked about them in the workplace. Or if a car doesn’t tell the story, how about cufflinks with flags as a gift for someone moving abroad to England?
Lightweight and space-saving gifts are optimal for friends moving overseas because they can be easily packed in a purse or carry-on luggage. Jewelry is not an item that should be packed and shipped in a box abroad.
Buy direct from a local shop in the country where the friend or relative is moving. This way you avoid VAT and customs, international shipping, and other headaches. Read up on more shipping tips for gift giving.
4 – Small Clutch or Make-Up Bag To Toss In A Tote
Get your best friend what she really wants! A nice clutch, please. I’m actually referring to a passport holder, but clutch sounds far more posh and considerably less obvious.
With identify theft and pick-pocketers top of mind for anyone moving abroad, consider buying a small clutch that can be tossed into a tote (but easy to find) for holding the family passports and other important documents (resident cards, birth certificates, etc).
As a traveler, I’ve always thought that a passport wallet clearly marked as “Passport” is just asking for trouble.
For mom friends that worry about everything, get her a pretty clutch or bag that she can use to easily whip out important docs when she needs them. Help her stop fishing and find what she needs in one swift move, without everyone else knowing what’s in the bag.
5 – Personalized House Picture
An American expat in Australia started a tradition many many years ago to always frame a picture of the house she lived in, then have all the local friends sign it before expat life moved her abroad again. Such a brilliant idea!
While signing it with your John Hancock might be out of the question during #stayhome, a personalized house picture certainly isn’t.
Rather than frame a glossy photo, go the watercolor route. A personalized watercolor house picture is a nostalgic way to help your friend remember their lovely neighborhood and home for years to come. This might be my favorite going away gift for friend moving overseas because of how truly unique it is and that it can be used as wall art.
I love my custom house portrait so much that the WonderWallPrintShop is offering you 10% off. Use code WONDERWALL10.
A photo of home can be a useful tool to help navigate through culture chock – whether moving overseas or repatriating. Both journeys are life-changing. Reminders of where you came from that link your personal journey and unique experience can offer comfort during difficult culture shock phases.
6 – Clock
While dual time clocks are great for friends and relatives who struggle with math and keeping up with the various time zones (we all have one!), I just love the simplicity of a clock from a special place. It’s a useful gift but can also offer so much meaning to someone moving far away.
I consider a clock the gift of time – that no matter the distance or how much time might pass, the friendship will always be there.
Between its symbolism and practical use, it’s also right on point for your friend that loves farmhouse style, vintage, or even shabby chic. You can find a clock in nearly every genre, but this London one has it for me.
Between station clocks (Grand Central, Paddington, etc), Parisian, and even porthole-style clocks, clocks make a great gift for someone moving abroad. Just be sure it’s battery-operated only.
7 – Return Address Stamp
One of the coolest gifts I received after moving to England was a personalized house stamp. The stamp has an outline of the house, the full international return address, and is even inclusive of the surrounding shrubbery. Even my kids think the stamp is super cool.
It’s hard to find excuses to not stay in touch with friends and relatives overseas when they make writing out a 5 line address this easy. And let me tell you, addressing an international letter is painstaking without the ink stamp!
Another advantage of gifting a stamp for someone who’s already moved abroad is that it’s more likely that the new permanent address is established. Oftentimes, someone moving abroad chooses short-term housing upon arrival to search for a place and the best neighborhood to live.
So acustom stamp works great if you are sending a going away gift for a friend who has already moved overseas and moved into their new long-term home.
8 – Face Masks
The most useful going away gift for friend moving overseas is a face mask. It’s not the most fun gift but when traveling through international airports is involved, it’s best to be safe and be prepared. Face masks aren’t traditionally gifts for someone moving abroad, but nowadays essential.
Help a friend or relative moving overseas by giving them not only what they need (and hard to find) but with something that offers a bit of character, too.
Turn something that feels uncomfortable or scary into a situation that tells your friend or relative how much you care about their protection as they make the move overseas. Between flying, moving, unpacking and all the people they encounter to move to another country, a face mask will get a lot of miles. That’s a whole lot of protection!
Besides, face masks will continue to be the newest accessory to keep on hand for any traveler. And you wouldn’t your stylish friend to miss out!
9 – An Edgy Tumbler
For that friend or relative moving overseas that has you torn between being happy for her and a tiny bit mad at her, get her a going away gift that tells her exactly how you feel. Like this “You’re my effing person” wine tumbler.
It’s not entirely appropriate for using in front of the kids, but it’s admittedly funny and spot-on for someone that hates goodbyes, tearing up, or anything remotely close to being too sappy. And since moving overseas can be such an emotional move on its own, it can be a nice change of pace to receive a gift that offers a good laugh.
For a mug that’s slightly less edgy but equally funny, this one will have your friend in stitches every time she uses it. It’s the perfect going away gift from a group of girlfriends.
And lastly, because this is exactly what I recall our friends might have said to us when we moved abroad: “You’re Dead To Us” mug. It’s so on point as a going away gift from sarcastic friends that like to leave a lasting funny impression.
Funny gift idea for friend with an excellent sense of humor
No matter what kind of mug you choose, tumblers and mugs make great gifts for someone moving abroad. They are nice (funny) reminders of friends and relatives from home first thing in the morning and top-ups in the evening. Tumblers with lids make them useful to pack wherever their overseas travels take them.
10 – Personalized Blanket & Long Distance Letter Pillow
Back onto more sensitive gift ideas for overseas relatives and friends is a personalized home state blanket. Perfect for cuddling up on the couch or as a decorative throw, a personalized blanket is a thoughtful going-away gift for someone that might need extra comfort or just want to show off a little home pride.
And for a teen, grandparent, or anyone that needs a regular squeeze from a loved one, this personalized letter pillow is just the sweetest gift idea for someone moving to another country.
11 – An Adapter For All The Electrical Devices
If you’ve made it this far and still unsure whether to go the personal or a practical gift-giving route, this supercharge adapter is undoubtedly a winner.
It’s not only a suitable going away gift for friends or family moving overseas but holds enough devices for the entire family. Its compact nature makes it super convenient and portable for travel anywhere – not to mention its compatibility with 180 countries.
An adapter is typically one of those items you don’t think of needing until it’s too late, making it a great gift for someone moving abroad and overwhelmed with all the steps of doing so.
12 – A Fun T-Shirt To Boldly Own The Move
For the friend that really wants to tell everyone about moving abroad, while laughing about it, you have to buy this t-shirt. This is perfect for a friend or even a couple that is totally into wearing team shirts for special events, like families that wear team shirts to Disney, bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc. – and moving overseas is no exception.
Whether it’s a gift to wear to the going away party, or for the actual international flight, this t-shirt will go a long way with your friend who loves a lot of attention.
Final Thoughts On A Gift For Someone Moving Abroad
If you’re seeking further inspiration for a gift for someone moving to another country, check out Etsy’s StandWithSmall Editor’s Picks Page. When you consider gift ideas for overseas relatives or for a friend moving abroad, consider buying from a small business. It not only gives your friend moving overseas comfort but supports a small business too.
In August 2020, I found myself moving back to America earlier than planned. I still managed a socially-distanced going away party and my sweet girlfriend got me the cutest going away present…that’ll keep giving and giving for a very long time. It’s the perfect British going-away gift for someone who loves crafts + chocolate at the same time!
Looking for more gift ideas for overseas relatives? Try these.
- 15 Long Distance Mom Gifts
- 23 Long Distance Dad Gifts
- 11 Awesome Gifts For Expat Kids