The holiday season is a time of joy, but for expatriates living abroad it can also be a time of nostalgia as they cope with missing the comforts of home and the closeness of family. Showing an expat you’re thinking of them with a thoughtful present can mean a great deal as they navigate the holidays in another culture and language. But what can you give someone who has seen the world… and who has to contend with strict weight and size requirements while traversing the globe? Expats aren’t easy to buy for, but rest assured — this installment of the CORE Holiday Gift Guide rounds up enjoyable and easily transportable gifts for expats. (And as you shop for friends, relatives and colleagues who live or work abroad, check out our previous installment, featuring the best holiday gifts for language learners!)
From overhead bins to baggage carousels to taxis, luggage withstands no insignificant amount of wear and tear over the course of frequent traveling! An upgraded carry-on suitcase or 3-piece luggage set that is both lightweight and durable is a gift that any expat will appreciate.
AIRLINE CREDITS + FREQUENT FLYER MILES
What better gift can there be for someone who has built his or her life around traveling than the chance to see more of the world? For those with higher budgets, purchasing a flight for a loved one makes a great holiday gift; but any amount given can help offset the ever-growing costs of an expat lifestyle. Gifting airline credits or transferring your own frequent flyer miles toward an expat’s next flight is a thoughtful way to support their passion for travel … or to give them the means to visit home! (Of course, buying yourself a flight to visit them is always a fun surprise, too!)
E-GIFT CARDS OR DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
International shipping can be tricky — and pricey. To get around it, consider e-gifts that can be automatically transmitted or credited to your recipient. Amazon, iTunes, Kindle, and Nook are all popular gift card options that expats can use to download new movies, music, and e-books from anywhere in the world.
Many print publications also offer digital subscriptions, allowing expats to keep up with news in their home country or fields of interest. When gifting for U.S. expats living abroad, some digital options to consider are The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and TIME; plus Sports Illustrated for fans missing their home teams and PEOPLE for the American pop culture fiend. As for magazine subscriptions any expat would love, think AFAR, Condé Nast Traveler, or National Geographic Traveler.
Faced with the often harrying business of relocating abroad and assimilating into a new culture — especially when doing so while juggling work responsibilities — expats don’t always get to experience all their host country has to offer. Just a bit of research on your part can reveal the museums, heritage sites, and cultural experiences unique to the region in which they live that they haven’t visited yet. Reserving undated tickets or passes for expats to explore these sites can encourage them to spend time getting to know their new home, deepening their appreciation for the experience of working and living abroad.
A TASTE OF HOME
Around this time of year, it’s likely that your expatriate loved ones are feeling nostalgic for home and family traditions. Gifts that remind them of the places and people they hold dear are often the simplest and most meaningful gifts for expats. Collection of tasty tidbits and local crafts from home, personalized photo albums, or compilations of heartfelt cards and notes from loved ones are unique and special gifts for expats living abroad during the holidays.
What other gifts for language learners made your holiday shopping lists this year? Share your best finds in the comment section!