Care packages…. the stuff expat dreams are made of. Really, a package from friends or family back home can turn my day right around. There’s something about the comforts of home that have the ability to do that. So thinking of making someone’s day? Not sure what to send in a care package to a friend overseas? If you have a friend or family member living abroad, read on for the best stuff to put in a care package and my care package ideas for a friend overseas.
What to send in a care package to your friend living abroad
From food items to cosmetics to clothing items and more, there are endless options for what to include in care packages. While there’s no one item that will work for everyone, hopefully my list is a good starting point that will spark some ideas for you.
Now let me just point out something before we get started. In some cases, the items below can be found abroad. I’m not saying that things on my list are unique to one country. Of course there’s deodorant in France! But here’s the point: Even if the recipient can buy the item where they’re living, it’s not always easy to find and/or it could be really expensive. Besides, there’s just something special about receiving things from a loved one at home who took the time to shop for you and carefully put together a box.
For me, receiving my favorite deodorant or toothpaste brand from home is comforting and makes me feel like I’m not so far away. It makes me feel like I’m home, in a sense. The brand I know and love from the USA will always be better than a French equivalent for the sentimental value alone.
Would it surprise you to know I have never bought a deodorant or tube of toothpaste in France? Well, maybe once or twice. I make sure I load up when I’m back home. I am a Secret and Crest kind of gal, what can I say. Silly? Maybe. But wholly necessary. 😉
And remember, everyone loves receiving mail!
Here are my American care package ideas.
Tips on sending a care package abroad:
- Stop by the post office to check costs before you pack the box. Otherwise you might be in for a surprise. Flat rate boxes from the USPS might be your best bet if you’re in the USA. Here’s a post on sending packages overseas the stress-free way that may be of use.
- Go light. Lighter items are cheaper to ship and if you can go light and small? Even better.
- Check country and shipping restrictions. There’s a whole list of items you can’t ship overseas from the US (like nail polish) but be sure to check the receiving country’s restrictions too so your package isn’t confiscated. Some things are obvious (like explosives) but some things are more commonplace, so check! Can you send peanut butter overseas? Yes! Well, you can to France anyway.
What to send in a care package to a friend or family member abroad:
- Toiletries/cosmetics: For items that I’ve been putting on my face or body my whole life, sometimes you just want what you’re used to. As I pointed out above, Secret deodorant is a must. Cosmetics are often cheaper in the USA too.
- Gum: I love Trident cinnamon gum. The brand doesn’t exist in France and the flavor cinnamon doesn’t either. So grab your pal’s favorite gum.
- Candy: Who doesn’t like candy? Seasonal stuff is the best. I personally can’t resist the big holiday size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Many candies from home aren’t available abroad so stock up.
- Specialty food items: For me personally, canned pumpkin is a must! So is Kodiak Cake Protein-Packed pancake mix and some of my favorite energy bars.
- A handwritten card: Cards are so much more special to me now that I’m far away. Seeing that someone took the time to hand write a note really makes my day!
- Magazines/books: You can get English language books on Amazon even in France but it’s so much more fun when they come in a care package as a surprise. Favorite magazines are always a hit too!
If you’re abroad with no chance of a gift arriving for you anytime soon? Buy yourself a treat or two from My Little America – my go-to for American baking supplies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That’s where you can buy American food in France.
Expat friends, what’s your favorite thing to receive in a care package?