Christmas is quickly approaching, folks, and holiday shopping days are disappearing at a rapid rate. We’ve already tried to do our part to simplify the process, offering our Overlooked Tech & Gadget Gift Ideas Guide for those of you with friends or relative in need of a technological upgrade during this holiday season, but we thought we could get more specific for people with very particular shopping needs.
In that spirit, we thought we’d focus on an oft-overlooked subset of gift-givers; gift ideas parents with college-aged students studying abroad. After all, staying overseas for an extended period creates all sorts of situations that need to be prepared for; new languages, new urban environments, different terrains and, most importantly of all (at least, to us), a completely different online experience that needs to be carefully navigated. So we’ve tried to do our part to help you prepare your son and daughter for life on their own in an unfamiliar place. We hope you find some worthwhile suggestions below.
Gift Ideas for the College Student Studying Abroad
Let’s start with a few of the basics. Of course, your kid is going to need a good, sturdy backpack, one that is capable of carrying a lot without sacrificing comfort or being too awkward and bulky. With that in mind, we recommend the Tortuga Travel Backpack; it’s incredibly well-organized, designed to minimize discomfort, and works perfectly as a carry-on or a hiker’s companion.
Next, whether your child is backpacking across Europe or staying in one centralized location, you’re going to want to make sure they have access to clean water and lots of it. For this purpose, we recommend the Brita Hard Sided Persimmon Filtering Bottle; this durable, 23.7 oz. is the perfect way to stay hydrated on long hiking trails or if you’re just bouncing around big cities like Barcelona or Berlin.
Hiking Boots For Studying Abroad
Of course, if your college-aged kid is planning on spending most of their time roughing it outdoors, traversing wide swaths of landscape, they’re going to need some proper shows. That’s why we’re recommending the Timberland’s Men’s Chocorua Gore-Tex Hiker for your son or the Women’s Ahnu Montara boots for your daughter. For the former, we’re attracted to the boot’s many features, such as the comfort provided by its contoured EVA footbed, its durability, and the versatility its many adjustable straps provide. Similarly, the woman’s Montara boots boast a breath-ability and protection that is absolutely essential on long stretches of walking.
A High Quality Digital Camera
Whether you’re dealing with a son or daughter who simply wants to chronicle their trip, or is seriously considering a photography-adjacent career, there are plenty of great options available. For the former category, we recommend the Canon PowerShot A2500, which takes clear pictures, is easy to use, and doesn’t break the bank (get it for $69 today!). A more serious photographer, one who may need that extra bit of money spent for a professional-grade camera, could go for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera, which comes with 30X optical zoom and a 3.0-inch LCD screen. It offers Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and takes tremendous photos, even in darkness and without the flash, but it’ll run you around $400. The choice is yours.
Outside the Box Traveling Student Gift Ideas
One of the most crucial assets a traveling student can have is VPN service. With the help of any number of VPN service providers, your child can protect their sensitive online information (such as e-mails and credit card numbers) lest they fall into the hands of identity thieves or hackers. Believe us when we tell you that’s not the type of thing you want to happen to your traveling son or daughter.
Better yet, VPN service allows users to access geographically restricted websites, which means if your kid wants to stay connected to your Netflix or HBO Go account, all he has to do is log in to his VPN and pick an American server. If you’re having trouble picking a VPN, we can point you to our Official Supported VPN Service Provider List, which helpfully distinguishes the various upsides of the VPNs with which we’re affiliated.
VPN service is a great way to improve the security and versatility of a student’s wireless network while abroad, but if you want to make their VPN experience that much simple, all the while transforming their online experience, then a VPN WiFi Router is the only way to go. Aside from allowing them to connect multiple devices to their VPN and to do so with minimal hassle, a FlashRouter is guaranteed to revolutionize their network. Using DD-WRT and Tomato firmware – replacement firmwares designed to boost a router’s functionality – a FlashRouter allows a user to explore a variety of options not available on conventional routers.
You can extend your wireless range, access advanced security options, and even control how your bandwidth is allocated! Check out our recent best-selling router & VPN provider list and see if there’s a router that suits your child’s needs. If you want one of our absolute, top-of-the-line devices, then we’d direct you towards the Asus RT-AC66U Tomato FlashRouter. This dual-band beast is one of our new Wireless-AC devices, which means intimidating power and dizzying speeds for whoever uses it. Of course, if you prefer something less costly and lightweight, we can heartily recommend the Cisco Linksys E1200 DD-WRT FlashRouter, a fantastic, reliable, and super-affordable router.
Now that you’ve got the VPN service in place and the FlashRouter to go with it, this soon-to-be international traveler is going to need the Roku or AppleTV to make the package complete. After all, what’s the point of being able to access US Netflix from another country if you don’t have the media player on which to stream it? What’s more, a Roku will provide your traveling child with access to Pandora, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant, and a whole variety of channels filled with streaming media.
As an added bonus, will keep them indoors once in a while, you know after they study, and when they need to keep a few extra bucks in their pocket. Because you know who gets asked for money once the wallet is emptied. Plus, the easiest way to make new friends fast is to have something they all want, a little bit of connection to home a FlashRouter-Roku combo.