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 Post subject: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Hello everyone! I figured this would be the best forum to post in.

My brother is going to spend a year abroad in Egypt in a month and I am looking for gift ideas for living abroad in Egypt or living abroad generally. What have you found useful or fun while you were abroad? Please feel free to share your travel experiences!

(I do have some of my own ideas, but thought I'd crowdsource! And thank you very much, your input is appreciated!)


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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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I found it very difficult to know what I would need until I was abroad. I might wait and see what he mentions missing or needing, get that and maybe throw in some personal touches like cards, photos, local ingredients he can't get there, favorite magazines, etc

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:12 pm 
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depends what he's into, obviously!

general advice: don't give 'stuff'. no one wants to carry more stuff than necessary. maybe something smallish but nice, like a writing set? packs up small, and can be fairly useful. or something to remind someone of home (I have a stuffed toy that comes everywhere with me) which has more of sentimental attachment. when you're far from home, the simplest of things can mean the world :)

orrr, if he needs something for the trip (ask him!), that's useful x1000. you know, chip in for a backpack or camping stuff or whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Exactly, no one wants stuff until they get there. Maybe send a care package of stuff you think he'll be missing once he gets to Egypt?

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:01 pm 
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Does Egypt have open-ended travel passes? When I spent a semester in Italy, I got myself an Italian rail pass that had X amount of travel days that I could use within a 6-month period, or something like that, that applied to any Italian railway in the country. Or ask him if there's a specific place that he really wants to travel to from where he's staying in Egypt and get him a ticket or pay for a hostel.

Once I was in Italy, I really wanted tempeh and a pair of nonleather shoes that didn't have a hole in the bottom, but those are probably less applicable to your brother. My travel limit was quite low, though, so I brought minimal *stuff* and didn't really need a whole lot once I was there. I definitely wanted to use the opportunity of being on a new continent to travel to other places in that general part of the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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a year abroad is a relatively short time, long enough to "make the heart grow fonder", as they say, of things that can't be had locally. It isn't enough time to develop a burning obsession with dandies marshmallows, for example, or with lush shampoo bars (cough, speaking from experience, cough).
so for a shorter stay, i think any good gifts are all about short term utility and creature comfort. Around the world, wherever I go I almost always carry:
-swiss army knife, either the huge one or the small one
-handkerchiefs, which are amazingly useful in many countries which don't provide napkins or paper towels
-a travel hammock (the kind made for use on a boat, super lightweight made of parachute nylon, takes up about a grapefruit's worth of space)
-microfiber towel

I would heartily suggest any and all of these if your brother doesn't already have them.

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:08 am 
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is he travelling around or staying put in one place?

Agree with the micro fibre towel, a decent travel lock with the TSA logo on it and those zip lock space saver bags.
The only other thing I found amazing to travel with was an ipod touch... for internet (free wifi everywhere) music and films - but everyone has smart phones these days (I didn't last year) other than that, if he's staying put and misses stuff the care package when he is out there is a fab idea!

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 7:26 am 
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A bunch of my friends chipped in to buy a Kindle for our friend who was going to Korea for a year. English-language books are difficult to find/extremely expensive in a lot of places, and a Kindle is obviously much easier to pack than even one book.

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 3:13 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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A Kindle is a sweet idea.

I've done two long-term study trips abroad, and the nicest gift I was given was a mug that my little brother painted. It's useful and easy to pack and was a sweet gift.

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 6:48 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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a small FYI- an ipod can work as a kindle- there are several programs out there that will take pdf and txt files and transform them into Notes to go on the ipod if disc storage is enabled. (i think wordpod is the one i use but it's on my other machine) that's pretty much how i survive long flights. i don't need to carry any more electronics.... you do lose formatting and illustrations, and extra characters/other languages are out (or at least, i don't know how to do it) but it's still quite workable.

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Buddha says 'Meh'.--matwinser
I'm just a drunk who likes fruit. -- Desdemona


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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 10:08 am 
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An outlet adapter.

Most travel stores will have ones that are a little bit smaller than an orange and can adapt to pretty much any outlet on the planet.

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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Thank you everyone! I got some great ideas.
Wish I were going! But happy he is. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Gifts for a Year Abroad
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 2:26 am 
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Well, it depends. Is he going over there to work/study? Or is he just backpacking?

If he's backpacking then I would recommend keeping it as small and light as possible, because even the tiniest things can add up and become a nuisance. Someone here recommended a universal plug adapter, but I would actually suggest you DON'T get a universal one and instead get one specific to the country he's visiting. My reasoning for that is that most universal plug adapters are so huge that they actually block the plug point next to the one it's plugged into, which is really annoying if you're trying to share a plug in an internet cafe or hostel or something. Also, a good quality but lightweight padlock comes in useful in a lot of situations (locking bags, to be used on lockers etc.) But beyond that, anything that is very portable and holds a lot of data is awesome. Ereaders, netbooks, tablet computers are all great because they're light and they provide hours of entertainment. I also second the microfiber towel idea- they fold up into next to nothing and are awesome!

If he's going over there to work or study and will be more settled into one place, then I would recommend giving him some of the comforts of home to take with him. Like perhaps some of his favorite foods (assuming they're sealed and not prohibited from being brought into Egypt). A novel idea might be to get him a travel neck pillow, because he can use it on the plane. I went to grad school overseas and ended up bringing way too much clothing (yes, believe it or not they sell clothing in other countries) and wished I had brought some food items from home that I didn't realize would be hard to find, like Mexican spices. But I don't know what is/isn't hard to find in Egypt, or what he likes, so I can't offer specific suggestions. :)


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