We’ve rounded up the best gifts to help long-distance friendships to grow no matter the distance.
My best friend and I live 5,733 miles away from each other.
We grew up in neighboring towns and attended universities in the same state. The drive was never too far for last-minute hiking trips and breakup ice cream.
Then I moved to Italy.
Let’s be clear: long-distance friendship is rough. Whether your best friend is moving away for college, landed their dream job across the country, or is studying abroad, staying connected from afar isn’t easy.
Maybe you’re saving loose change in a travel fund box (a.k.a. a decorated shoebox) because you hope to visit. But collecting enough quarters to buy a plane ticket will take a while, and sending small gifts will help strengthen your friendship in the meantime– it’s a win-win!
Think of it as the long-distance equivalent of showing up at each other’s door for a spontaneous adventure.
That’s why I assembled this list of gifts for long-distance friendships. These gifts also work for partners, siblings, parents, and family members who live far away.
Read on to learn about high-tech, homemade, and comforting gift ideas that will make your bestie feel loved and supported.
I’ve found gifts for any budget and occasion. I also included last-minute gift ideas for Oh sh*t, her birthday is tomorrow moments (we’ve all been there).
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Short on time? Here are my top three gift ideas for long-distance friends
My Top 3 Gifts:
#1 Bond Touch Bracelets
If you’re looking for interactive long-distance friendship gifts, check out Bond Touch friendship bracelets for a sense of physical connection no matter where you are in the world.
By tapping the face of the Bond Touch bracelet, you can send a unique coded buzz to anyone wearing the matching bracelet.
These are the ultimate long-distance best friend bracelets.
These friendship bracelets are connected and customizable via a phone app that requires the internet.
Keep your bracelet within ten feet of your phone and connect to the internet to receive touch vibrations.
#2 Friendship Lamps
If bracelets aren’t your style, how about a color-changing lamp? Tap these friendship lamps to change the color of each other’s lamp light when you are thinking of the other person.
I recommend these for people studying abroad or moving far away for college. Tapping soothing colored light back and forth at bedtime can help with homesickness and loneliness.
As with the bracelets, you can create a secret language with different tap patterns or light colors.
Send messages using light to just one close friend or the whole family using the Friendship Lamp app to connect several lamps.
#3 Friendship Pillow
A lot of gift lists recommend generic “hug me” pillows. I prefer this custom friendship pillow with a personalized world map of where your long-distance friendship spans.
Choose the color, linked cities, font, and even a saying for your one-of-a-kind long-distance friend.
Another reason I like this gift is that when people visit your friend’s dorm or apartment, they can point out where they are from or where they want to go.
#4 BFF Journal
Maybe you’re shopping for long-distance friendship gifts because you and your friend are having trouble coordinating good times to talk.
Get your long-distance BFF a BFF journal for those days when time zones and busy work schedules get in the way of your phone calls.
Better yet, buy BFF journals and leave notes to discover later before exchanging them.
These customizable handcrafted leather journals come in several different colors. The cover designs range from an embossed compass to a tree of life, and the customizability means you can match without buying the same color and design.
Make a note in the personalization box when ordering graph or unruled paper.
#5 Flower Delivery
Looking for last-minute gifts for someone far away?
Spruce up your long-distance friend’s new apartment or celebrate their new job by sending flowers. Amazon has a variety of flower retailers that offer quick turnaround flower delivery.
If you are in a long-distance relationship and know that a special occasion is coming up, try to find a local flower shop near your partner before going online. You can order their favorites or leave the creativity up to the florist.
#6 Jewelry with Coordinates
Put a creative spin on the age-old tradition of exchanging friendship bracelets.
Get matching bracelets engraved with the coordinates of a location significant for your friendship, like the place you met or your favorite camping site.
I love the delicate look of the circular coordinate bracelets, which come in silver, gold, and rose gold.
The earthy Onyx bracelets are a great gift for outdoorsy friends or people who prefer a more masculine look. I’m linking both so you can choose the one that best suits your friend!
#7 Friendship Rings
Long-distance friendship rings are the perfect way to send a virtual hug when you miss your besties.
Don’t worry about guessing your friends’ sizes because these rings are adjustable. These rings come as a set of three, each with a different color: silver, gold, and rose gold.
Now, whenever your besties look at their hands, these rings will remind them how much their friendship means to you.
#8 Travel Stub Diary
This Travel Stub Diary is a fun long-distance best friend birthday gift.
Fill in this album with pictures and souvenirs that remind you of your past adventures together. Date each page and leave room for photos of future escapades.
Unlike a single picture frame, your loved one can flip through years of friendship and show off specific pages by leaving the album open on a coffee table or desk.
I like this 9 x 6-inch bestie book from Uncommon Goods because it’s small enough to pack into a suitcase when you head out on a long trip or move to a distant land.
If the background of your friend’s weekly video calls is boring, give them a decorative map of the city where they live (or where they want to live!).
Mapiful prints on museum-quality paper can be framed or attached directly to the wall. You can order their map in custom colors and a variety of sizes.
#10 Star Map
Maybe your friend prefers looking up. Freeze a moment in time with a night sky star map on a meaningful date, time, and location.
I’m in love with the symbolism of star maps as a long-distance friendship gift. We all share the night sky as it stretches across the world.
This star map is the perfect gift for wedding anniversaries and anyone interested in astronomy. If your friend likes astrology, make a star map from the night of their birth. It will add a subtle personal touch to any room.
Give your best friend an adorable Squishmallow creature to hug when the long-distance life feels a little too distant.
Squishmallows range from 3.5 inches to 24 inches. Watch out, though; the 24-inch plushy is large enough to replace you!
There are dozens of creatures to choose from, including a rainbow-winged parrot, purple walrus, and pink axolotl.
#12 Fuzzy Blanket
Throughout college, I kept a fuzzy blanket from my best friend on my bed. It was comforting on late study nights and snow days.
A blanket is always an excellent long-distance friendship gift. Your friend can cozy up in it and sip tea or kick back for a Zoom movie night with you.
Ordering a blanket that will ship directly to them is cheaper than sending it yourself and more convenient than your friend finding room in their luggage.
#13 Affirmations Mug
Help your long-distance friend start the day off right with a mug covered in affirmations and botanical designs.
These aren’t your grandma’s affirmations, though (unless you have a boss bitch grandma). The affirmations say things like “I am strong AF,” “My needs matter,” and “Follow your soul. That bitch knows the way”.
Long-distance friendship isn’t easy, but silly reminders of your friendship can help.
#14 Lego Keychain
Venture away from the obvious best friend keychains with a nostalgic Lego figure keychain. The Lego store on Amazon for hundreds of keychain options for Star Wars lovers, Superhero fanatics, and virtually any other interest.
One of the tricks to strengthening a friendship during separation is using long-distance friendship gifts for simple daily reminders of each other.
If you both have a Lego keychain, send each other Snapchats of your Lego figures, like an Elf on the Shelf doll.
#15 Macrame Photo Display
Don’t worry about narrowing it down to a single favorite picture. Instead, give your friend a macrame wall display for all of your favorite photos together.
This photo display is the perfect gift for decorating a dorm room or apartment because you only need one hole to hang it, and you can swap out past pictures when you see each other next.
#16 Local Experiences
Send your friend on adventures around their city using Airbnb Experiences. Airbnb gift cards can pay for local food tours, kayaking excursions, and dance classes.
Airbnb Experiences is handy so that your friend can book their adventure at a convenient time and place for them.
If you want to pick out a specific activity, you think they will enjoy, just search for experiences in their city.
#17 Massage Gift Certificate
Does your friend need a little help relaxing? Buy them a gift certificate for a massage therapist in their area. Yelp is an excellent place to read reviews and find a reputable place.
Gifting them a certificate to a specific masseuse makes your friend more likely to go in. Someone already swamped at work, school, or parenting probably doesn’t have the energy to research where to go for a massage.
True friendship is ordering food for your friends. You may not be able to meet for lunch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy them lunch with an email gift card.
Better yet, give them a surprise delivery if you know their address and that they always order a three-cheese pizza with olives and artichoke hearts.
#19 Gather Notes from Loved Ones
Check out these botanical greeting cards on recycled paper, and send your friend a bundle of sweet notes.
For friends who move away from home, take the initiative to ask other friends and family members to write notes and send cards to that person.
If you are a group of best friends, have everyone sign the same card or build a care package together.
#20 Note from Their Pet
Okay, this might be cheesy, but I miss my dog. I would love to receive a silly note from him about playing fetch and eating bird seed (he eats anything). Add a printed photo of the pet or draw a paw print as decoration.
Amazon has a set of ten goofy animal cards perfect for this. These cards are so cute that your friend can hang them on the fridge or beside their desk as a happy piece of art.
#21 Home Recipe Book
Make your long-distance friend a cookbook with their favorite meaningful recipes.
If I were to make my best friend a cookbook, I would include the Finnish pancake we ate at her house and the pot roast we ate at my house.
For friends I met in college or while traveling, we might exchange recipes for meals we learned to cook together or childhood recipes we taught each other to make.
And, no matter the cuisine, there will undoubtedly be a thick section on desserts!
Go the extra mile and add a food-related story or heartwarming message with each recipe.
#22 “Open When” Letters
Another DIY long-distance friendship gift idea is “Open when” letters. These involve a little more creativity and preparation. Write notes for various occasions and label the outside of each envelope with the topic of the letter.
Place all of the letters into a box. Place a note with instructions on top labeled “Read First” and a sealed message on the bottom labeled “Read Last.”
The beautiful thing about this gift is that it continues giving into the future.
#23 Hand Painted Greeting Card
Whether you are the next Frida Kahlo or more of a stick figure artist, your long-distance friend will appreciate seeing something that you created.
I recommend these blank greeting cards made of recycled paper.
For those panicking about drawing something, write a joke on the front and put the answer inside. Use stickers to decorate it, and tuck a few unused stickers into the card as a gift.
#24 Polaroids in Letters
On that note, up your long-distance game with polaroid pictures. Anyone can send a selfie over Snapchat or Instagram.
Go retro with polaroids and handwritten notes. Update them on your daily life and make fun plans for the next time you see each other.
Polaroids are an especially fun gift for people who remember life before smartphones. Each picture feels like a magic square of nostalgia.
#25 Poetry Book With Margin Notes
My favorite thing about buying books is sharing them with friends. We read the same book and then connect about the parts of the book that we could relate to or questions it raised.
Poetry books make great long-distance friendship gifts because they are typically more inviting than thick novels or dense memoirs. They are also lighter weight for sending back and forth through the mail.
Send an annotated book to a long-distance friend and ask them to leave their own comments. The things you both write become a slow conversation that will deepen your friendship.
I like these bestie books as an alternative to pen pal letters.
#26 Morning Motivation Poster
Remind your friend that she matters to you by sending a motivational poster to hang in their bedroom or bathroom. Every morning, they will look at it and think of your support.
This poster is an excellent present for people moving into a new dorm or apartment.
#27 Spotify Code
What’s your BFF song? For my best friend and me, it’s Tiny Dancer by Elton John.
Surprise your long-distance friend with a custom Spotify code. They are free to make and use similar technologies to QR codes. Link your code to a Best Friends playlist or bookmark the spotifycodes.com website and send individual songs regularly.
I have a friend in Spain who sends weekly song recommendations. It’s nice to receive a little “I’m thinking of you” gift. Plus, sharing language and culture through music is fun.
Don’t worry if you aren’t techy.
To create the code, copy the shareable link for a song or playlist. Then go to SpotifyCode.com, paste the link in the box, and click “Get Spotify Code.” Voila!
#28 Movie Night Gift Card
For anyone missing movie nights with their bestie, give your long-distance friend a gift card to the Google Playstore.
Pair this gift card with a fuzzy blanket and their favorite snack sent directly to their door. Then cuddle up on opposite ends of the country and binge movies or TV shows over a Zoom call.
The nice thing about Google Playstore is that it allows you to purchase individual movies and shows without committing to a full subscription for yet another streaming platform.
#29 Personalized Candle
The goal of any gift for a long-distance friendship is to remind the person that you are thinking of them. Every time they light this personalized candle, they will think of you.
For some friends, I would include a heartwarming message like “Magic Wish Granting Candle” or “The smell of Home.” On the other hand, my best friend’s candle will read “Unicorn Farts.”
In addition to custom text, you can also choose from scents like Raspberry and Vanilla or Fresh Coffee. There’s even a Library scent for your bookworm friends.
#30 Unicorn Socks
On the topic of unicorn-themed candles, last year, I gave my bestie a pair of kickass unicorn socks.
Unique socks are better than corny best friend T-shirts. Wild socks are a fun gift and daily reminder of your love.
#31 Zoom Party
Put your party planning skills to work by arranging a Zoom get-together. Invite loved ones by sending them a Zoom link. If you have a tight-knit group of close friends, play Jackbox Games together or just sit around and talk.
Zoom parties make good birthday gifts for long-distance friends who miss home.
Recently, a friend in Mexico hosted an online birthday bash and made one large Instagram invitation. Guests had to message her for the Zoom code to attend. That way, she didn’t have to reach out to everyone individually.
#32 Wine Subscription Box
Celebrate your friend’s new job or help them decompress after a stressful week with a bottle of wine sent to her doorstep.
First Leaf wine offers single bottle sales and monthly subscriptions. Monthly wine subscriptions are, of course, the gift that keeps giving. Your boozy babe will receive consistent reminders of your love without you having to do anything.
#33 Snacks Care Package
Care for your friends from across the world with a box of snacks. Thanks to Amazon, you can have a special treat shipped directly to your loved one’s door without the added work of assembling everything at home and going to the post office.
If you and your long-distance friend are from the same town, what did you grow up vegging out on? What’s local? I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so my best friend might send me something local like salt water, taffy, or huckleberry chocolate.
Meanwhile, I might send her Italian coffee beans or biscotti cookies.
I’m linking several snack ideas available on Amazon for this long-distance best friend care package. It’s common to fill care packs with candy, but healthy snacks are perfectly acceptable if that’s more your friend’s style.
#34 Spa Gift Box
Maybe you are in a long-distance relationship with a hairy monster who needs some pampering.
Give them an organic beard and facial hair box so they can look their best no matter where they live.
#35 Beard and Facial Hair Kit
When a friend goes abroad for the first time, I casually ask if they have an outlet adaptor.
This is one of those lightweight gifts to take abroad that won’t add unnecessary clutter to their suitcase. Outlet adaptors are easy to forget about but essential.
#36 Tea Gift Box
Spill the tea, babe! Send your bestie this Organic herbal tea sampler gift box and video chat about everything that is going on in your life.
Each unique loose-leaf tea comes in a reusable glass tube. If you are in a long-distance relationship, upgrade to the valentines box.
#37 Coffee Lovers Gift Box
Now that you are brimming with good gift ideas for long-distance friends, how about one more great gift idea? This coffee-themed gift box comes with a bag of organic whole coffee beans, a Yeti travel bug, and chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Make sure your friend knows that the chocolate-covered beans do have caffeine. My friend found this out the hard way—she ate a handful and was up for two days straight.
They taste so good, though.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodelle Marx is an artist and writer, adventure seeker, and collaborator. She hikes, swims, chases after her dog, and hums off tune. When Jodelle is not nerding out about traveling, she is probably working on a community project or performing spoken word poetry.
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