30 Thoughtful (or Last-Minute) Going Away Gift Ideas


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It’s nice to acknowledge when someone is moving, leaving a job, or going away on an extended journey. Most people, whether they will admit it or not, have a slight fear or touch of anxiety with these experiences. Buying a gift for those individuals may help calm their nerves and make them feel special.

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Here are some ideas for thoughtful going away gifts. Most of the items on our list can be purchased at the last minute, while a few may take more time and effort to put together.

Going Away Gift Ideas for Coworkers

Do you have a coworker who is leaving? Even though you may be shouting a silent “hurrah” in support of their departure to greener pastures, here are some gift ideas to make them feel missed.

1. An etched or engraved award

If your coworker faithfully served your office for years, it is important to note the contribution to the business with some special award.

This award can take many forms. Perhaps it can be a plaque that the retiree can place on their desk at home. Maybe you could purchase a crystal decorative piece that is etched with the name of the company and the number of years the employee served.

2. Golf clubs

If you know that your coworker is looking forward to spending their mornings on the links, why not purchase a set of golf clubs or at least a high-end driver?

Try to determine the personal preferences of the individual before making a large purchase - or at least make sure you keep a gift receipt.

If you can pool money from the office, consider buying them a brand-new golf club set instead.

3. Etched wine glasses

Send your coworker off in style with a set of crystal wine glasses or champagne flutes. Your coworker will be able to toast their new life with a significant other while making plans on what to do next.

We like these personalized wine glasses from Amazon.

4. Book store gift certificate

Some new retirees can’t wait to start reading for pleasure after they quit working. Why not get them started with a stack of your favorite books or a book store gift certificate?

Of course, you could also get your coworker a subscription to an audiobook service or an e-reader, like a Kindle Unlimited subscription, as well.

5. A plant

If your coworker enjoys taking care of plants, purchase a large, potted plant (like an easy-to-care-for palm plant), perhaps with the name of the company written on the side of the pot. This may be a great idea as a gift to use for older people. 

Going Away Gift Ideas for a Spouse or Partner

If your spouse is going away on an extended business or personal trip, consider giving them something to remember you by. Here are some more personal items, as well as a few practical choices, to give someone dear to your heart.

6. A playlist

Those who grew up in the 1980s may remember mixtapes. They were full of songs, usually recorded off the radio, that one would give to someone special. The music was chosen carefully, often to tell the receiver your impressions of the relationship.

Of course, we no longer make mixtapes, but you do have the ability to create playlists. Consider filling your modern-day mixtape with goodbye songs such as “I Will Remember You” or “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

7. An international cell phone plan

If your spouse is traveling internationally, you will want to make sure that they don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to send a simple text or call every night.

Check into your family’s cell phone plan to figure out the rates for international communication.

8. Travel adapters

Your spouse will love you forever if you purchase a travel adapter, like this small universal adapter, that will allow them to use their favorite electronics while traveling through Europe.

These often-forgotten items are nice to have on hand when you arrive exhausted at your travel destination. 

9. A framed photo

If your spouse is leaving for an extended amount of time, have professional photos taken of both you and your love and have a few of them framed. Alternatively, you can print them and buy an inexpensive set of frames online.

10. A love letter

Tuck a love letter or intimate thank you note in the luggage of your significant other. They will get warm fuzzies when they discover your sweet note.

Going Away Gift Ideas for Friends

It’s hard when a friend moves away. Even though you may promise to text and visit, it never seems to happen as much as you plan. Here are some gift ideas to give to a friend who is moving.

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11. Something that reminds the friend of an inside joke

If you are around a person for a long time, you begin to communicate in a sort of shorthand. One word or phrase may remind you of a hilarious story. Think about which item may remind your friend of such a memory.

12. Clothes that remind your friend of home

If your friend is moving to another city or state, why not purchase a clothing item that will remind your friend about their time spent in your area?

The clothing can be obvious, such as an NYC sweatshirt or a University of Kentucky cap. You could also buy something such as a scarf covered with sunflowers for someone leaving Kansas or one depicting bluebonnets for someone leaving Texas. 

13. Framed photograph 

Take or purchase a photo depicting a special place that your friend will soon be leaving. Have the picture professionally framed.

14. Matching jewelry

You and your friend will be able to feel a little closer if you both have the same piece of jewelry. Buy a matching necklace, bracelet, or another piece that will make you smile every time you wear them.

You can find minimalist silver friendship necklaces on Amazon.

15. Airline points

To guarantee that your friend will be able to come back for periodic visits, you may consider letting them use some of your airline points. Your friend may love being able to come back without worrying about the expense of making such a trip.

Going Away Gift Ideas for College

Saying goodbye to a new college student is bittersweet. On the one hand, they may live farther away, but on the other hand, the young person is starting a new, exciting adventure. Here are some gift ideas for the college student who is moving away from home. 

16. Luggage

Everyone needs a small piece of carry-on luggage. This can be used to take quick, weekend trips home as well as longer spring break adventures. We like this basic black carry-on with a hard shell.

17. Money

Even though money may not be the most creative gift, some college students depend upon monetary graduation gifts to get them started with paying for college expenses. 

If you want to make sure the money goes towards something specific, buy them gift cards to places like Whole Foods, Safeway, or another local store.

18. Restaurant gift cards

College kids love to eat out, but their finances may not allow this to happen easily. Buy gift cards to Chipotle, Starbucks, and Panera

19. Gas gift cards

Will the student have access to a car while in college? Help them out by purchasing a tank of gas. Even those who don’t drive much will appreciate being able to buy a soda or candy bar from the neighborhood convenience store.

20. Uber gift card

Uber gift cards make perfect gifts for college students who may want to go out and party responsibly every so often. 

DIY Going Away Gift Ideas

Make a gift with your own hands to tell your friend how much they will be missed. Here are some ideas of gifts that you can make yourself.

21. Garden stone

Purchase a garden step stone kit from an online retailer. Most of the time, such kits have everything you need to create a decorative piece. Personalize the garden stone with words or significant colors.

22. New home kit

Is your friend moving to a new home? Consider gathering items that they would appreciate when entering a new house.

Fill your kit with practical items such as toilet paper, light bulbs, and cleaning supplies. Also, consider adding a fragrant candle to help them cleanse their new home.

23. Homemade pottery

If you are a gifted potter, use your talents to create a piece to use as a going-away gift. Whether you make a matching set of mugs or a flower vase, your unique gift surely will receive a place of honor in your friend’s new home. 

24. Photobook

Photo books have become extremely easy to make in recent years. Perhaps the most challenging part of the process will be wading through the thousands of photos to find the appropriate images.

Use facial recognition software to find photos of your friend and create a book of your shared memories. Once you've selected the pictures, put them in a scrapbook, like this basic scrapbook with thick paper.

25. Baked goods

Even though your friends may not want to hassle with a pie when they begin their journey, everyone loves cookies. Bake some of your friend’s favorite cookies and place them in an easy-to-pack bag.

If you're not a fan of baking, you can send them a basket of gourmet muffins and pastries directly to their door.

Funny Going Away Gift Ideas

For many, going-away parties turn into tearful goodbyes. If you want to keep things light as you tell your friend or loved one goodbye, consider one of these gifts.

26. Bobblehead

Are you a fan of The Office? If so, you remember when Angela purchased a personalized bobblehead for Dwight as a gift for a special occasion. This is perfect for a fan of The Office or someone else who would want a unique, fun gift. 

Amazon has a pretty large selection of bobbleheads from sports, TV, and other places.

27. Personalized cake or cookie

You know everyone will expect to eat at the going-away party. Personalize the cake or cookie with words such as “Fine...Go” or “I’ll miss your ugly face.”

Of course, these sentiments should be reserved for someone with a sense of humor and thick skin.

28. A caricature

Hire an artist to draw a caricature of your friends surrounded by items from their current job or home. 

29. A bottle of wine

Buy a nice bottle of wine to commemorate your friend is leaving. Put a tag on it that says, “I promised you that I wouldn’t cry, so I’ll just wine.” Is that a cringe-worthy gift? Yes, it is. Regardless, it’s a clever way to present an easy gift. 

30. “Helpful” gifts for their new life

Is your friend moving to Seattle? Perhaps everyone in the office can purchase her an umbrella. Do you have a coworker who is being transferred to an office in Texas?

Buy him a pair of cowboy boots or a set of spurs. Your friend with a good attitude won’t mind good-natured ribbing that will come with some of these gifts.

Say See You Later, Not Goodbye, With a Gift

If you are purchasing a gift for someone ending a chapter of their lives, this may cause you to think about the changes you have experienced throughout your own life. 

Perhaps this reflection will lead you to thoughts of your eventual death. Instead of pushing those thoughts out of mind, why not prepare for the eventuality by starting end-of-life planning? You will feel relieved knowing that it is taken care of well in advance of when you need it. 

Think about end-of-life planning as preparing for the last journey you will ever make, and make sure you have the best gifts to say goodbye or see you later for everyone.

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

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