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Megan Thudium 2019-12-19

How to easily send gifts abroad online

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

In the past, finding the perfect gift for a loved one would require visiting the department store to make a purchase, packaging it at the local post office, then writing down a tracking number to make sure it arrived on time and at the right place. Do you remember the stress over that? Now, with e-commerce and digital gift-giving platforms, it’s easier, faster and more convenient to find and send gifts abroad online.

When families move apart due to migration, it can feel more difficult to connect. By sending a gift abroad, you can let a family member or friend know you care and that you miss them. With some quick online research, a click and a money transfer, a special gift can be on its way in no time.

Types of gifts that ship internationally

Your options for gift-giving are as widespread as the internet. E-commerce and shopping websites now allow you to make purchases at your convenience. For inspiration, here are some international gifts you can purchase online:

  • E-commerce goods. E-commerce websites allow you to make purchases with local merchants, or easily purchase and ship gifts globally. You can pick from a wide range of clothing, accessories or household items you know they’ll love.
  • Food. Food is welcomed by any culture and in any country. Many local bakeries, pastry shops and cake shops will make food for your loved ones and may even hand-deliver them. This is a particularly great idea for an international birthday gift delivery.
  • Flowers. Whether you want to send roses, daisies or lilies, find a local or online flower shop to have an eye-catching bouquet arrive to their doorstep.
  • Money transfers. If you find yourself with little time, or simply with no ideas, money is always a reasonable gift. With a money transfer service like the Western Union® app, you can transfer money straight to their bank account in their local currency quickly and easily.

Cost of sending international gifts online

When sending gifts abroad, you might have to work with transaction fees, foreign exchange rates, international duties and taxes. Be sure to factor these when calculating the total cost of your gift as well as any spreads money transfer companies may charge.

Foreign exchange rates are always fluctuating and dependent on factors out of your control. Before making your gift purchase, research the current exchange rate and compare it to the rate quoted on your online purchase.

When you send a gift to a foreign country (even online), you might also be asked to pay additional duties and taxes. These are legal requirements required for any goods shipped abroad — gifts or otherwise. The price of a gift on many e-commerce websites doesn’t necessarily include duties and taxes, which are additional to the international shipping fees. Pay close attention to the details of the company’s international shipping policy. If they provide the option to prepay those duties and taxes, take the deal. Save your friends and family the dreaded trip to the foreign duty office to pay those fees when the package arrives.

When making a gift digitally, the good news is that you’re more likely to avoid international duties, taxes and the foreign duty office if you follow a simple suggestion: Purchase from the retailer’s website for the gift recipient’s home country. For example, if you’re in Germany but purchasing a gift for a family member in Russia, you can avoid a headache by going to the retailer’s Russian website to make your purchase. This lets you avoid customs and shipping fees, as the gift is more likely to ship within your family member’s country. Note that you will still see the exchange rate fee on your credit card.

Your gift options are limitless

In today’s world, you’re not limited by borders or currencies to send a friend or family member a gift abroad. E-commerce websites, food, flowers and money transfers are all fantastic options to send gifts abroad online. Educate yourself on these options, and save yourself stress by mastering currency exchange, international duties and taxes. International gift purchases are more convenient and affordable than ever, making it easy to show your loved ones how much you care.

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This Article was written by

Megan Thudium Megan Thudium is an avid traveler and educational storyteller writing on the diverse topics of life abroad in Germany, travel, business, and personal development. Her abroad adventures have included thirty plus countries — with her largest adventure to date, living abroad in Berlin, Germany. Her work has appeared in online publications, including Forbes.com, Upwork.com, Business.com, and Managers.org.uk.

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