From USA to India - Best Gift Ideas

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               Are you going from USA or America to India and are looking for best gift ideas to buy for family and friends? Then this is for you! If you would like some gifts which are delivered to India, check the "Delivered In India" section.

               Over the years my family, friends and I have made lots of trips both to and from India. We all have bought gifts for our near and dear ones. This list includes things that my family, my friends or I have bought or would consider buying for our next trip. Here you will find specific items to buy and popular gifts that will be liked by everyone and also things to take back to India from USA.

               As you may know purchasing online is very convenient; just a few clicks and the items get delivered to you. Online purchasing also makes it easier to compare items and will usually give us more variety of options to choose from. So why wait? If you like something online buy it right away. Our near and dear ones deserve the best, so don't look at prices too much!

               See some general gift ideas below. For more gifts, select from a category from menu above or click - "Women", "Men", "Seniors",  "Kids",  "Budget Gifts". The budget gift category has inexpensive and cheap gift ideas.

Saffron is a gift which anyone can use, looks good and is budget friendly. To give saffron, get a big pack of saffron from your local Indian grocery store or get some Spanish saffron from here or from here. Then redistribute the saffron into small plastic containers like these or these 50 small glass bottles. That's it, gifts for several people are done! If you like, you can also make your own gift boxes, see here for some designs. If you make your own boxes, then you can also add your own message.

Almonds and Walnuts are also great options in place of saffron. Get Almonds/Walnuts from Costco or local Indian grocery store or check this almond pack or this pack of walnuts. For packing these, check this great gift bags. My parents said that quality of green cardamom is much better and they look a big pack of green cardamom back home to use and to gift.

A space pen is a very unique gift and not available in India so far. For my next trip I plan to buy this space pen with an american flag (popular)  A space pen became well known in India after being shown in the movie "Three Idiots" in year 2009.  But the anti gravity pen was patented in 1965 by Paul walker and were used in 1968 on Apollo 7. See the interesting history of fisher space pen here. Also a good option is a different space pen with an american flag.

Here is a great idea, a couple's wrist watch set (popular). I have purchased this watch set, check here for more details and my photos on this set. This set is amazing and is perfect gift for any special couple in your life. When the watches are placed next to each other they form a heart; it is so nice! If you prefer metal straps then check this similar set with metal straps. Other than the gold set, this set is also available as a black set, as a white set and as a black and white set. This different watch set also looks good. This is a more expensive watch set but looks good too. If you are going to India to attend a marriage then a watch set is also a good gift. Also a nice option for wedding anniversaries.

Thanks to Neha Shrivastav (see comments), another great ideas is to take candles, which can be used for holidays, weddings and other special occasions. Check this pack of 24 LED flame-less lights also include decorative wrap holders. Another option is a pack of 12 LED lights.

Kitchen Items

This compact Knife Sharpener is nice small gift to take. In fact I plan to take multiple of these for my next trip. Almost everyone can find use for this.

Since garlic is commonly used in most Indian food recipes, a garlic press will be a nice gift. 
With this stainless steel garlic press one can use a peeled clove turned into minced garlic. Also included is a silicone tube roller if one wants to simply have  peeled clove. Additionally this is dishwasher safe. There is yet another garlic press, which looks very similar in features/functionality.

This set of four plastic spoon rest is a nice and useful kitchen item to get. We use a similar one daily in my kitchen, works well to temporarily rest a spoon while cooking. Since one rest is usually sufficient for a kitchen and this set has four rests,  each one could be gifted to different persons. This stainless spoon rest is also another option in spoon rests.

Yes another very useful kitchen item is an utensil set. This 7 piece Cuisinart set looks good. I have purchased this 6 piece cooking spoon set, but I was not fully satisfied with that particular purchase. You can see photos of my set along with some of my observations.

Yet another very useful kitchen item is a grater. My parents once took a grater similar to this grater. It is a 10 inch grater, with four different types of blades. It can be used to grate cheese or ginger or vegetables. A similar this Cuisinart grater is also nice.

Items by Corelle are also popular. Sometime ago my parents bought a set of Corelle dinner plates like these dinner plates, not as a gift but to use at home. Another good option for dinner plates is this set of dinner plates.

An onion saver is great way to store a partial onion in a refrigerator. This keeps the onion smell from reaching the rest of the refrigerator as well. I have been using a very similar looking one for quite a while. This can be a nice and useful little gift to take to India.

Know a wine lover in India? If yes then you can give a wine accessory as a gift. You may know that a wine aerator is helpful in oxidation of wines, which can bring out flavors. In my experience aeration is especially useful for red wines and younger wines. Get this wine aerator pourer  or this one  as a gift; both are good, and they will certainly like it. This corkscrew opener and wine stopper is good; also this wine opener gift set is nice. I know some great electric wine openers but they only work with 120V. If you have experience with a electric wine opener for India, let me know in the comments section below.

Even thought getting chocolates as gifts from USA are routine, chocolates are still loved by everyone in India. And if they are personalized then they will be loved even more. Check out M&M website where you can get personalized M&M chocolates. Add your own images, your own text to M&Ms of your choice of color. A little expensive, but definitely worth it for special occasions. If they are being given to smaller kids, add their names to the personalized M&Ms, they will be delighted to see it as well.  Another choice is some variety of Hershey's chocolates, like Hershey's Nuggets Chocolates Assortment (popular)which is a nice mixture of four different types of bite sized chocolates or Hershey's Miniatures party pack, which has five different varieties. Remember to put all chocolates in the refrigerator once you reach home in India. So it is a good idea to pack all chocolates, where one can find and take out easily.  

Electronic Items

Electronic items are one things which are generally cheaper to buy in the USA compared to India. Also usually the latest versions of products are available in USA first. For example, I remember when iPad became a hit, it was not being sold in India and almost everyone going to India was buying and taking on there. There fore they are one of the best things to buy in USA to India.

Check this Chromebook, I own a very similar one and I see that the battery life is great. It starts up quickly, within a handful seconds even from a fully shutdown state. It is great for casual web browsing, emails, watching videos and doing google hangout video/audio conference. If you have a windows machine then you would have experienced the slowness of the windows updates. None of that for a Chromebook, because the updates literally take a couple of seconds. If you prefer a larger screen there is a Chromebook with 15.6 inch screen

If the laptop will be used for more than casual use, then it should have more computing power. So it should have at least have Intel core i5 or equivalent, 6GB or 8GB RAM and 1TB hard disk. We can expect such a laptop to give good performance for long time. Check this Acer laptop. After buying that Acer laptop, it will be a good ideas to uninstall any bloatware/unwanted software.

A Macbook Air has a certain prestige. Besides the fact that it is a great laptop, it is light weight, has a nice battery. I especially like it's very sleek design and ease of use.

 Among tablets I like iPad mini 4 for it's compact size; making it much easy to carry around. For someone who will not carry it around often then larger iPad Pro can be a good choice; especially someone who will use it for a longer period of time like an artist creating digital drawings/paintings or a music lover creating music on the Garage band app. This Samsung tab  can also be a good choice for an Android tablet.

Recently I purchased Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet (popular) . It has proved to be a nice gift. It has most of the features of other tablets. Although we do not intend to use the camera, I saw that the camera picture clarity was not that good. See Amazon photos of my Fire 7 tablet

These Anker bluetooth sound buds can be a apt gift for someone to use on a long commute or for someone actively into gym, workouts, running and other outdoor activities. My friend has the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones. I have tried them and found that these have a nice rich sound. These can be welcome gift for a audiophile or anyone who enjoys to listening to music for long time. 

A Bluetooth speaker can be used with any phone to turn a room into instant music/dance party. This Anker speaker, is designed have a battery for 24 hour playtime. Besides it has a nice Bluetooth range and includes a microphone. Since I have heard of Anker's great customer service from so many persons, I have decided that my next speaker or headphone is going to be an Anker one. Another option is an ultra portable Bluetooth speaker. That one is so ultra portable that one can literally hold with two fingers.

Now a days, coffee is becoming more and more popular in India, and so is Starbucks. Pick up a pound of Starbucks coffee from the Starbucks website or from your local Starbucks. Or get this Starbucks instance coffee (popular); I have bought this several times and it tastes very good. This Trader Joe's ground coffee sampler is a nice mix of four types. I like the Pumpkin Spice flavor. The Ginger bread flavor is also good; it tastes a bit like Indian masala tea. You can also take these 60 count of assorted tea bags (popular) which is a selection of black teas, green teas and fruit flavor teas. Or take these 50 count assorted tea bags with flavor sticks.

A harry potter fan in the family? Then see this Harry Potter 8 movie collection. Note this is a Blu-ray version. This is listed as all region version. I see that a DVD version is also available, but is for Region 1 (US and Canada) only.

This is a unique gift for whisky lovers. These chilling rocks are cubes which are designed to cool down your drink. These are rocks that one needs to keep in the refrigerator. Later on one can use these rocks instead of ice cubes; it is as simple as that. Cheers!


Travel Accessories

Travel accessories are not necessarily gifts, but are useful for the person travelling.

 A common problem while travelling is to weigh the bag to ensure that they weigh within the limits. I used to use my bathroom scale to weigh the bags, but it is a bit tricky to do. Also in the process I managed to crack the glass of my bathroom scale. A much better option is to buy a handheld luggage scale (popular), which makes this task very easy.

Check these Tavelon Set of 2 tags, available in several colors. Another option is a set of colorful and funny tags which say "Keep Looking not yours!".

Another useful item to buy are luggage locks, especially a TSA approved luggage locks. A TSA approved luggage lock can be opened by the TSA in case they need to check it. If the lock is not TSA approved, then they may decide to break the lock if they have to open and inspect it. So worth checking these TSA approved luggage locks(popular).

Worthwhile getting is this neck security wallet to keep passport, some reserve cash and any other important documents. It can be easily kept hidden under clothes. 

 I always carry also some ear plugs, because they help some of my family members with ear pain in flight and also help with reducing noise. Several times, I have shared these with other travelers.

To make the long journey comfortable take a neck pillow. It is a memory foam, meaning it will be easy to squish and pack where-ever there is some space. 

If you are going to India for vacation, you will very likely carry a camera. In such case take a camera bag to carry along the camera and other things like charger etc. Along with that, I think that a mini tripod is good to take to India. That way using the remote/timer option of the camera and the tripod everyone in the room can be part of the photo.

Check this 2 in 1 power plug adapter(popular). Note that it does not convert voltage up or down, just adapts the plug type. One can use two devices at a time with this one.

If you are travelling with kids then they will need something to do for the long trip. For toddlers take a potato head. They can spend sometime preparing funny faces, showing that to you and have a good laugh. Another option is to buy several cheap toys and give one every 30 mins or an hour. I have seen this strategy work well. For older kids a puzzle book  as well as a joke & riddle book are good options to keep them occupied.

By the way, last year I signed up for Amazon Prime membership. The membership gives one a better shipping options for most items. So something to consider if you plan to use Amazon more often.  The Video Service is also included the membership. They do have few nice TV series and movies, but so far I have not used it that much. If you are a student, check the Prime Student membership.

For more gifts, select from a category from menu above or check "Women", "Men", "Seniors",  "Kids",  "Budget Gifts"  for more gift ideas. The budget gift category has inexpensive and cheap gift ideas.

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  1. So much of variety!
    Great Idea.
    Thanks for providing these many options.

  2. awesome....wud be cool if you add more ...cheers.

    1. thank you!
      I will keep adding more.

  3. Awesome.. Collection of really good stuff !

  4. Is that 1 oz saffron box really enough for 50 people?

    1. Good question!
      I doubt if the 1 oz can be used to distribute to 50 people.
      When I bought it, I gave to 12 persons and kept rest of it for myself.
      My best guess is that it can be used for 25 or 30 persons.
      Next time I buy it, I will measure it and post an update on the count.

    2. Thank you for reply. I was really not sure so just wanted to have approximate figures based on your experience.

  5. Omg!! Such a great Time saver list... wonderful ideas. Thanks for adding shopping links wherever needed. It was actually great looking at some of them which I had no idea before like..whisky chilling rocks...thank you so much for an amazing list of options.

  6. I find candles as perfect gifts for Indian mommies and girls. I know some Indian people and they are into lights and candles a lot. Candeberg LED candles from are usually my favorite gifts for them. These candles are flameless and really adorable when you use it at home

    1. Thanks a lot Neha for this!
      I will add these above.


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