Last Updated : May 18th 2017
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! This also includes things to take to India from USA.
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 everyone will like 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 some of these small glass bottles or these small round containers. 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. Paul walker got a patent for the anti gravity pen in 1965. Space pen 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 bought 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. Check this classic watch set also. 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’s suggestion from comments below, another great ideas is to take candles. They are great 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.
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 use is common in most Indian food recipes, a garlic press will be a nice gift. With this stainless steel garlic press one can turn a peeled clove 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 in our 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 given to different people. 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 bought this 6 piece cooking spoon set, but I was not fully happy 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. One can use it 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.
These Herb Scissors can be an interesting new item to gift. I am thinking of buying this and see how it works in practice.
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 custom design 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 these M&Ms, they will be happy 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 size 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. Something unique check Giant Hershey’s Kiss (7oz) or the even bigger Huge Hershey’s Kiss (12.8 oz) .
Electronic items are one things which are generally cheaper to buy in the USA versus 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 seen 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 you anticipate to be a remote Help Desk, then it’s easily doable via the app “Google Remote Desktop”. Detailed steps on this site.
If the laptop will be used for heavier 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/unnecessary 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. Check apple.com for iPad mini/pro. Apple certified products are known to be very good and one can save some money as well. I have purchased several Apple certified products and they were in great condition. So check here for Apple certified/refurbished products.
This Samsung tab can also be a good choice for an Android tablet.
Recently I got Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet. It has proven 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 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 along with any phone, can turn 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 people, 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 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 and shows as all region version/region free. 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 are not necessarily gifts, but addding them here because are useful for the person travelling.
Check these Tavelon Set of 2 tags, available in several colors.
Another useful item to buy are luggage locks, especially a TSA approved luggage locks. In case a TSA personnel needs to check the luggage, they can open a TSA aapproved luggage lock. 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. One can easily keep it 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.
Many kids will enjoy having their own bag to pack their items. For girls, see this American Tourister Children’s Luggage,
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, I am an Amazon Prime member. The membership gives me better shipping options for many items. So something to consider if you plan to use Amazon more often. I also get a video service with 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.
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