Shop these college care package ideas

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When you’re a college student in the crunch time of midterms or finals, getting a box from friends and family can be a terrific mood lifter. Being on your own for the first time is usually an exciting time—but it can be a stressful time, too.

If your child is away at school, you may wonder what to send that might be useful or fun to receive. Here are our best picks for college care package ideas for that student you miss.

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1. Healthy and not-so-healthy snacks

Cure those midnight cravings with tasty snacks from Harry & David.

The cornerstone of any great college care package: snacks! Think beyond the items they can get in vending machines—if your child has any harder-to-find or homemade favorites, be sure to include a taste of home. Protein bars, beef jerky, and nuts such as cashews and almonds can provide a natural energy boost for long study sessions, and individually wrapped snacks make it easier to share with friends.

For an easy way to send a lot of snacks, a Harry & David gift basket offers plenty of delicious options for students with all different tastes.

Get a Harry & David Grand Sweet and Salty Gift Box for $89.99

2. Dry shampoo

Batiste has every kind of hair type covered on those lazy days.

In the midst of final exams, it can be hard to find time for full hair care routines, especially for those with long or thick hair. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver when they need to get ready fast and head out the door—a quick spray and shake and hair is refreshing.

Get Batiste Dry Shampoo at Target for $8.99

3. Body wipes

Stay minty fresh on the go.

similarly, there may be busy days when a shower isn’t in the plan, or a trip to the gym for a workout necessitates a quick fix. Large, no-rinse body wipes can bridge the gap so they can still feel clean and less self-conscious around their classmates, and they tuck right into a college care package easily.

Get a 3-pack of HyperGo Rinse-Free Hypoallergenic Biodegradable Bathing Wipes at Amazon for $35.99

4. Medicine pack

Welly has every accident covered, big or small.

It really stinks to get sick away from home, without a parent or guardian to care for you, and without a medicine cabinet, too! College students rarely think to stock up on basic medicines, so it’s smart to make sure their college care package includes a little kit containing the kinds of things they might need, like pain reliever, stomach remedies, cold medicine, aloe vera gel, antacids, zinc, ginger pills, throat lozenges, bandages, allergy medicine, antibiotic ointment and anti-itch cream.

Get the Welly Expanded First Aid Kit at Target for $29.49

5. Extra pillowcase

Even dorm beds deserve to be comfortable.

Spending time doing laundry can take a big bite out of study time, so that’s another thing that sometimes falls by the wayside during exams. Even when there’s no time to do a full bedding change, though, pillows should still be kept clean so they don’t harbor oils and bacteria and cause skin breakouts. Having an extra, clean pillowcase on hand can make life easier.

Get a set of two Simply Essential Jersey Pillowcases at Bed Bath and Beyond for $15

6. Battery powered candles

Set the mood after class without the hazards.

Many dorms don’t allow real scented candles, incense or other potential fire hazards, but candles can create a relaxing ambience, especially if your student likes to meditate. Battery-powered candles can look surprisingly like the real thing without breaking any rules.

Get a 12-pack of Homary Flameless Tea Light Candles at Amazon for $9.99

7. Food delivery gift card

Any college student will be appreciative of a free meal.

Sometimes even stopping to go to the dining hall can be too disruptive when you’re trying to stay on task. Food delivery services like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub can save time and bring special treats they may not find on campus.

Get a DoorDash gift card

8. Aromatic stress relief

Banish bad smell from your space.

Certain scents, like lavender, lemon, rosemary, orange, vanilla and eucalyptus, can be soothing and uplifting. Aromatherapy can add some calm to a stressful day, and comes in several forms. One of the simplest is a roll-on that students can throw in their backpack for relief on the go, but an oil diffuser is also an option for stronger, longer-lasting aromatherapy.

9. Power bank

Because having your phone die while out in public is a total bummer.

Another great gift for a college care package is a portable power bank. This will make it simple to recharge a phone or tablet when no outlet is available.

Get the Mophie Powerstation at Amazon for $50.14

10. A variety of hot drinks

For those that you don't have time–or money–to spend at the campus coffee shop.

If your college student has a microwave or an electric kettle, you can send them a gift set full of different teas with a subscription to Sips By. Personalize the subscription to include an assortment of teas for different purposes: green tea for energy and focus, chamomile for relaxation before bed, ginger to help calm a stomach, and so on.

Not a tea drinker? Send a package of gourmet hot cocoa or instant coffee with non-dairy creamer and sugar packets.

11. A silly card game

Fun game nights are perfect for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Everyone needs some down time and socialization during high-pressure weeks. Card games are good picks for sending in a college care package, because they don’t take up much space, they’re easy to bring to a friend’s room, and they allow students a way to enjoy themselves without involving screens. You can go for a regular ole’ deck of cards or classic game, or pick a more modern—and edgier—option, like Cards Against Humanity.

Get Cards Against Humanity at Amazon for $25

12. Hand warmers

Chilly walks across campus are inevitably.  Make them a bit more comfy with HotHands hand warmers.

If your student is in a cold area, hand or foot warmers can be a nice little luxury as they travel to and from class. Choose from disposable or rechargeable battery-operated options.

Get a 20-pack of HotHands Hand Warmers at Walmart for $20.99

13. Earplugs

Block out unnecessary noise during your study sessions.

What to do when they’re trying to get some rest and their floor mates are… not? Simple foam earplugs are helpful for sleeping or for blocking out background sound to stay focused.

Get Hearos Ear Plugs at Amazon for $14.99

14. A lucky charm

A bit of luck to conquer the semester.

Who doesn’t love a lucky charm? Whether it’s a preserved four-leaf clover, a lucky penny from their birth year, a fake rabbit’s foot, a horseshoe, or anything else they might feel sentimental about, an extra item meant for good luck can brighten up your student’s day.

Get a Real Four Leaf Clover in a Wishing Bottle at Etsy for $19.95

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