How to Shop for Christmas When Abroad

How to Shop for Christmas When Abroad

I know some people think I start way too early when I say I’m buying Christmas presents in November. I know for a fact my mum (who is very much last minute) wouldn’t even think to make a start until we’re well into December. Unfortunately, I was never very good at leaving shopping until the last minute. I get stressed out in shops enough as it is! (Does anyone else feel the same way, or is it just me?)

It’s for this very reason that I start to make lists (yes, lists) as early as November. I know my lists won’t ever go to the North Pole and be made by Santa’s little helpers, so I guess I just have to take on their responsibility. (I mean, I am small enough to count as an elf! ha).

Added on to this years’ Christmas shopping stress was the fact that I’d now be buying presents for my family from abroad! That means ALL of my shopping has to be done online. Okay, fair enough, I do most of my shopping online anyway (in fact, I LOVE shopping online because it’s so easy!), but there’s always that added risk ordering presents abroad. How do you know if they’ve actually been delivered?


Christmas Shopping Starts and the Black Friday Deals

This year, as we (Tom and I) decided to come home for Christmas and celebrate with friends and family, we realised that need to buy our Christmas presents ahead of time.

Like fate, this was around the same time as the Black Friday sales were coming on. And like every other sucker at this time, we were drawn into the deals!

Yes, I know what you’re going to say…. Black Friday Deals aren’t actually that great. But so what if they’re not? That’s my thinking anyway when having to buy online.

So it was mid-November and we became Amazon addicts. We were checking the latest deals every single day and ordering a number of items at a time. Tom even signed up to Prime to ensure Next Day delivery. We also saw this as a great opportunity to discover Amazon Prime Video


Here’s a little review of Amazon Prime Video:

Before we looked at Amazon Prime Video, we were definitely Netflix-lovers, so when we first looked at the home screen for Amazon it already had that similar feel we were used to. Whether because there wasn’t much on offer or the layout was harder to manage, it felt a lot more difficult finding something to watch. Scrolling through Netflix is bad enough so to have a similar/worse experience was quite a disappointment.

However, there were a lot of series we already knew we wanted to start watching. Jack Ryan was the first on our list. Although, like most millennials nowadays, we binged that series in a week! So it was onto our next search….

Since trying out the TV streaming platform we have binged three or four series (some of which have had 3 seasons! It’s bad, I know, but I can’t help it!)

I think there is a lot of option on Amazon when you can be bothered to look. For most of the time, I think you have to be in a certain mood to watch certain films and TV programmes. However, it’s no different from trying to find something to watch on Netflix so maybe we’re just fussy! A further look also showed a lot of odd/old programmes and films that you wouldn’t expect to be popular. But, then again, it’s always nice to have a bit of nostalgia now and then.

Unfortunately, our Amazon Prime Video trial has come to an end, but we’re definitely considering taking it up in the New Year and discovering some of the programmes we didn’t get the chance to see this time around. Maybe then I can make my full review on the streaming platform.


Back to Shopping: A Few Online Tips for Shopping When Abroad

If you’ve got holidays planned around Christmas time and can’t bring everything back like you want to, online shopping is probably something worth considering. When shopping abroad, I think my main tip would be to have a strategy in place. Here are my three top tips for shopping when abroad:

  1. If you’re going somewhere where it will be difficult to get in touch with your loved ones – e.g. somewhere remote with no Wi-Fi – then get ideas of Christmas presents before you go!
  2. Get someone you know and trust back home to receive your packages. We had all our presents delivered to Tom’s parents. We knew that for the majority of the time there would be someone in the house and we could count on them to let us know when they arrived.
  3. Make the most of online deals like Black Friday! Yes, you might be a bit put off if you’ve heard the rumours that you can get it cheaper after this date, but we’ve done our own comparisons this year to find that a lot of our presents actually doubled in price! So it can be worth it. You just have to watch out for the best deals.

So there you have it, how to shop online when abroad. Of course, it’s also a good idea to ensure you have the financial funds to support this venture. Another good idea if you’re buying online and abroad is to manage your money in one place. It’s why we’ve started banking the borderless way with TransferWise. Having a place where you can manage our Pounds and Euros and transfer between them with little charge has been invaluable since being in Spain and I recommend looking into it.

How are you doing your shopping this Christmas? Are you prepared?