Student care packages: What should you send?
Data from UCAS shows that more than 260,000 people in the UK had applied to start university courses by the end of 2013. Now that September is over and most of the Freshers' parties are done and dusted, this army of new students - the majority living out of home for the first time - will no doubt be pining for a few creature comforts. This is where parents, family members and friends come in.
There are few better ways to make your studying loved ones happy than to send them a perfectly planned care package. With delivery rates so low, you can get away with sending a sizeable stash of goodies, too. Here are a few of the best things to include.
Student loan payments always seem big at first, but they rarely last. When the off-license has been emptied and the weekly budget no longer stretches to a gourmet meal in the local Wetherspoon's, your student will be looking high and low for cheap, lasting sustenance. A bulky supply of instant noodles is always the best answer here. Regardless of brand or even flavour, most of these taste the same, and they tend to be extremely cheap and light. It's cultured cuisine too, right?
Sticking with the ongoing quest for extra funds, it's pretty normal for students to put partying above studying and tipples ahead of tomes. With this in mind, most will appreciate receiving a few book tokens in the post. With e-retailers usually the first call for new study materials, it's even possible to pay for vouchers online before printing them at home, ready to send over. If you're sending coupons or gift cards for bricks-and-mortar stores, just check there's a branch near the recipient's halls of residence.
You might not want to know what your student is getting up to while they're away from home - especially if it's your son or daughter - but it's best to make sure they're safe whatever it is. Most medical facilities will go out of their way to put contraceptives in the pockets of excitable students; after all, keeping infection and pregnancy rates down among unprepared youngsters is very much in their interests too. While you're sending something the recipient probably has easy access too already, it doesn't hurt to reinforce the importance of protection.
20 pence coins
No, this isn't a joke. Unless you're happy for your student to stretch the suitcase worth of clothes they have until it's time to visit home (and use your washing machine), it's a good idea to send some laundry room-friendly change. It's normal for machines to accept 20 pence coins but it's definitely worth checking before sending - inflation has been a game-changer in the communal washing machine sector.
Of all the things they're missing, your away-from-home loved one is probably pining for your company the most - even if they don't admit it. Here at iPostParcels, we have rules in place to prevent sending actual humans across the country, but a group photo in a nice frame is definitely the next best thing. You could even hide a tenner in it for when times get really tough and they're on the phone pestering you for extra funds.