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The best gift ideas for college grads in 2024 are fabulous surprises for post-school life

Graduates hugging outdoors
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Graduating from college is an exciting milestone that marks many students' final transition into adulthood. It's a huge accomplishment and one that you should mark with a token of appreciation. Think of something thoughtful that will equip them for the journey ahead, whether that means kicking off a career, heading off for even higher education, or enjoying real independence. It's hard out there – help get them started off right!

Of course, finding the ideal gift can be tricky. You want something practical yet fun to commemorate this major life event. Maybe it's sleek new luggage to jet off on a celebratory trip, wireless headphones to pump up their motivation during job searches, or a gift card to let them choose what they want. 

The possibilities are endless, but the thought behind it matters most. We're here to help with gift ideas to fit every path, from career-focused accessories to relaxation must-haves and everything in between. However your grad plans to take on the world, make sure they're ready for the next chapter with one of our specially curated gifts below. 

The best gifts for college grads in 2024

Best gift for college grads: Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the ultimate gift for college grads, as it packs both style and function into one fantastic smartwatch that'll they'll appreciate long after the graduation parties have ended. 

This is the best Apple Watch available, especially for fitness enthusiasts who want to track their outdoor adventures. If your grad is going to be on the go or working on their physique after their college experience, give them the best companion to do it with. 

With crash detection, heart monitoring, cycle tracking and more, it provides all the health metrics your grad could want. It pairs easily with an iPhone for messaging, calls, and other apps, too. 

For college grads wanting a fully-loaded smartwatch to motivate their fitness routines and outdoor excursions, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a worthwhile upgrade. Its durable build makes for the perfect constant companion, and your grad can keep in touch easily with their new smartwatch, too. 

Even at this premium price, this feature-rich watch is a smart investment for tech-savvy grads.

Best gift card for college grads: Amazon gift card

Amazon graduation gift card

Your favorite college grad can get almost anything they need for their next phase with an Amazon gift card. 

Load this card (that comes in a fitting, graduation-cap gift box if you choose) with an amount between $25 and $2,000. It's as good as giving cash in several situations, since there's so much to be found on Amazon.

The balance can be loaded to an Amazon account via code, so you don't have to worry about the card being misplaced or stolen. Once the gift balance is on your grad's Amazon account, all they have to worry about is what they're going to buy with their windfall. 

From electronics to clothes and everything in between, grads will find something they love on Amazon and then some. 

Best gift for traveling college grads: Away Large Flex

Away The Large Flex

Is your college grad planning on seeing the world? If so, help them prep for a lengthy trip with a large, high-quality, hard-shell suitcase. Away's Large Flex is the brand's beefiest model. 

Its lightweight shell makes it perfect for wheeling around the airport and around town, and its 360-degree wheels are smooth and easily maneuverable. It even has a built-in lock, so your grad's belongings are safe. It's estimated to hold two weeks' worth of supplies for a trip, so it helps to condense packing time and the number of items needed. 

It can be expanded, too, making it even bigger, so there's no need to cram things inside and hope for the best. It's available in a number of colors, so you can match your grad's favorite hue to a new piece of luggage they might be planning to see the world with. 

Best gift for hard-to-shop-for grads: Blue Apron e-gift card

Blue Apron
Blue Apron

What do you get the college grad who's too hard to shop for? Well, everyone needs to eat. So whether they're entering the real world or moving onto their next round of school, your grads can always use home-cooked meals. Make it easier on them with a Blue Apron meal kit gift card. 

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that anyone would be delighted to receive. It brings a variety of pre-portioned, ready to cook meals right to your grad's door. All your grad has to do is follow directions and use all the ingredients in each box to make a tasty, filling dinner. 

There's a wide variety of recipes to fit any palate, and grads can learn valuable cooking skills while prepping each dish so they can take on their own cooking adventures when living on their own. 

Choose from denominations of $70, $140 or $280 and give the gift of delicious food. Anyone can appreciate that. 

Best headphones for college grads: Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra wireless earbuds are the perfect companion for college grads. With excellent noise cancellation, these comfortable buds block distractions fantastically, but they can also let the world in for important moments, too. 

Grads can immerse themselves in their favorite music or podcasts on the go. Or they can flip on these buds' transparency mode to let ambient sounds back in. The sweat-resistant design also means they're great for wearing to the gym and during intense workouts. 

The secure in-ear fit means no worries about earbuds slipping loose. And with up to 6 hours of battery life per charge, and a quick 20-minute recharge for an extra two hours, your favorite grad can listen as long as they want. 

For college grads wanting premium sound and all-day battery life, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra wireless earbuds are a top choice. You might just find yourself stealing them from time to time. 

Best practical gift for college grads: Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool

Leatherman Skeletool CX Multitool

Not sure what to give your college grad? Gift them something that'll come in handy in a pinch. Something super practical. They'll likely be living on their own or buying a home soon. A multitool is an excellent gift that they don't even know they need.

This tool comes with a variety of use cases, including a carabiner, bottle opener, wire cutter, pliers, knife, bit driver, and more. It's made of steel with a 25-year warranty from Leatherman as well, so you know you're giving a quality tool.

Your grad may not know exactly how this tool will fit into their daily lives at first, but when they happen upon a wire that needs trimming or a package that won't come open, they'll reach for this bad boy and whisper a silent thank you. You'll help them to be prepared for just about any situation. 

Best TV for college grads: Samsung 2024 Frame smart TV

Samsung 65" Class The Frame QLED 4K Smart TV

Your grad likely doesn't have the money for a new TV. That's why you're going to gift them this awesome Samsung smart TV.

This super popular TV doubles as chic wall art for your grad's living space. It looks like it's just a TV, but it's actually a canvas for fine art and much more. It's no slouch when it comes to regular content, though. 

With Quantum Dot technology producing over 1 billion colors and an anti-glare matte finish, the Frame looks stunning whether your grad is streaming a show or displaying artwork. Plus, its slim, lightweight profile mounts flush with the wall for a museum-like look. 

But the real magic is Art Mode. It transforms the TV into a digital canvas that can show off your grad's favorite art or even their photos. It's eye-popping in multiple ways, and now that your grad will be leaving the dorms behind, they'll have a great display of their own to enjoy without having to share with a roommate. 

This is one graduation gift they won't soon forget. 

Best gift for college grads who need more sleep: Sound+Sleep SE sound machine

Sound+Sleep SE Sound Machine

College can be exhausting. If your favorite grad needs some extra shut-eye, encourage them to relax with this sleep sound machine. It can not only coax them into sleep, but also help them maintain a more peaceful slumber. Alternatively, it can be used as a tool to improve focus.

This machine is a major upgrade from a looping YouTube video. It provides 64 non-looping sounds, including rainfall, brown noise, city ambience, and much more, all with four richness options per category. It listens and adapts to the environment it's placed in, responding to changes in sound and adjusting its volume and sound mix on the fly. So if the dog barks loudly, the machine will get louder in an attempt to cover the noise.

Set the timer for 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes, and the machine will turn off automatically as it continues to shape the sound. A thunderstorm might sound different one night from another, and that's what sets this machine apart from the rest. Your grad will love settling down with the comforting sounds from this handy unit and will hopefully get more shut-eye, too. 

Best gift for college grads who want to make memories: Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 instant camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Instant Camera

If your college grad is sentimental, they might like physical reminders of some of their most treasured times. Sure, a smartphone can store all the photos they can snap, but a physical photo hits differently sometimes. Give them a fun and compact camera that can help capture the moment.

This retro-inspired Fujifilm camera prints out miniature 2 x 3-inch instant photos that develop in about 90 seconds. It has a selfie mirror for quick shots and automatic exposure and flash control to curb potential washed-out photos.

It's a quick and easy way for beginners who may never have used a physical camera, or for printed-photo enthusiasts to build up their collection of pictures to proudly display around a home, on a desk, or even a fridge. It's inexpensive and fun to use, and it can help your grad save those memories that'll last a lifetime in a special way. 

Best gift for college grads who need help waking up: Philips SmartSleep wake-up light

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light

Now that they're entering the workforce or striking out on their own, your college grad needs to make sure they're ready for anything. That includes waking up on time. Whether they're heading to a job interview or an important date, help them wake up in a gentle yet effective manner.

The Philips SmartSleep alarm clock uses light to simulate a sunset and sunrise that can help wake your grad in a way that's much less harsh and abrupt than a blaring alarm. It offers a bigger energy boost thanks to the simulated sunlight and works to help improve their mood as the light gradually gets brighter the closer it is to wake-up time.

It has 20 brightness settings and five different wake-up sounds to choose from, as well as an FM radio, snooze function, automatic dimmable display, and bedside-lamp mode to get the most use out of the light. If your grad wants to make sure they're punctual in addition to well-rested, this clock is a great way to get them on the right path.  

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