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14 Cheap Long-Distance Relationship Gifts (to Bring You Closer)

The best, cheap long-distance gift ideas (so you can still afford all those airplane tickets to see each other).

You want to get long-distance relationship gifts that not only rock your love’s world but also bring the two of you closer together, right?

woman on one side opening gifts over computer while boyfriend on, text overlay "best cheap gifts for long distance relationships"

Not to mention, you need some inexpensive ideas (airplane tickets every few months aren't cheap, amiright?).

I totally understand because my husband and I had an LDR for YEARS (we met while I was studying abroad in Japan and he was stationed there).

Psssst: Are you guys a military couple? You’ll definitely want to check out my post on military love letters for him, and my 19 long distance relationship date ideas.

We are now, thankfully, very much in the same time zone (actually, the same house!) with a 3-year-old.

I’m going to take all of my experience dealing with a long-distance relationship and give you the BEST long-distance gift ideas, on any budget.

What Makes a Long-Distance Relationship Gift the Best?

Long-distance relationship gifts need to be a bit different than regular gifts a couple gives one another.

If your gift can do one or more of those things? Well, then you’ll have one happy partner:

  • Keep your relationship growing
  • Provide an experience for the two of you (or at least for one of you)
  • Remind each other of how much you love one another + infuse romance
  • Surprise the person in a way that they didn’t think was possible (in an LDR)

Best Cheap Gifts for Long-Distance Relationships

Taking any chance to show your partner how much you love them is a great idea, especially since they don’t have the satisfaction of seeing you + seeing how much you care for them throughout the day.

These LDR gifts are cheap AND will keep your partner smiling.

1. Love Letters from Historical Long-Distance Couples

Sometimes, you just need to hear from others who have gone the distance in their long-distance relationship. Who have been in the trenches – day in and day out of missing someone, and living life the best you can while they are away.

That's why a collection of love letters can make a great, and inspiring gift to your partner.

You could read these Love Letters from a Sailor Pacific (you need to click the expand icon in the lower righthand of the PDF area) or these love letters between Woody and Better during WW2 in a video, upload the video as “unlisted” on YouTube, and send your partner the link.

Or, you could purchase them a copy of Every Thought of You: A Sailor's Love Letters from the Pacific World War II.

2. Dessert in a Jar

There are lots of companies that now create desserts in jars that can be shipped to all kinds of locations.


3. Long Distance Dating Gear

Listen – the two of you will be spending a lot of time on devices. SO, it’s just smart to gift anything that will make listening to each other and contacting each other more effortless.

I gifted this wireless charger to my husband for his week-long business trips and he absolutely loves it. It charges his phone so much faster, and you can prop it up for those middle-of-call charging needs.

black three-pad wireless charger with iPhone on one of the pads, charging

You might also want to invest in a hands-free solution for phone calls, like this flexible phone mount. You can even wrap it on the edge of your bed so that you can lay in bed and talk late at night together!

Do you like to move around a lot while talking to each other? This device actually tracks your face and swivels, as needed, for another hands-free phone option.

4. Counting the Days Countdown Timer

Anything to help the days go by faster in between trips to see one another is a great LDR gift. Right?

That's where this minimalist clock comes in – each time someone buys their next plane ticket, plug in the date when you'll be together and it'll count down the days until you're in the same physical location again.

5. Two Copies of the Same Book + Free Printables for a Private Book Club

Purchase two copies of a book, and send one to them. Read the book at the same time (say, one chapter a week) so that you are experiencing something together – and you can talk about it in your phone conversations/over email.

Even better? Purchase two copies of a relationship book to read together.

Some of our favorites include:

You could even start a private book club with your spouse (scroll all the way down for free printables), or significant other!

6. Love Morse Code Bracelets

Getting a matching set of Morse code bracelets that say I Love You can be a special identifier for just the two of you.

Think about looking at your wrist throughout the day, and being reminded that someone else wears the same bracelet several timezones away!

7. Steamy Love Promise + A Ghirardelli Square

How about sending your partner several steamy love promises in the mail, with one square Ghirardelli chocolate from this assorted bag in each envelope?

This (free) intimacy love book for him has several notes that will work even for an LDR.

8. Long-Distance Relationship Movies

Some notable ones are Going the Distance, Serendipity, and Atonement.

Virtual Gifts for Long-Distance Relationships

Need cheap, or even free, virtual gifts for your partner? These will deliver.

1. Make a Crossword Puzzle About Your Relationship

You can create your own Crossword puzzle about anything to do with your relationship for free using this tool, and then send the link to your partner to solve.

Like this one I created about the time my husband, Paul, and I met!

crossword puzzle titled "Paul and Amanda Meet"

2. Create a Google Earth Tour of Your Relationship

Chances are, you both have traveled to some interesting places to be together. I know that my husband and I, in those 5 years of long distance, met up in:

  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Japan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Washington D.C.

You could create a Google Map Tour of each of the places you guys have visited together using this neat Google Earth feature. It's like a virtual scrapbook of your relationship they can “tour” anytime they're feeling lonely!

Then just email the tour to them as their virtual gift.

3. Online Experience Tickets to the Same Event

How cool is it that there are now so many online experiences to choose from?

Airbnb has this really impressive list of online experiences that involve a local, professional guide that takes you two on a tour (and the rest of the class).

And the ticket prices? Are pretty good.

You can buy tickets for you and your partner to an experience like:

  • Discover Terracotta Warriors With a Professional Guide
  • Chocolate Origins and Create with a Maker in Jamaica
  • Fun & Games Improv Class for Beginners
  • Make Samosa & Cilantro Chutney From Scratch (India)

4. Upload a Video Message on YouTube

You’ll want to upload your video as “unlisted”, and just provide the specific URL to your loved one. Keep it clean though – you don’t want this to get out at some point!

Long-Distance Anniversary Gift Ideas

Anniversaries are special – whether you get to celebrate them together, or from a distance – and so I've saved some really awesome DIY gifts you can create for your long-distance relationship. These are from your heart to theirs!

1. Anniversary Countdown

I’ve got such a cool idea for your long-distance anniversary gift! It’ll keep them guessing + engaged all day long.

I love how the Dating Divas recently created a set of envelopes, with labels on the outside of each hour that the recipient is supposed to open it.

You can do this same thing, and really keep your loved one guessing! Grab a bunch of different envelopes (maybe 5 is enough for you, maybe 12 – you decide), and write a time on the outside of each one. So, one envelope can say 1:00 p.m., then the next can be 2:00 p.m., all the way to 6:00 p.m. (or, really, any time you’d like to start and finish the showering of gifts!).

Fill in a little gift or clue into each envelope, and then send them all at once in time for your anniversary.

It’s important to give them explicit instructions not to open the overall envelope until your anniversary day! Then, they’ll need to wait for each time slot to open the letters.

Some ideas for how to fill those time slots:

  • Clues: Put one new clue into each envelope as to what their anniversary gift is (something you purchased them, but that doesn’t come in the mail – so, an experience they get a ticket to, or something the two of you will do together when you’re back in the same place, etc.).
  • Love Coupons: Create love coupons for things your loved one gets from you, and put one into each envelope. Suggestions specifically for long-distance relationships include things like a takeout order delivered to their home and paid for by you, a joint yoga session you’ll do at the same time as one another (Yoga with Adriene has awesome, free yoga videos on YouTube), a coupon that lets them decide which movie you guys are going to pick for movie and date night (yes, you can do movie and a date night – one of my favorite long distance date ideas! Though now, you can use the app CYA), etc.
  • Flat(ish) Gifts: Some great flat gifts would be a gorgeous bookmark, a notecard with 10 things you love about them written out, a long-distance relationship pillow case (keep the other one in this set for yourself), a piece of jewelry, a Ghirardelli square of chocolate, the coordinates to somewhere in Google Earth where you’ll be visiting together on your next trip, make them a “mixed tape” of the songs that have meaning in your relationship, etc.

2. Love Emails Binder

red binder opened with tons of emails in it, blurred for the image

This is something that I actually did – and still have, to this day.

One time when I was feeling particularly lonely, I came up with a cool idea: to create a Love Emails Binder! We emailed each other SO much, and since we were gone for months at a time (especially when his ship went underway and emails were all we had), these emails really anchored our relationship.

SO, I started printing out really important ones + romantic ones, hole-punched them, and put them into a binder in chronological order.

What a cool gift not only for my love but also for our kid to read over one day!

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.