A deployed husband misses many of the items found at home.

What to Buy Your Husband When He's Overseas on Deployment

by Eliza Martinez

Having a husband overseas presents many hardships, especially if you have kids at home. Not only are you raising your kids without his physical presence, but you're also responsible for making sure your husband has everything he needs while he's gone. There are restrictions on what soldiers are allowed to receive while deployed and having a firm grip on what you can and can't send is important for ensuring that your husband gets what he needs in a timely manner.

1. Food and Treats

On an overseas base, your husband has access to food and he likely gets prepared meals, too. However, if you want to mail him snacks or treats he can only get at home, it's possible to get them to him overseas. Check with your husband before sending a care package, because some locations in different countries don't allow certain items, such as pork products or items in glass jars. Canned goods and home-baked items might also be restricted. Instead, send packaged items such as energy bars, powdered drink mixes, beef jerky, foil pouches of tuna or chicken, cookies, cereal, trail mix, nuts and fruit snacks, suggests the Give 2 the Troops website, give2thetroops.org. Avoid chocolate, which can melt during shipping.

2. Paper Items

Paper doesn't weigh much and it lies flat, so it's ideal for sending overseas to your husband. It means you can ship him current issues of his favorite magazines or order him a new subscription. You can also send envelopes with photos of your family and life at home. This creates the opportunity for your husband to stay connected with your kids' events and he can watch them grow while he's away. Notebooks for writing letters, drawing or journaling is another good idea for passing the time overseas. Additionally, paperback books are ideal for reading and sharing with other soldiers, as reading helps prevent boredom when there's a lull in the action.

3. Toiletries

While your husband probably has access to the basic hygiene necessities on base, sending him extras or preferred brands will help him feel more comfortable while he's away. Many places restrict hotel samples, so choose full-sized or trial-sized items from your local drug store instead. Sunscreen is vital if your husband is in the desert, but extra deodorant, shampoo and skin lotion helps too. Pain relievers, vitamins, eye drops, a comb and lip balm are other items he'll be happy to have on hand. Band-aids and baby wipes are other things your husband will find a good use for.

4. Extras

Many soldiers overseas have K-9 companions, so sending dog treats, toys and food is helpful if your husband works with a dog. Small toys and hard candies are ideal if your husband encounters small children near his base, because he can hand them out to curb the kids' fear of U.S. soldiers. Small hand-held games are fun for your husband during his down time and board games are a top request by many soldiers. Look for travel versions, which take up less space and can be played in small areas. DVDs of his favorite movies and newspapers from home are other items your husband is probably missing while he's away.

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