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Unique 18th Birthday Gift Ideas

Updated on May 5, 2013

When searching for 18th birthday gift ideas, it's hard to find something that is personalized, unique and special enough for this birthday milestone.

Eighteen is a very significant age. For many teens it means the end of school, choosing a career path, starting at college or university, and of course, becoming an adult.

Most almost-eighteen year olds I know want something really special for their 18th.

Most also can't tell me exactly what that something is!

Here are some suggestions to inspire your imagination and find the gift that your eighteen year old will love.

Personalized Birthday Experience

I often recommend experiences as gifts because they are truly unique and can be tailored exactly to the recipient.

They are particularly good presents for the difficult-to-buy-for person.

For your eighteen year old, why not plan an amazing day or even a weekend?

Depending on your budget, you can make it as simple or as lavish as you want.

For just one example, you could give them a night's stay in a top city hotel. Perhaps throw in a day's pampering, followed by dinner and a concert or show. Or you could plan a day full of adventure doing something wild and exciting, followed by a surprise party.

Consider individual tastes and interests, and then organize accordingly.

Remember, the idea is to create wonderful memories.

Travel Gifts

Lots of eighteen year olds take advantage of having finished school to spend some time travelling.

Travel vouchers and gift cards make great 18th Birthday gift ideas.

Alternatively, if a trip abroad has already been planned, cash in the currency of the countries being visited is a really useful present. Throw in a travel guide or phrase book for an extra thoughtful touch.

Another suggestion is to pay for a short trip somewhere exciting. If your company would be appreciated, you could plan to go too, or you could pay for a friend of the recipient to go. If you're a parent, a bit of co-ordination with other parents could mean that together you give a group of eighteen year old friends a fabulous trip they can all share!

Driving Gifts

Probably the ultimate of 18th Birthday gift ideas is a car.

If that is beyond your budget, or if the eighteen year old already has a car, there are number of other suitable driving related gifts.

Personalized plates are a great idea - they are unique, perfect as a keepsake and also functional and cool!

An advanced or defensive driving course would be a really interesting present, and could also save lives!

An offbeat but practical gift for a boy would be to put together a "camping" kit so that he can comfortably sleep in his car if he's had too much to drink, rather than driving.

Car accessories also make great gifts for a range of budgets - you can get items to suit boys and girls and a diverse range of "personalities".

Moving Away From Home Gifts

Eighteen is an age for many people to move out of home, especially if going to a college or university that isn't local.

Depending on the individual, and the new living arrangements, this opens up a whole range of 18th Birthday gift ideas.

Just a few suggestions could be:

  • Appliances - a good tv or music system would be definitely appreciated.
  • Furniture - a desk or a bookcase are just two possibilities.
  • Decorations - one idea could be an enormous personalized photo frame to display lots of different photos, or you could frame memorabilia from your eighteen year old's life (such as programs, tickets or photos).
  • Bedding - top quality linen or covers.

While practical gifts are sensible, it's also a bonus if you can find something that will be exciting to receive.

Especially For the Girls

A wonderful personalized gift for a girl about to turn eighteen would be some good quality makeup. You could organize a color consultation for her, take her to choose what she really likes, or choose for her. Put it all in a personalized makeup bag for an extra special touch.

Perfume is another perfect gift. Allow her to get some professional advice, experiment with scents and select something just right for her.

There is also something exceptional about diamonds. Diamond jewelry items such as earrings or a necklace make memorable 18th Birthday gift ideas, especially if she has never owned diamonds before. You could personalize the jewelry by having it engraved.

Especially For the Boys

Much as I hate to suggest video games, boys of every age just love them! Enough said.

Depending on your eighteen year old's style, a leather jacket makes a great gift. Let him choose something he thinks is really cool. If he's not into leather, but likes clothes, maybe give him a blazer that he can wear when he needs something a bit more formal to wear.

Electronics, tools (especially multitools!) and the latest gadgets are all good 18th Birthday gift ideas for the guys.

If he doesn't yet have a quality watch, you could have one engraved for him. Or, get him some stylish cufflinks, as he'll probably have formal occasions to wear them to at some stage in the near future.


I hope that these 18th Birthday gift ideas have helped you find the right present.

If you are still stuck, you may find some of these suggestions for sixteen year olds are also suitable for young adults.


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    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      My 18th was a long time ago, but I wish my friends and family had been thinking along these lines. I still collect multitools! Thanks for an enjoyable read full of good suggestions. Voted up and useful.