This will be difficult for us as Americans because we are used to receiving things in a few days and it not costing so much. Shipping packages can be expensive. Everything depends on weight. In my first experience I had a packaged shipped to me. It cost $260 U.S. dollars for a 25 pound package. I was told $250 for 25 lbs. $450 for 50 lbs. and that was with a cargo company. UPS and Fed Ex were twice the amount I quoted.
Here is the problem, TIME. Your package in America usually arrives in a few days. Overseas it could be weeks. It must go through the normal U.S. shipping procedures, customs and finally the shipping procedures for the country you are in. It is a hassle so the best thing to do is stock up (seriously).
When you find out how long you will be at your destination sit down and think about clothes, food, entertainment, personal products and anything else you enjoy or normally need to survive as if you were home. Pack them and make sure you stock up. If you have to pay extra money at the airport for extra bags you will be thankful you did it instead of trying to have it shipped over. If you want to send gifts, there are 2 ways of doing this.
1. Wait till you get back and send them individually.
2. Send all the packages to one address and have the receiver mail them to the specific destinations in America.
In my first experience with shipping, it took 15-20 days for people to receive my packages. I sent them individually and it cost me more. I could have easily had them mailed home and have someone there mail the packages out separately.
Another way to go is to use the "Underground Railroad" system. Find other Americans that live in the country and help each other. We are all one family one way or the other. They can help you just as much as you can help them. The Americans already there may be able to speak the countries language, know where to go, and can help you accomplish things a little better than you can. So when one of you go back home offer to help each other by transporting and sending packages to one another's families and friends. It is safer and cheaper.