Items to Take with You when Visiting Friends Abroad Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Items to Take with You when Visiting Friends Abroad

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A suitcase full of holiday items

If you're living in a far corner of the planet, a long way from home, no matter where you are, there will be something from home that you miss. Usually it's friends and family, but more often than not it's those little creature comforts that are sadly absent, the ones that mean 'home'.

Here you'll find lists of items that you can take when visiting your loved ones abroad.


The Land of Plenty has much to offer the world, but its expatriate community miss surprisingly few things while living abroad. Below you'll find a short list of what many miss from home.

  • Koolaid, Lemonaid (not the bubbly kind) or any powdered drink

  • Grape jelly (a jam-like substance)

  • The current season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel which are broadcast in the States before anywhere else. This serves the dual purpose of keeping you from missing half a season's doings, and making you a very popular house guest with British Buffy fans who have American-compatible video players.

  • Kraft cheese dinners, which are easy to prepare pasta dishes


Below is a list of items that people may miss when travelling from one state to another.

  • Local newspapers

  • Larosa's Italian restaurants in the Cincinnati area.

  • Krispy Kreme doughnuts which are making steady progress throughout the States.

United Kingdom

The British are famous for their creature comforts - tea, biscuits, a nice pair of slippers and sensible underwear among many. Below you'll find items that will bring a tear of joy to any Brit living abroad.

  • Any Cadbury's chocolate bar, any chocolate, in fact, but especially Crunchie bars (honeycomb covered in chocolate). Mmmm.

  • Extra mature Cheddar cheese, Cheshire cheese, Wensleydale cheese or Lancashire cheese.

  • HP Brown Sauce. This is a spicy fruit sauce that is just perfect with chips and is the essential ingredient for a bacon butty.

  • Golden Syrup. Treacle isn't the same and there are times when one is feeling truly self-indulgent (sickness etc) and this ambrosia of the English gods is the perfect comforter on cake, in tea or just spooned from the tin.

  • Marmite yeast extract. This is extremely salty and tasty. This is a great one to let your new friends abroad try - thus ensuring the negative image of British cuisine lives on. Great on toast, in stews and gravy. You either love it or hate it - there is simply no middle ground.

  • Custard Cream biscuits are truly divine and are a must for elevenses or any other tea break.

  • PG Tips tea bags

  • Polo mints - the mint with a hole.

  • Branston pickle. This is a sweet and slightly spicy fruit chutney.

  • Thornton's toffee

  • Crumpets

  • Digestive biscuits

  • Crisps

  • Twiglets and Cheesy Wotsits (savoury snacks)

  • Ribena blackcurrant cordial

  • Dundee cakes and shortbread

  • Marks & Spencer's Wine Gums

  • Quorn - the vegetarian substitute for meat.

  • Chemist items such as Lemsip (max strength) or any other over the counter cold remedy, Calpol paracetomol for children and TCP (a multi-purpose liquid antiseptic).

  • Underwear, especially from Marks & Spencer. You may be asked particularly to bring bras with you if you are visiting a country where the women are typically petite and the friend you are visiting is not.

  • Tea kettles

  • Blue Tac. Lots and lots of blue tac. This is the adhesive goo that is used to put posters up on walls and the like.

  • Newspapers, whether they're The Sunday Times with all the supplements or The Free Newspaper, Metro.

  • Magazines of interest to the recipient: Q music magazine or Empire the movie mag, for example.

  • If you want to take presents that are cheap, just record loads of lunchtime comedy off BBC Radio 4. These programmes are not webcast, but The Archers radio soap opera is.

  • Videos of the silly quizzes on TV - there's nothing like those either. Documentaries of interest to the recipient will also be welcome.

  • Seasonal Goodies

  • Cadbury's Creme Eggs

  • Mincemeat (for mincepies)

  • Christmas crackers (cheap ones please, with crap jokes)

  • Christmas puddings


Did you know that some Germans actually miss Hollandaise sauce mix and curry sauce in big squeezy bottles? And that's not all they pine for...

  • Cheap German gin.

  • Hanuta chocolate.

  • Duplo chocolate.

  • Bauernbrot bread.

  • Maggi condiment sauce.

  • Maggi herb/spice mixes (numbers 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10).

  • Hollandaise sauce mix.

  • Jaeger mushroom sauce to make up from the packet.

  • Curry sauce in big squeezy bottles.

  • Gummibärchen are like jelly babies but have no artificial colouring or sweetener. They are cheap and available in all sizes of packet.

  • Magazines and books are certainly welcome. Ask the bookseller to advise on the latest crazes in authors, or look at the Spiegel bestsellers list.

Seasonal Goodies

  • Stollen cake.

  • Spekulatius biscuits

  • Eiskonfekt which is some peculiar sort of 'cold tasting' chocolate.

  • Elephant Bohnen in tomato sauce.


Russian people are unanimous in that they miss decent black bread when they go abroad. It is stronger than British wholemeal, yet not as strong/dense as German black bread. And the stuff that they sell in supermarkets which calls itself Russian black bread is nothing like the real stuff.


Apparently some Swedes develop a craving for Twinings orange and cinnamon flavoured tea when away from the motherland...

The Netherlands

... while the Dutch get all nostalgic over Stroopwafels (caramel waffles to you and me).


Among other things, Koreans miss the following two edibles (we're assuming they're eaten independently of each other...)


Almost all Danish folk miss rugbrød (rye bread) when they're away from home, but did you know that they also miss...

  • Elephant Beer and/or Carlsberg Sort Guld.

  • Red Baron chocolate strips which taste so good on brown bread first thing in the morning.

  • Remoulade (yellow, mixed pickles)

  • Stegte løg (fried onions)

  • Rodbebe (sour-tasting, marinated swede)

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