Part of travelling involves going to interesting and new places that may or may not have the things you are used to. This can be an adventure, or a source of frustration depending on what it is. For us, we try to prepare as best as possible with our necessities, but there is usually something we forget.
While airport shops will usually carry the basics like toothbrushes and standard toothpaste, what happens if you forget shoes, important snacks, or even a car seat? When you head to Asia in particular, many of the amenities we are used to in Australia are very different. So here are some of the things that are harder to come by if you visit Thailand, China, or other Asian countries.
TIM TAMS - AN AUSSIE FAVOURITE
Yes, these are a family favorite treat. And those chocolate covered chocolate biscuits with wheat flour, sugar, and filled with delightful goodness are not easy to find in Asian countries. You will be lucky if you see them in an international store on occasion. But if you plan to spend time away from home, and these are your favorite, we recommend you put a few packages in your bags for the trip.
Our kids are too big for them, but in some areas, these are very expensive and very hard to come by. For a while, you could only find them in a handful of stores in Thailand because most people travel without them. If you plan to travel with little ones, it’s important to bring the right car seat onto the plane so that you make sure it’s there when you land. They can be a challenge to get in and out of taxis, but for safety, they are worth the hassle. In the event you store it under the plane, you run the risk of it getting lost in transit and not having one when you land. In Asia this is especially challenging because they are less common.
CLOTHES IN YOUR SIZE
Asian sizes are different than in Australia. Unless you go to the shopping malls and large stores, you may not find clothes that fit quite right. People who are very tall struggle a lot to find fitting clothes. Thankfully, there are affordable tailors and other clothes-makers in the different parts of Asia who can make you custom clothes to fit your height or size. If you plan to buy clothes on your trip, be prepared with your measurements to make it easier to find the right sizes for you.
Asian countries don’t tend to eat cheese and other milk products the same way that us Australians do. If you’re looking for milk for breakfast, cheese on your sandwich, and noodles and cheese, you’ll want to look elsewhere. These ingredients are harder to come by and not as common in the local markets. You may find milk products in the bigger grocery stores, but the abundance of cheeses we enjoy here are not available in most locations.
Forget about finding locally-made chocolates like you would in Belgium. These are not specialties in Asia. You’re more likely to find fruit candies and other Asian treats. Some larger stores might carry American chocolates like Hershey’s or Snickers bars. They are as universal as Coca-Cola, but it’ll be very difficult to find all the ingredients for other favorites like chocolate crackle. If you have some chocolate treats you enjoy, it’s best to bring them from home.
You can however stock up on your favourites in duty free when travelling through international airports. Just remember if you are just arriving you might have issues with it melting due to the humid weather.
VEGEMITE - AN AUSSIE STAPLE
In Asia, you’ll be enjoying rice, exotic spices, meats, vegetables, and fruit, but you won’t be enjoying this Australian favorite. We Aussies love vegemite, but it’s hard to come by on the go. When you travel with kids to Asia, good luck finding it. I’m sure there is a restaurant somewhere that has it, but that would be a unique find.
Even though there are some things that are difficult to find in Asia, don’t feel sad. The beautiful history, amazing people, unique cultures, and new food choices more than make up for what they lack. We love to explore Asian countries because they are so interesting and special. Whether we head to the Great Wall or the Taj Mahal, we know we are going to have an exciting adventure and new stories to tell when we get home.