U.S. shopping list

We recently returned from a whirlwind summer trip to the U.S. Here’s a quick packing list of things you may or may not have considered bringing back to Deutschland with you:

1. Peanut butter – I’m obsessed, and always have been. This is a pretty obvious one for anyone living in Europe, but I felt it worth including anyway.

2. Ibuprofen – They have it here, of course – for about 1 euro per pill. This was by far the most-requested item for me to bring back to Germany. I think that my 500-tablet bottle cost about $8 at CVS.

3. Melatonin – Helps sleeping happen, and it’s illegal to sell it in Germany

4. Yarn – Okay, so this was perhaps not the best use of luggage space. But the deals in the U.S. are just so GOOD! I ordered all of the yarn I need to make Christmas presents galore during the upcoming fall. As with a lot of things, there are just a lot more options available in the U.S., with more competitive prices.

5. Outlet converters – We don’t have nearly enough in the apartment to lead our comfortable and overly-connected life. If I want to charge my toothbrush, I have to remember to bring the charger back before the computer dies. I haven’t found anywhere in Bielefeld that sells American->Germany converters, so please share if you know of a place!

6. Face wipes – Be grossed out if you want, but I need these. Often.


I’m sure I could think of more things if given the time. What did I forget? Is there anything that you can’t live without from your home country?

11 responses to “U.S. shopping list

  1. Curious, why peanut butter? I have no trouble finding “pinda kaas” here in the Netherlands. Do they really not sell peanut butter in Germany?

    I am WITH YOU on the ibuprofen thing. I brought over the biggest bottle of Advil I could find… 500 count or something nuts like that.

    I would add normal stick deodorant to this list. Everything I can find over here for a normal price (read: in the drugstores) are those gross rolling ball deodorants and I don’t know about you, but I do not like wet armpits.

    • Yes! Deodorant! Good call. I didn’t realize until I was back in the U.S. that I hadn’t even seen any “normal” deo in Germany. Isn’t part of the point of deodorant to keep the wet armpits at bay?

      The regular peanut butter here is pretty nasty – a tasteless paste, which I bought out of desperation at one point early on. Apparently I could get natural PB at a biomarkt that would be like, well, natural PB in the U.S. It’s less that they don’t have it and more that what’s here just isn’t like the stuff back at home 🙂 What’s PB in the Netherlands like?

      • I haven’t noticed any difference between the peanut butters. But we buy the chunky kind, with the bits of real peanut. Also, I love that they call it “Peanut Cheese” over here. So there’s that.

  2. I am with you on the peanut butter, melatonin, and ibuprofen! It’s interesting that melatonin is illegal in Germany. My stash lasted 10 months, so I never searched for it in Hungary. Do you have Media Marts/Markets? They may only be Central/Eastern Europe. But they have awesome plug adapters that were better than the ones we brought from the U.S.

    • We actually do have a Media Markt! It is somewhere not in the middle of town, so I haven’t visited it yet. That may be my next stop when I get some time and a desire to get hopelessly lost on the tram. The other big media store that we have here is Saturn and they definitely don’t have what we’re looking for. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I just got back from the US and I was sure to buy: stick deoderant, real Sudafed (the kind you have to show your driver’s license to buy), Tylenol PM, gluten free pasta (for my celiac daughter), and children’s books, which are very expensive here in Hong Kong. When living in mainland China, I also used to bring back boxes of Tampax tampons (I can’t abide OB–the only brand available then).

    • Is there not much of a gluten-free market in Hong Kong? Apparently it has gotten much better here in Bielefeld over the past few years, but it was non-existent before that! And that’s surprising that specifically children’s books are so expensive. Any idea why?

      • You can buy loads of gluten free foods in HK, you just have to pay twice as much for it! And all English books are on the pricey side, so for example, a book that would cost $6 in the US costs $10 here. I get around this by buying my own books via the US Amazon site on Kindle. But kids need real books…

  4. I’m going to England soon. I’ll be bringing back Lemsip (if you can get anything similar here I haven’t found it yet and I’ve been here 6 years!), Bisto gravy granules and Paxo stuffing mix. Usually I buy lots of unhealthy stuff as well (our crisps are just so much more INTERESTING than the German ones!) but I’m trying to eat healthily at the moment so that’s out this time.

  5. Yes, sprinkling paprika on everything and calling it “Hungarian-style” does get a little old. I don’t really eat chips and we don’t eat that much junk food in general, but it makes me crave Doritos just because I want more choice! Not sure if you have those in England as well.

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