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Top ten things to bring to LA when you move

I thought I’d put it out there on the Australians in LA Facebook group: what are the Top Ten Things to Bring to LA when you move (or come over for a while).

Auditions are well and truly on for pilot season so there’s an influx of people coming to LA, crashing on mates’ couches trying to score auditions and get a piece of the action: hoping to score a role and then hoping like hell that their show will not only get picked up but that it will be a huge hit.

The responses surprised me. I didn’t get a top ten–I got 40 different responses–such a wide variety of things.  So instead of a top ten I have a top six. And a collection of people’s suggestions for things to bring over with you!

Top five six things many people agree you should bring to LA when you move

1.   Papaw cream
2=  Vegemite
2=  Gravox
3=  Bread (read: good fresh Aussie bread)
3=  Napisan
3=  Ventolin

It’s a little surprising to see papaw cream above vegemite but it is incredible stuff. If you don’t know what papaw cream is it “has anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties” (source website). It can be used for everything like nappyrash, cracked lips and sunburn.  It’s definitely a must-have.

You don’t need to go to Australia to get it, it is actually sold in many places here including Australian fashion store Aust. in Venice and (of course) Amazon.

We should also talk about bread.  One carb I find easy to give up here is bread because it’s so bloody bad.  I don’t know why it has to be so sweet and a loaf of (supermarket-bought) bread here lasts weeks.  God only knows what preservatives are in that loaf.  And bakeries just don’t exist. You can buy nice bread at Le Pain de Quotidien and thankfully we have Eataly now baking beautiful fresh bread but a nice loaf of fresh white bread aka Brumbies or Baker’s Delight forget it. That includes crumpets–sometimes I even bring crumpets back with us!

Good tips

It’s interesting to see everyone’s different priorities.  Some think medicinal, others lollies and snacks from home and others sports stuff.  Among the long list of things people are bringing over there are some great ideas and tips for you.

Medicinal supplies

Even with insurance medicine can be expensive here.  Ventolin for people with asthma seems to be a top priority as is Panadol (especially kids Panadol), worming medication (it’s not at all common here!) and the Pill. One person said, “The Pill 12 months supply ahead $47.00 total at chemist warehouse LA $34.00 a month plus seeing Dr in Australia–Medicare bulk-billed free in LA $60.00.”

Panadeine was another popular one as it’s more difficult to get here–and apparently is set to be on prescription at home!  We like to bring Voltaren too.

And while you can get allergy medication here someone said they’ll always bring their Telfast.

(If you’re travelling the other way friends always ask us for Sudafed 12. You’ll need your California Drivers’ Licence to get it over the counter but it’s stronger than the over-the-counter ones back home now.)

A few people said they go to the Doctor–much cheaper going in Australia even if you can’t present your Medicare card and pay the full scheduled fee.

And while not medicinal per se, many like to bring back some Tea Tree Oil and/or Dettol–I couldn’t agree more!


Let’s face it American lollies are so different from Australian ones (even the chocolate) so it’s not surprising that a number of people listed their favourite lollies as must-takes when they come here.

The popular ones are Caramello Koalas, Freddo Frogs, Cadbury’s and the ultimate: Violet Crumble. We throw in Party Mix and musk sticks too.  Malteasers, Clinkers and sour lollies, bananas (the lolly variety) and snakes (again the lolly variety) are also highly rated.


And, while potato chips are very common here Aussies in LA seem to miss their fave flavours like Honey Soy Chicken and their fave brands like Red Rock Deli. And who could forget Twisties, Burger Rings or Cheezels?

Pantry staples

It’s tough when you move countries, you’re used to products and brands that you cook with and struggle to find equivalents here.  Here are some staple items Aussies here in LA like to bring back with them.

  • Honey
  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Golden Syrup
  • Custard Powder
  • Chicken Salt
  • Cup-A-Soups
  • Cordial

Some said Milo but I’ve found you can buy Milo from Asia grocers so we tend not to bother. (My daughter thinks Australia Milo isn’t as sweet as the version in the Asian shops and I’m not sure if this is a myth or true).

And while not a pantry staple, it is a stationary staple and you can’t get Blu Tac here so that also goes on the list.

Sporting gear

Given there is no such thing as an AFL ball here and the Americans don’t play cricket it didn’t come as much of a surprise that these two items featured more than a few times on people’s bring back list. One person said a Socceroos scarf and we have been known to buy Wallabies merch.


Maybe it’s just a given but no one said Tim Tams.  And given our love of coffee–and the quality of coffee here in the US–I’m surprised more people didn’t say coffee.  Although, one person did say they’d bring their Moccona!  That’s instant coffee to you Americans.

And, not to be trivialised one person said you can’t forget to bring Melbourne Bitter back with you.

What are the top ten things we bring to LA everytime we come home? We have a long list and each time we go I print it out highlighting the urgent stuff and crossing out the things we don’t need this trip.

Here’s the list, you can custom it for your needs. You’re welcome!

Australian Shopping List

xx It Started in LA xx

PS: If you are coming into town, anything on my list will be just fine ;).

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