Buying groceries and cooking while we’re overseas is going to be interesting. Many nomads give up cooking for the sake of the journey, but we refuse to. Cooking saves too much money, is too delicious, and is too rewarding to leave behind.

We’re already having to leave our nice pots and pans behind – I couldn’t bear to leave behind all our herbs and spices too. To keep from having to buy spices in every city we arrive in (that’s bound to be expensive), we’re just going to take our favorites with us!

I believe this is something anyone can do to make travel cooking a little easier, so I’m going to show you how.

Things To Consider

Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve come across in my research about traveling internationally with herbs and spices that we’ll be putting to use in a couple months.

Dry Herbs Are Typically Fine

Since dry herbs and spices are no longer alive, most countries allow you to bring them in and out without any problem. One of the only countries to raise eyebrows is the USA. It seems that people who declare their herbs and spices at customs avoid some unnecessary probing, so we’ll probably do that.

Traveling with fresh herbs, however, is almost a guaranteed disaster.


We’re going to be storing our dried herbs and spices in small plastic vials that once held Sudden Coffee, an innovative instant coffee that’s actually pretty good. I’ve also seen people store them in Tick Tack containers, tiny mason jars, and weekly pill boxes. Since we’re going carry-on only, we’ll stick with the little vials.


Herbs and spices must absolutely be labeled in English. If they’re not, how are border officials going to know what the ingredients are? Simple labels seem to solve this possible predicament, according to what I’m seeing online.


When it’s time to refill one of our ingredients, we’ll simply buy more. We may be able to bring the entire refill, depending on the size of the container. However, I would say it’s pretty likely that we’ll just leave whaterver doesn’t fit in the vials for whoever stays next at that accomodation.

The 7 Herbs And Spices We’re Bringing Traveling

Basil – Oh man. I love the herbaceous flavor and cooling feel of basil. The first few meals I ever cooked were loaded up with basil because it was the only herb I really knew about. I don’t use exclusively anymore, but it does make its way onto quite a few of our dishes.

Rosemary – The tea-like and piney flavor of rosemary compliments all realms of meat. I wouldn’t leave home without rosemary if my life depended on it. Actually, I would. But you get the point.

Cayenne Pepper – Adding a thin layer of spice is a fantastic way to add depth and diversity to a variety of dishes. It doesn’t work with everything, but we’ll probably end up using it more and more since we’ll have a limited spice arsenal overseas.

Garlic Powder – Yes, I know very well that freshly chopped garlic is way better than garlic powder. But frankly, I don’t know if we’ll always have garlic available to us. Either way, garlic salt is a quick way to add that realm of flavor.

Ginger – It’s nearly impossible for me to make any kind of Asian food without throwing in some ginger. I love it. I love the warmth, the spice. It’ll be the bridge to Asian food while we’re abroad. Hopefully we’ll be able to find soy sauce to go along with it, but that’ll have to wait till we’re there.

Sage – Sage reminds me of a warm, refreshing Wintery stew on a cold, overcast day. But it also reminds me of gentle, floral chicken breasts with rice and zucchini. Oh no. I hope they have zucchini in Bulgaria!!

Oregano – The bittersweet spiciness is not something I’m willing to compromise on. How else am I going to make pizza?? Let’s just hope it doesn’t get mistaken for marijuana (they look strikingly similar).

It’s such a relief to know that we’ll be able to cook flavorful food without having to buy the same herbs and spices over and over again. I can’t wait to get them loaded up and packed up. We fly away in July!

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