It’s hard to avoid brands – even when you travel

When this week’s #FriFotos theme of Brands was initially revealed on Tuesday I did not expect to take part, as I don’t consider myself much of a brand follower.

I would not be able to tell the difference between a Toyota and a Porsche: to be honest I don’t even know if they are very good makes of car at all. I could not explain why a Jimmy Choo shoe is more, or less, desirable than a Manolo Blahnik, I hate wearing clothes with any kind of logo or writing on them, and I honestly cannot understand why anybody would ever pay more than $50 for a handbag.

I think I may lose a friend or two over that last statement.

I have always struggled with money: either I haven’t had it, or I have been saving for travel. This is why I don’t tend to buy branded items apart from when it is unavoidable – like with a car. But to be honest, if Tesco sold an unbranded car at half the price of all the others I would be first in line.

The only real brand that I would always choose over any other is GHD hair straighteners.

But the fact is brands are hard to ignore, because they are – quite literally – everywhere. Especially when you travel.

Perhaps the most recognisable brands to travellers are associated with food. Can you deny that pleasurable feeling when you alight from a long and bumpy bus journey to the sight of the Golden Arches, Pizza Hut, or Subway, like in this picture from St.Petersburg?

Even in Russian the ‘Subway’ logo is recognisable

Or maybe when you find a new, local brand that you know you will miss once you have left that country? This is mojo sauce  – a spicy pepper sauce from the Canary Islands.

Canarian mojo sauces

Although trying out new food is one of the best parts of travel, sometimes you miss your favourite brands from home. Especially when that food is hard to find outside of your own country. Mention Kalles Kaviar to a travelling Swede and you will see what I mean.

Caviar in a tube!

Maybe there are some brands that remind you of long summer days in your home country? Pimms certainly reminds me of a (rare) sunny day in Britain!

Enjoying Pimms in an English country garden.

Maybe when you’re travelling you might want to take certain brands with you that you trust to do the job, such as sunscreen…

Silly Pictures on the Salt Flats of Bolivia

…as in some countries it’s hard to tell if the brand is authorised. Is this garage in Bolivia a real Volvo garage, with a qualified mechanic?

Car troubles in Bolivia?

This taxi in Saigon has taken the brand name and appearance of Vinasun; a reputable taxi company in Vietnam, and changed it to Vina Sum! This taxi will charge you twice as much as the genuine company.

Counterfeit Cab

Despite being an obvious fake, I can’t imagine that popular brand Adidas would be very happy about the sale of these these Bolivian copy-cat t-shirts using their logo and name to promote drug-use.

Adictos T-Shirt, La Paz, Bolivia

What brands do you come across on your travels? Have you seen any copyright infringements of popular brands when you are away from home? Or even at home? I’d love to hear your comments, or if you enjoyed the post then please share 🙂 

Post Author
Runaway Brit


  1. posted by
    Aug 10, 2012 Reply

    Interesting thoughts. I used to be a huge NAME BRAND junkie… I always wanted name brand everything but would make sure it was on clearance before I bought it. Yeah I was crazy but not stupid…lol. It helps that because I have always had to work hard for what I buy I have always been cheap. So it was a win win, but it wasn’t until I got arrested for my DUI that I WOKE UP big time and realized how I wasn’t happy BUYING things and with my current situation and then well started saving for this 2 year trip I’m on and that is when I stopped caring and now that I have been on the road over 17 months… I’ll tell I can care less about brands because that $2 shirt I bought in X country has lasted me just as long as the $20 shirt I bought at home.

    Anyway sorry for the long comment as for your questions… you can’t miss the large brands they are EVERYWHERE. Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Nike, Adidas, Apple, H&M, Starbucks and I could go on and on… and it’s actually scary how much these large brands have taken over the world.
    Jaime recently posted..Al-Azhar Park the “Central Park” of Cairo in photos.

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Aug 12, 2012 Reply

      It’s amazing how long-term travel can totally change your fashion choices isn’t it? As soon as you start weighing up how much those designer jeans cost compared to how far that money would get you while travelling, you start to care less about fancy brands!

      I agree that the large brands have taken over; one of the greatest things about Vietnam was NO McDonalds or Starbucks!

      • posted by
        Aug 12, 2012 Reply

        That is so right… you really start seeing things in TRAVEL MONEY… how far can this go here or there. Oh & that will be interesting to see in Vietnam.
        Jaime recently posted..Daily Travel Budget – May (2012)

        • posted by
          Runaway Brit
          Aug 16, 2012 Reply

          Even though Vietnam prices have increased a lot over the past 5 years, it is still ridiculously cheap! It was a very big shock going from there to Sweden 🙁

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