Most of us love to travel but are we all packing phobic?
The thought of traveling often excites me to the nerves, but when I think of packing, I get too tired even to start the process.
Recently, I was going for a trip to Shanghai China for a business meeting, and I came across a hack to make the process easy.
Trust me; this list makes it all easy. It doesn’t matter whether you are an avid traveler or this is your first time traveling, you can always use a guide.
Today I bring to with this list we are creating here, you will know what to carry from home to China because it’s likely they aren’t there.
Now let’s agree on one thing before you go on the trip know where you are going as China is a big country. There’s a difference if you are visiting say Hong Kong and going to the mountainous regions of Anhui.
Where You Will You Visit?
This is a question you must answer before you begin because it will determine the clothing you take.
China has the largest climatic difference. You should understand though that this country is so large.
Below is the climatic breakdown
For this region, the winters are cold and dry while the summers are hot and humid. When we say cold, we mean way below the freezing point. January is the coldest month of the year so get prepared.
If you fear extreme temperatures, you should visit the region during spring and autumn time. Those two seasons will be a relief.
During summer in this region, you expect monsoon rains. This is to take place between April and September. The rainfall varies in different cities. When going to Hong Kong know that you expect a little bit more rains.
This region, although, classified as the subtropical region of China experiences typhoons between May to December. Hong Kong is the worst when it comes to typhoons.
Do you want sunny days and temperatures? Visit the tropical island of Hainan.
Here you should expect to experience extreme summer and winter days. During summer it’s extremely hot and during winter it’s extremely cold. For tourists, maybe you shouldn’t visit the region between December and March.
Ultimately, if you are going to China as a tourist, you should visit the region in October. This is the time when the temperature is at its best.
So now that you have the temperature breakdown, you can decide on the clothes to carry. However, if you are cutting across regions, you will need to carry different clothes for different regions.
Basic items you need to check on your travel list
In this category, you will need a visa and passport. If you can take the photocopies of the same, the better. Make the scanned copies of the necessary travel documents. This keeps you safe in case you forgot them in the hotel room.
Unlike some countries, China doesn’t offer a visa to you on the day you arrive so you should make arrangements of the same. Visit the consulate for visa application or order through the post.
They will further need to see your itinerary, hotel bookings, and airplane bookings. Alternatively, if you can show a letter of invitation from a Chinese, then you are safe to go through the airport.
- Your passport is essential
Wherever you go or plan to go even within the country, carry your passport along. The passport only covers for a single individual. Each person uses a single passport.
The other most essential document is the air ticket. You will need to buy the ticket from your favorite plane and have it ready. This is the same if you are using a cruise ship. Prepare the ticket.
- Do you have the booking letters for your trip?
Carry the confirmation letter of the trip as earlier stated since it has all the clear information on where you will go and when.
There’s no place where you don’t need to use money. You will need some small amount of money in cash. But if you have credit cards that work for you too. Also, notice that the Chinese only use their currency. Therefore, when you reach the airport change the dollars to Yuan.
Once you are there, you can also keep some money in the WeChat wallet or Alipay. The two platforms are quite popular there.
Based on the weather information above, you should choose the right clothes. If you frequently travel this should be a non-issue.
Remember, the Chinese love to be casually smart. So, carry something casually smart.
Chinese are conservative so ladies don’t wear clothes that are so revealing. Although they don’t question foreigners but try not to be offensive.
Remember to carry respectable clothes even though you may be on vacation. This will help you especially when you intend to go to high end restaurants and big events like weddings.
Are you visiting during summer? Carry along the hats, umbrellas or sunglasses to use.
Here’s a trick I never let go of, always carry a few quick drying clothes. You will find washing machines but you won’t necessarily find driers. That’s why you need the wash and wear kind of clothes
- Carry bikinis if you intend to go to the beach. They are not easily accessible.
- Trousers are a must-have especially if you will go to the temples. They don’t allow even women in dresses to go to the temples.
- Carry your underwears since buying them here may be tricky especially if you are not slim. Chinese ladies are slim.
- Leggings for ladies as they are often easy to dry.
- Jeans is a must as they often go with anything.
- Sundresses aren’t a bad idea, especially during the summer.
- Travel neck pillow: you will travel for many hours so it’s advisable to carry these pillows as they help you to sleep with ease.
- Sunscreen: if you are coming to China during the summer, you need to carry your sunscreen. The problem with most of the sunscreens here is that they also have whitening ingredients. If you don’t need to whiten, carry a small tube.
Always carry comfortable shoes, especially if you have long feet. This is because Chinese people have much smaller sizes.
- You will need an adventure sandal
- Some casual shoes
- Hiking shoes if you are going to hike.
- Boots if you can
- Running shoes for men
- Some heels for ladies
For your hygiene
You may not be familiar with the brands of products used in China for hygiene purposes. So, if you are a bit reserved and love to enjoy your space, carry toiletries.
- Deodorant: we all love personal deodorants, so it’s best to carry the ones you are familiar with as opposed to going for new, unfamiliar ones. This is especially true if you like to use designer deodorants.
- Wipes, tissues and hand sanitizers: you may be from a place where the toilets have these items, but it’s not always available in the toilets here. Just remember to buy them once you are here. They are readily accessible.
- Moisturizers are good: for those humid days and rapid changes in the weather, a moisturizer is a great savior.
- Hand sanitizer is great whenever you need to travel to a new destination. Assuming you won’t find a sink with soap, it means that you won’t wash your hands even after visiting a restroom. Therefore, the hand sanitizer is great at making sure you are still clean.
- Carry tampons: well I’m sure you know tampons are available everywhere. But if you are anyone like me who has sensitive skin, always carry your own.
- Lotions: If you can have them in small packaging, it will be cool to carry yours from home. You shouldn’t have to wake up in the morning and take a shower only to realize you don’t have the lotion.
- Combs and brushes: they help to keep the hair neat.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: your oral hygiene is necessary, especially while on transit. Remember to carry even the floss and mouth wash if you can.
- Keep any other toiletries you may have forgotten.
Carry your medicines
You may experience traveling diarrhea or mild headaches. You should always carry your medicines. They will help you with mild pain.
- Aspirin is great
- Stomach laxatives also work great to help with the different food you eat.
- Small first aid kit to take care of you in case of minor injuries.
- If you have a medical record, carry it along.
- Don’t forget your contact lens or spectacles if you use some.
Some people are tempted to carry a lot of electronics that you may not otherwise use. Carry the essential ones.
Do you like to keep your memories? A good camera is essential because you will capture every moment. You can also use your phone cameras to reduce the luggage.
I only carry my laptop if I’m going for a business meeting and need to use it there. Otherwise, I don’t need more luggage than I already have.
- Carry your unlocked phone
You can use the phone you have back home here. There’s no need to buy a new one. The only thing you will do is buy a prepaid sim card once you are in China. It also has data plan.
Remember your chargers because if you fail to carry the charger then you won’t use the electronics.
If you have one, you may find it useful if you need to collect data. Better yet, you can use it to learn a few words in Mandarin. Have the phrasebook saved in the iPad.
This will help whenever there’s a power outage. It’s often good to have the flashlight, especially if you aren’t going to the major cities.
Other not so important items but necessary ones
Most major cities of China experience massive pollution. This means that the air can be quite a smog. It’s, therefore, normal to see people wearing the masks as they go about their business. Remember to carry one.
This keeps you protected when you are in these cities that experience pollution.
The safest thing to do when you are visiting a different country is to carry an insect repellant. I usually carry along my mosquito repellant to be on the safe side.
I know most parts of China are affected by malaria. You don’t want to get sick while on a trip. Some people use the mosquito repellant wrist band.
As in most other countries, when you visit the country you will have to buy the VPN if you intend to access Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and most other Google sites.
Just remember to buy the VPN that covers China.
- Download WeChat or Alipay
These are the two most common method of mobile commerce and messaging. They cut across the affluent and the average person. Even expats in the area come to the country and download the app for easier communication.
The moment you reach your destination, download the free apps and begin to use it like a local does. It makes communication and transactions way easy. You no longer have to carry cash.
You can purchase the sim card at the airport and literary most other shops. The good thing is that the airtime is affordable.
Go for China Telkom or China Unicom sim cards. The difference, however, is that the sim cards you use here are locked to the region or province you are at. If you wish to use the same sim card outside of the province where you bought it, you are required to pay extra.
- Do you have travel insurance?
Let’s agree on this; whenever I travel anywhere, I often carry my travel insurance. You know why? While countries like China are very safe with low crime rate, you can’t be sure. In case something you didn’t anticipate happens; you might have to part with too much money.
The insurance cover will literary take care of you when emergencies occur.
You see China runs at 220v while your country may run at a different voltage, mostly 110v. You may also have the two prong or three prong plugs, but for it to work you need a light and cheap converter.
While you may not know much about China, the travel guide will help you to reach some of the destinations without asking. I know this can be heavy but I’m not asking you to carry the hard copy rather have the soft copy on your phone. If not make use of your google maps.
It’s hard to carry a large suitcase without the rolling tyres. The rolling suitcase will make the transportation process easy.
Remember the suitcase is already heavy so ensure that it’s still effective.
Don’t forget to carry a day pack. This is because you will leave the suitcase in the hotel room and use the day pack for your movement through the day. Ensure you buy a high-quality day pack.
It should be weatherproof because, in it, you will have your essential documents. Ensure it doesn’t occupy too much space on the suitcase, buy the foldable one.
If you are coming to the country during the summer, make sure you carry a bottle of water. You can buy others even within the cities but having your own will help to keep your hydrated. You could also use it to cleanse your hands in case the toilets have water.
You can find snacks across the streets. I mean this is China where food is readily accessible. In fact, it’s right to say that between five people standing in China towns one is often selling some food.
Still, you ought to carry a few sweets and treats that you are familiar with from home.
- Don’t drink water from the taps
Buy water as they are readily affordable and the tap water is not always safe to use. That’s why you will notice that the locals buy bottled water a lot.
If by any chance you are carrying essential documents, you should keep them in the waterproof case. You never know what may happen so you should ensure they are safe from even the rain.
I know you have a lot of items you would love to carry but remember, the plane can only carry a set amount. Besides, too much luggage is uncomfortable to carry and follow during travel. Also, what’s the big deal? You are only going for a few weeks or days.
- Know the Chinese luggage requirements
There are different requirements for different airlines. If you carry 5 extra Kgs, the airline will charge you for the extra. Also, you are only allowed to carry (44lbs)20kg per bag. Not like other countries like the US where you will carry 50lbs.
It’s normal for you to carry home more than you left with. I mean, you are going to China. Who wouldn’t want to shop there? Your friends expect gifts from you so have some space where you will place the gifts.
Depending on the region you are going to, I assume you know how to dress in the cold as well as in summer. Pack according to the weather. Also, you don’t have to carry too many clothes, after all, you will have the clothes being washed and dried in your hotel room.
When traveling, stay away from light colored clothes. White will easily get stained so leave them home.
Well lucky for you, the Chinese don’t expect tips from you. So, save your money and keep it for use in other needs. Of course, if you are going to highend restaurants though you can tip at your own will.
Do you like jeans? I know you do but you should either minimize them or don’t bring them at all. They occupy a lot of space. Furthermore, if you have to wash them, they won’t dry easily.
- Finding a hospital in China
While the hospitals in China are generally crowded, if you are in major cities you will find hospitals designed for foreigners. They are even having English speaking doctors so find such hospitals in case of emergency.
You can book them once you are in the country and in the hotel room. No need to hustle when still in your own country.
- Make use of your travel guide
They will guide and give you all the information you need in regards to your travel.
What Not to Bring to China
While we encourage you to carry your toiletries, it doesn’t make sense for you to carry all the common toiletries that you can get over the counter. There are lotions, soaps, and perfumes all over. So, unless you are using specific designer ones, you may want to leave them home.
- A big and expensive camera
The problem with cameras like the latest Canon digital SLR camera is that its bulky. Fortunately, these cameras will be everywhere especially if you are going on a vacation. Thus, unless you are a photographer by profession, please do not carry it.
I know you want to feel stylish but it’s not necessary to carry 30 different pieces of clothes when you are only going for a few days or weeks. This will only create unnecessary luggage. When you carry 10 clothes you should be good to go.
You don’t have to struggle to get a train ticket because you will only receive the booking 10 days before the set travel date. Let your hotels organize for the ticket purchases if you need to.
China like any other country, has some items that are prohibited. It’s good to know them so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
- You are allowed to carry money but let it be lower than 20,000 yuan.
- Arms and ammunition aren’t allowed.
- Habit forming drugs like cocaine, heroin and more.
- High value items. If the cost of the item you are bringing into the country is more than 5000RMB, you must declare it.
- Pets aren’t allowed with the exemption of one. You can have either one dog or cat. Other pets are a no. Moreover, you have to declare them to the authority.
How Much Money to Carry
You only need a maximum of $5000 which translates to 20000yuan. If you carry more, they will question you.