It’s hard to imagine daily life in a far-away country like China, especially if you have never been to Asia before. This might cause some difficulty when packing your suitcase. But not to worry, this blogpost will tell you the 8 essentials you’ll need for your trip abroad.

1. Backpack

Let’s start with one of the basics. A sturdy backpack is essential! You’ll need it for all the day trips you’ll be making or even for a weekend trip exploring all that China has to offer. There are plenty of shops that sell bags in China, but if you want to guarantee you have a high-quality bag for a fair price I suggest you buy one before you come to China.

2. Medicine

China might be famous for its extensive knowledge of medicine, but it can be a hassle finding the right medication. I once tried explaining to the lady at the pharmacy that I needed medicine to prevent altitude sickness, she nodded so I thought she understood what I needed, but when I translated the name of the medicine in Pleco, the word jellyfish popped up. I don’t know if my poor Chinese was to blame or whether they simply didn’t have the right medicine, but it is recommended to bring your own little pharmacy with you. This way you always have the medicine that works for you.

3. Personal Hygiene

No, they don’t smell and Chinese people have perfectly good hygiene, but always bring plenty of deodorant. They do sell it, but it’s just ridiculously overpriced and they might not have the smell you want.

And ladies, bring tampons! Sanitary pads are still the go to for women in China, but tampons are becoming more popular. While you’ll occasionally be able to find them in foreign markets they can still be a bit difficult to find if you’re not living in a big city or ridiculously expensive. We’d suggest stocking up on tampons during your time here.

4. Power Adapter

The next one is simple, but practical. Bring a power adapter. Chinese sockets might be different than the ones you have in your country. It would be really inconvenient if your phone runs out of battery after the first day and you have no way of charging it.

5. Cosmetics

Buying cosmetics in China can be tricky. The quality of cosmetics is often doubtful and some creams or body lotions contain a whitening ingredient intended to whiten your skin, which is not a desired effect for the average foreigner. When it comes to applying face products or using facewash you want to know you have the best products for your face. Especially with regards to the air pollution in Chinese cities, we can’t be too careful with our skin. Best to bring your skincare products from home.

Also, don’t forget sunscreen! Chinese people don’t like to get a suntan so they cover themselves up or avoid the sun altogether. Plus, many of the lotions and creams here don’t contain any SPF in them. If you do end up finding anything with SPF in it, it’ll probably be imported and thus more expensive.

When it comes to shampoo and hair styling products you have to keep in mind that most Chinese people have thick straight hair. If you have curly, light-coloured or dyed hair it’s safest to bring your own hair products. If you’re not that picky with your hair there’s no need to bring it from home, there are plenty of proper imported and local shampoo brands available in China.

And for the men, growing facial hair is not a very popular phenomenon in China, so you might have difficulty finding a proper aftershave or the smell that you like. It’s wise to bring enough of this from home.

6. Clothes

I mean, don’t pack an excessive amount of clothes. Believe it or not, they have shops here.  Even if you don’t fancy the Chinese style of dress there is plenty of choice. Just go to H&M and Pull&Bear or any of the other western clothing stores China has to offer. But if you don’t have the standard Asian sized body or if you are just a tad taller than the average Chinese person you might have trouble finding tops that fit you or jeans that are long enough to cover your ankles as well. Don’t forget about shoes either, Chinese people generally have small feet. If you have slightly larger feet you may have trouble finding shoes that fit since the shops only sell up to a certain size.

And girls, definitely bring bras. Asian women generally have smaller boobs, if you have a bigger size you won’t find any bras your size and if you have a smaller size you will be left with a choice of heavily padded bras.

7. Imported Foods

You know that craving for a certain type of food, especially when you can’t get your hands on it? Whatever it is, sweets, chocolates or proper cheese that they only sell in your country, if you’re going to China for a longer period of time, it is advisable to bring some with you. You might not be able to bring enough to last your entire stay, but at least it could help you satisfy those cravings for the moments you really need it.

8. Books

If you’re a bookworm or if you like to read the occasional book make sure to bring a few. There won’t be a lot of choice once you’re here. Either they don’t sell books in your language or you’ll have to choose from one small bookshelf and it’ll probably be expensive too.

We hope this article was helpful in your preparations for your journey to China.

Looking for more China travel tips? Check out our previous articles on 7 Ways to Save Money in China If You’re a Student and Top Scams in China to Watch Out For.

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