Don’t Go to China WITHOUT Packing These Items [Internships, Gap Year & Learn Chinese participants]
In our last article, we discussed things to consider when packing for your China trip, but what exactly do you need for China? What will you regret not packing? What can you not find in stores? And what is not worth buying (imported) in China? These decisions are essential to making your learn Chinese in China Program very successful at least for the first few days.
Your identification card and Passport
You can’t fly to China without a passport, but that’s not all you need. Before you leave, you should make a color photocopy of your passport information page and have it laminated. You would do well to make a copy of your visa page as well. The China Internship Program Participants may need to provide a form of identification in order to secure pass into working premise on the first day.
If you have an identification card, it’s a good idea to bring it in the event that you’re ever asked to prove your identity with two forms of identity. A credit card or bank card might do as well.
Adapters or Plugs
China uses the same electricity voltage as Europe, 220 V, but the plugs are different. Europe’s rounded two-prong plugs will not fit into the Chinese wall plugs. China’s plugs have three prongs, none of which are round. You might be able to find extension cords that are compatible, but perhaps not in the first few days. Not all hotels have adapters either.
If you’re from the US where the voltage is 110V, you might want to rethink whether it’s necessary to bring any electronic devices that cannot automatically change the voltage (e.g. laptops can).
There are converter plugs available in any supermarket or you ay purchase those online before coming to China. This allows you to use any gadget without any problem
Cosmetics and makeup
The price of cosmetics, especially if you have a specific brand that you use, can be expensive in China. Bring enough cosmetics, from face creams to mascara, to last you for your entire China stay.
Many expats will tell you that they stock up on body scrubs, body lotions, and various hair products abroad. Hair products, such as heat protectors, leave-in conditioners, and UV protectors are very difficult to find in local stores so be sure to pack what you need!
Hygiene products, such as razors, shaving cream, and deodorant sticks can be difficult to find in China. Many brands and types that foreigners are used to using can only be purchased at import stores, which may or may not be convenient for you depending on which city you choose, and where in that city you end up living.
If you can find them, you can be sure that they will be more expensive than back home.
Regardless of which city you choose, there will be days that are smoggier than what you’re accustomed to, and that’s when you’ll see the need for a pollution mask.
Since there are reusable masks that don’t require filters, such as vogmask, and masks that do require filters, such as respro, it’s good to do research and try them on back home before your China trip.
Once in China, you can buy disposable masks at any convenience store of any large city. However, don’t count on finding pollution masks in a store if you’re traveling or in a smaller city. Large cities also have reusable masks for sale at import stores and online.
Do not come to China without renminbi (RMB) already exchanged. Exchange money at a local bank prior to your trip, and avoid airport money exchanges if you can. Airport money exchanges overcharge you and have poor exchange rates. You also never know if you need money upon arrival.
Whether you’re meeting someone who will pick you up, or you’re about to find your own hotel, you will need the names and addresses of your destination. If you are to be picked up, you may rely on them to have your name on a printed piece of paper, but try to have their name printed on a piece of paper too just n case. Have all addresses and phone numbers, both in Chinese and English, printed on paper in the event that your electronic devices run out of power.