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What to pack for trip to China

Updated on April 9, 2008

Before you go

1. Check the weather. This article focuses on traveling to Yunnan Province, which is in southwest China. It is known for its spring-like weather year-round. The temperature drops down to 40-50F in the evening and early mornings. During the day, it can go up to 70-80F. The best thing to do is to bring layers that you can put on or take off throughout the day.

2. Determine the purpose of your trip. Are you going for business only? Will you mix in some personal travel? Will you do any hiking or long walks? This will help you decide what to bring as appropriate attire.

3. How long is your trip? This packing list is for one week of travel in China without having to do laundry.

4. PACK LIGHT. It's ok to wear a shirt more than once, the Chinese do it, they won't notice! Just shower everyday and use deodorant.


Standard everyday:

  • 1 pair of Jeans
  • 1 pair of khaki or other comfortable pants
  • 3 short sleeve tops
  • 2 long sleeve tops
  • 1 cardigan or light sweater or fleece (for layering)

  • light jacket (preferably wind and water resistant)
  • socks (plan for # days plus 2 extra)
  • underwear (plan for # of days plus 2 extra)
  • PJ's (T-shirt and shorts)
  • no need to bring slippers, provided in every hotel room we stayed in

For more formal occasions:

  • 1 dress (for women)
  • 1 blazer or jacket (for men and women)
  • 1 slacks (for men)

Shoes and accessories

  • 1 pair of dressier shoes that go with everything, ex: black black flats or low heels (women)
  • 1 pair of dress shoes (men)
  • 1 pair of walking shoes or sneakers
  • 1 evening bag (women)
  • 1 pashmina or other type of wrap, so useful for layering and you can use it when you go out to dinner (for women)
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • cheap watch (you don't want to worry about losing something valuable while you're traveling)
  • same goes for jewelry, keep it to costume jewlery or one statement piece that can dress up any outfit, ex. silver banglet or necklace

  • backpack or messenger bag for walking around and shopping
  • laundry bag

Other equipment

  • camera
  • camera charger
  • camcorder
  • camcorder charger
  • AC adapter (220 volts)
  • calculator for money exchange (it gets tiring when you have to divide by 7 constantly)
  • cell phone (if it has GSM)
  • cell phone charger

Medicine and toiletries (checked-in luggage)

  • Pepto Bismo chewable tablets (so useful!)
  • Immodium AD pills

  • Vitamins
  • extra pair of contact lenses
  • deodorant
  • makeup
  • soap, shampoo and conditioner (if you prefer to bring your own, rather than use the hotel's)
  • moisturizer with SPF

  • contact lenses and saline solution (bring an extra pair of contact lenses just in case)
  • nail clipper
  • Bring several packs of pocket tissues. Buy more as soon as you get to China. 99% of the time, there is no toilet paper in the bathroom, even in restaurants. You must carry a pack with you at all times!
  • Moist wipes or Purell. More often than not, there is no soap or even water in the bathroom.

Medicines and toiletries (carry-on luggage)

  • Important medication (must arry-on in case of lost luggage)
  • tooth brush and paste
  • face cleanser (the travel wipe kind are handy)
  • eye drops
  • Tylenol or Advil
  • ear plugs (there is ALWAYS a crying baby or loud snorer on the plane)
  • pocket tissues (remember, must-have at all times!)
  • small hair brush
  • a few essential makeup items

  • glasses and protective case

Food and Entertainment

  • China guide book
  • Reading book
  • iPod
  • snacks (I brought some protein and granola bars with me and they came in handy when I didn't like the food or just wanted a quick healthy snack)
  • Do not drink the water in China. Every hotel provides bottled water for free, use that even for brushing your teeth. Buy bottled water, or boil your own using the electric water heater found in every hotel room.

Gifts for hosts


  • A picture table book about your city or state
  • Vitamins from Costco or Vitamin Shoppe (they trust vitamins manufactured in American more than their own, with good reason)
  • American ginseng or ginseng vitamin
  • Cosmetic, ex: Estee Lauder, Clinique, Dior, Shiseido, Shu Uemura, etc.)


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      Yunnan tour 8 years ago

      Travel to Yunnan.