Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tips for travelers

I know there are several people following along from China Adopt Talk that may be traveling soon.  Here are some things I’m really glad I found out about before we came.

1) Even if you don’t plan on blogging, get a VPN.  We met an American women here who wasn’t even able to get on Yahoo to email her family. She had no idea China blocked such sites and had never heard of a VPN. I downloaded two so I had a backup.  I’m really glad I did because I can’t get GoTrusted to work here in Beijing, but ExpressVPN is working perfectly.  BTW, Skype is working without a VPN.
2) Here are things I’ve packed that I probably never would have even thought about if somebody hadn’t mentioned it to me.
a. Room spray!!! (there is cigarette smoke EVERYWHERE in China, including your non-smoking rooms)
b. Febreeze . . .  my clothes are thanking me!
c. Clothes pins and small travel size packets of laundry detergent.  I’ve already washed a bunch of socks and things.  The shower in our hotel has a retractable clothes line.
d. Tupperware containers containing American snacks.  I put the snack into zip-lock bags within the containers.  Then we can use the containers to wash clothes.
e. Anti-Bacterial Dish soap and plastic silverware.  We also use the containers to eat oatmeal and other things within our room and then wash them using the boiled water in the hot-pot provided in the room.
f. Office supplies- stapler (I used this to close the packet of laundry detergent), pens, white out, paper-clips and alligator type clips, red envelopes to tip your guides and drivers
g. A complete pharmacy with medications for every ailment you might have.
h. I wont name anything else right now, but I have an extensive packing list I can share with you if you want it :0)
i. A US dollar to Chinese RMB conversion chart sheet cheat.  I made mine off of the internet and it’s been awesome to just pull it out of my pocket and see how much things cost in a form of currency that I am familiar with.
j. Bring lots of Zip-Lock bags in a variety of sizes.  We’ve been using them for a variety of things including to cover the water faucets to remember not to brush our teeth with that water.
k. Bring lots of extra toothbrushes so you can throw them away if you forget and rinse your toothbrush under the faucet.  (BTW, our hotel does provide toothbrushes, combs, lotion, shampoo, soap, and even a shower cap.  But, I’m not sure if all the hotels we’re staying at will provide all those things.)
3)  Download Skype on your computer and get Skype credit.  Even if you don’t plan on video Skypeing with your family you can call anybody’s home or cell phone and it’s only about 2.3 cents a minute.  We’ve been able to talk to the boys twice a day everyday we’ve been here and it’s only cost us about $2 so far!  The person you’re calling does not need to have Skype in order for this to work!


Kristina said...

Great tips Cara!!! Where are you staying in Beijing? All is this is helpful, as we will be leaving on the 15th for China!
Best wishes for a wonderful trip & gotcha day!!!

Deidra said...

I linked over from the forum. I would love a copy of your packing list! My email is Thanks so much! I have no idea where to start.

Michelle Britton said...

I did the same thing linked over too. Want to copy it!

Thanks Michelle

Michelle Britton said...

I linked over too and would love a Whenever you have time.


K said...

I, too, would love a copy of your packing list!
Your tips are outstanding!
Have a wonderful & memorable trip!
Thanks for sharing...!

Melissa said...

Hi, we're leaving for China in 2 weeks and I have been searching for packing lists. Would love a copy of yours. my email is

I've enjoyed following your journey. Your daughter is adorable!

Amanda said...

May I please have a copy of your packing list? Thanks!!!