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Best Things to Bring!

There has been a discussion on homeland travel group about the "Best things I brought to China" and also "What I wish I had brought". So, we decided to pose that question to members of our recent travel groups and share some of the collective highlights. We hope it informs and assist future families in planning!

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Best things:

  1. Small rolls of travel toilet-paper (like what they sell for campers).
  2. Nylon laundry bag that folded up really tiny into its own pouch and then served to collect laundry during the trip.
  3. Travel space bags (the Ziploc bags that have an air release valve at the bottom to vacuum seal)
  4. Empty Ziploc baggies of various sizes (to organize and store smaller items, and to prevent leaks from toiletries)
  5. Extra memory card for my camera.
  6. Protein bars and healthy kid snacks
  7. Handmade money conversion chart from Yuan to dollars and dollars to Yuan (used this every day!)
  8. Pharmacy stuff for various conditions or problems – didn’t use most of it but was glad we brought it!
  9. Small containers of hand sanitizer (used a lot)
  10. Swimsuits for hotel pools (we had also brought bathing caps as we were told we would need them for      some swim places but did not end up being asked to wear them anywhere)
  11. lightweight/compact rain ponchos (only needed once but definitely needed it then!)
  12. PacSafe fanny pack (used every day and felt secure with it)

Things I wish I had brought

  1. A backpack or tote bag. I was trying to “pack light” and I only imagined needing to carry my wallet, toilet-paper, hand sanitizer, and camera. I forgot that I would need to carry bottled water, snacks, and my journal, which required a bigger bag than my fanny pack.
  2. Lightweight umbrella to use as a parasol. You can easily purchase these in China if you don’t bring one.
  3. Sun hats – my daughter won’t wear one, but I probably should have brought one for myself. An umbrella/parasol is the other alternative.  

    Cathy G

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Best things:

  1. Ex Officio/REI/Royal Robbins easy-to-wash shirts, skirts, and underwear.
    It made doing laundry in the bathroom and drying in the room very easy.

  2. Small rolls of toilet paper. Yes, yes, yes!! Also, snatching every extra
    pack of those little napkins that restaurants in southern China give was a great
    way to then carry TP around!

  3. Cipro and Zithromax--so none of us suffered much. Go back to item 2!

  4. Hand sanitizer/wet ones antibacterial wipes.

  5. Swimsuits (we had to buy bathing caps in Nanchang for the pool there,
    which we will likely never use again, but they weren't exorbitantly priced)

  6. Photo album for the orphanage and Ellen's foster family.

  7. Laptop. Even though there were times I had to lug it around, I liked
    having the ethernet connection in the room so I could easily and quickly upload
    pictures to my blog, and also having it to write on when I was on the train,
    etc. so that I could then just copy from a Word document into the blog once I
    got to the hotel. It let me stay up on the blog and also to check facts easily
    when I needed to because I could get on line.

  8. iPad. A great accessory for traveling with a kid and for showing videos
    to orphanage people and foster family.

  9. Little note pads and pens for each member of the family. Came in handy
    for getting addresses, etc..

  10. Extension cord to use with the adapter (got that idea from the Homeland
    Travel China website) and it let us charge many items with just one adapter.

  11. Extra clothes line to hang up in the room in order to dry clothes.
What I wish I had brought:

  1. More red envelopes from home. We were able to buy some before we needed
    them, but it was one more thing to worry about once I realized I needed more.

  2. More little gifts to give to kids -- stickers, little sketch books and
    pens, t-shirts, etc. We had interactions with more children than I expected --
    the granddaughter at our B&B in Hu County, grandchildren of Ellen's foster
    parents, etc., not to mention other kids in that village. I was sorry I had
    nothing for Ellen to give them. Ellen did give the first little girl her own
    sketchbook and colored pencils, but it would have been nice to have special
    gifts for them.

  3. More gifts to give to adults. Even though we had the red envelopes, it
    would have been nice to have some "adult" gifts -- polo shirts, etc..  -- that we
    could have given on the spur of the moment.

  4. One of those little battery operated fans. Cathy's daughter had one and
    it was heavenly!

  5. Jibbigo Mandarin translation app. The whole thing loads on your iPad, so you
    don't need internet access. Then, you just type in and it translates. How
    great would THAT have been -- like at the gate to go home when no one spoke
    English and they were trying to move my husband from the middle seat between
    Ellen and I and were going to put a stranger between us!)


    Kristen
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Best Things:

At or near the top of my list was a power strip that I got from Magellan that works at all voltages. I only needed one adaptor to plug in three things to charge at the same time. It has a USB port too, if you need to plug a laptop in.

Also, since we had our iPad that has no USB port, we programmed an Airport Express to plug the hotel's ethernet cord into (other families did this as well.) Then you have your own little wifi hotspot in your room, and you can use more than one device at a time.

Ellen

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Best Things:


A clothesline, laundry soap, and quick dry clothes.

I also found that those lightweight, sun protection Ex Officio long sleeve button up shirts (men and women) with roll up sleeves and big chest pockets was the most comfortable shirt I brought along. It dried quickly, reflected the sun fairly well, had good ventilation. Worked better than any t-shirt or short sleeve shirt I brought. I dreaded spending the money, even on sale they are $$. I got the one with Insect Shield so I'm also finding I use it a lot at home for gardening and hikes and keeps the mosquitoes away.

Susan

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