A Complete Guide to Packing for Your Trip to China

Packing for a trip to China can be a daunting task. You may be touring many different parts of the country, you may need clothes for different seasons, different occasions. The biggest mistake you'll make is over-packing. There's nothing worse than packing a bunch of things you don't touch for the two weeks you're in China and ending up with no room in your suitcase for any of the amazing treasures you find along the way.

Here are guides to packing from different angles and for different types of trips in China. Used together, these guides to packing should help you maximize space in your suitcase, eliminate items that you probably will not be needing and understanding what it is you actually do need.

  • 01 of 09

    How to Create a Destination-Specific Packing List

    Young woman at subway station
    ••• BJI/Blue Jean Images/Getty Images

    From countryside to city, desert to mountain, you might find yourself in a number of temperatures, various weather and differing needs. Start out your packing by taking a step back and writing up a specific packing list for your trip. Every time I take a trip in China, I follow these steps to create a specific list for my destination in China.

  • 02 of 09
    ••• Chinese tourists make sure they have no exposure to the desert sun in Gansu. © 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    This what-to-wear guide gives you tips on what kind of clothing to bring to China. Often I find my visitors have over-packed, bringing clothes that they'll never use and not bringing the very things they do need.

    The rule is to pack plenty of different layers. The other is to depend on doing a bit of laundry. Following these two rules will make your packing easy and make choosing your clothes even easier.

  • 03 of 09
    ••• A man drags his suitcase over the bumpy cobblestones in the old quarter, Lijiang. Photo by Sara Naumann. All rights reserved.

    This important packing guide gives you a list of what you absolutely should bring with you on your trip to China. I update this periodically as the availability of items does indeed change. But you certainly can't depend on finding many of these items once you have landed, and anyway, do you want to be spending valuable sightseeing time trying to find the vitamins you forgot to pack?

  • 04 of 09
    ••• Carrying my three-year-old on the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall. © 2013 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    This packing guide gives you the run-down on what's available for babies and kids and helps you decide what to bring from home and what to pick up once you're here.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    ••• Photo: Photodisc / Getty Images.

    I always travel with a small first-aid kit and I recommend it for China travel so you don't spend (or waste) precious time trying to find these items in shops during your holiday.

  • 06 of 09
    ••• Nearly sunset in Huangshan. © 2013 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    If you'll be going hiking or trekking, especially if it will be overnight, there are some things you'll want to have with you. And it will be nice to know what's typically available on the mountain.


  • 07 of 09
    ••• US computer plug and adapter. © 2009 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Hotels usually have these but it's best to have them with you. Read all about what you'll need to know in the adapter, wall plug, electric current department.

  • 08 of 09
    ••• Dogs on every street corner. Lijiang. Photo by Sara Naumann. All rights reserved.

    Thinking of stowing Fido in your gorgeous oversized handbag to add that extra flair to your around-Shanghai wardrobe? Think again. Bringing your pet to China isn't advisable unless you're planning on staying a long time...

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Here's some information on using your phone in China.