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The Top 8 Things You'll Need When Going to China

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About three years ago, I moved to China to teach English. Figuring out what to pack for an entire year abroad was hard enough, but having China as the destination made it even worse. China is an interesting place, one that is drastically different from the U.S, making the necessities in my suitcase different than what I thought they would be. I wish I had read an article like this before heading off to China because if I did, I would have been a whole lot more prepared. So, if you are planning to move to China, here are 8 things that you will most definitely need.

Mini Tissue Packs

This is something that most people would NEVER think of before moving to China but actually one of the most important. Most public restrooms won't supply toilet paper, (I know! Sounds crazy right?) as people are just expected to bring their own. While you can buy these once you arrive in China, there is a good chance that you will need them right from the moment you arrive in the airport.


Standing for a virtual private network, a VPN is essential to purchase before heading to China. While it's not something that you can physically pack in your suitcase, a VPN can be purchased online and then used on your smart phone and computer. China blocks many western websites like Facebook and Netflix, so a VPN allows you to access these sites even though you are within the country's borders. Even if you are watching your shows and find that you need Netflix VPN error fix, there are plenty of resources online that can help you out with problems to get it working again.

Skin Products

While you can purchase skin care products in China, most, if not all of them will contain skin whitener. It's not necessarily a bad thing but if you like the tan "summer look," you may not want to intentionally whiten your skin. Chinese people like the lighter skin look so that's why so many of their products contain this.

Reading Books

If you want some reading material for your down or travel time in China, make sure to bring either a Kindle or a couple of your own books from home. Finding English language reading material is not as easy as you would think.

Non-perishable Food Items

There aren't too many western grocery stores in China, and depending on where you live, there might not be any at all. If you like mayonnaise that isn't sweet, ketchup the way that you've known it since you were a kid or any specialty items that are non-perishable, you may want to throw them in your suitcase because there is a good probability that you won't be able to find them.


For all of you ladies out there who use tampons, please stock up on them before heading to China. Most Chinese women don't use them and while you sometimes (literally, SOMETIMES) may find tampons in the store, they usually won't have applicators and are not quality brands.


Since many Chinese people don't even use deodorant, they seem to be scarcely stocked in the stores. And, if you do happen to get your hands on some, they typically aren't as powerful when it comes to stopping sweat and odor as the brands you may be used to at home.


OK, obviously you are going to bring clothes to China but make sure to really think through what you are bringing. In general, Chinese people are small and it can be really difficult to find western sizes once you arrive in the country. Things like bras, bathing suits, large shoe sizes and bigger pant sizes can be a nightmare to obtain in China.

All set?! If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments below.