1. Comfortable walking shoes.
Whether walking the streets of Shanghai or hiking Huangshan Mountain, comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must for your China packing list. Sandals with an ankle strap can also come in handy but shouldn’t be chosen over covered toes and heels if you’re running short on space.
2. Electrical adapters.
Traveling with iPods, laptops, tablets and e-readers often shadow travel plans with an unnecessary security burden, an extra hassle and a few extra pounds. If your plans require them, however, remember that you’ll need an electrical adapter to recharge their batteries.
3. Rain jacket or winter coat.
Pick between a rainproof jacket and heavy winter coat depending on your season of travel, but be sure to take one or the other. Rain is common during summer months in China, and winters can be punishingly cold with heavy snowfall and piercing winds.
4. Hand-washable clothing that dries quickly.
It’s not uncommon to be unable to machine wash your clothes during travel, so it’s important to bring clothes that you can wash by hand and that will dry overnight – especially if your travels take you to less developed areas that tend to dirty clothing much quicker than cities. Wrinkle-proof pieces made from synthetic fabrics are great and are typically more comfortable than other options.
5. Minimal luggage.
In making cuts for what stays and what goes, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to carry all of your luggage at once and probably up several flights of stairs. Don’t plan on using elevators and escalators when traveling to China, as you’re unlikely to find them in subway stations, airports, train stations and even some hotels.
5. Wordless Travel Book.
The language barrier can be one of the most difficult aspects of getting around China. To help reduce the confusion and misunderstandings that can occur, bring a wordless travel book with you. Instead of pantomiming what you want and hoping you’ll be understood, you can point to a picture.