Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Wuhan travel series: Packing

This post is my guide to packing for travel to China, part of a 4 part series.
Links to the other three posts are at the end of this one.
We traveled for adoption from August 14-28th, 2014

China Packing Tips
Adult Meds- 
Yes, amen, bring all the meds. Get a z-Pack or two, some Cipro, Immodium, cold meds, favorite painkillers (OTC and otherwise), allergy meds (including topical if you’re prone to that), the works. Meds do not take up much room and being uncomfortable in a traveling situation is miserable. Take meds out of boxes/bulky bottles but keep instructions with them in snack-sized Ziplocs. Then put all the meds for you (or each member of your family) in a bigger Ziploc. I had a plastic shoebox from the dollar store sitting around so I put the whole shebang along with make-up in there, which made unpacking easy. If you don’t end up needing them, you can get rid of them at the end of your trip and use the space for souvenirs. We donated a bunch to the adoption agency.

Bar Soap- 
A bar of soap can be nice since the hotels generally only offer gels. Obviously this is personal preference, but I hate those smelly gels and it was nice to have a good old bar of Dial (which you might be able to find in country- I didn’t try). 

For a two week trip, I would bring five or six days worth of clothing. You can wash things in the sink and let them dry a couple of days or use one of the cheap laundry services ubiquitous in China. There is also a third option for summer: come back to your room every few hours strip down and hang up your clothes so they can air out. If you're diligent and generous with deodorant, you can totally stretch the clothes to work for two weeks without washing. Bring some workout type clothes, but otherwise bring whatever you are most comfortable in. Also, bring enough skivvies for every day traveling plus three or four.

One additional clothing note: do not I repeat do NOT use a ziploc or similar non-breathing bag for dirty clothes in summer. We had a tee shirt grow MOLD in a matter of days. The heat and particular soup of dampness became a disgusting, staining collection of green spots. It was weird and sad and felt like we were being punished for trying to keep things clean. The horror. 

Comfortable is paramount. If it's summer, you can wear sandals all over so ignore people who were worried about dirty streets unless you are going way out in the boonies. Maybe bring one closed-toe option in case it ends up raining. One thing I wish I had brought was a thin pair of cheap flip-flops. It would have been nice in the hotel with icky carpet, and if the shower had been gross I would have worn them in there, in addition to the pool areas. The nicer hotel ironically gave out slippers. 

Adoption Specific China Packing Tips
Kid Meds- 
In addition to the adult meds above get a lice kit, scabies cream, pinkeye stuff, painkiller, benedryl, anti-fungal cream, nice thick hypoallergenic diaper cream, gentle baby wash/shampoo. Put anything that needs a prescription but isn’t pediatric dose-specific (scabies, pinkeye, etc) in your name if you can. Not only might you need it for yourself in the end (who knows?) but your insurance should cover it, which is not going to happen for your kid until they are in your custody. 

If you’re adopting a young one and are not going somewhere extraordinarily rural, bring only a few diapers from home. We brought a few (like 6- enough for an afternoon after meeting our 18 month old girl) and we paid anywhere from US $10 to US $25 for a big pack of Pampers Sensitive. I saw Huggies as well as Chinese brands. Wipes are also everywhere, and I found the sensitive ones in larger more Western style shops. Diapers are $25 at our Target, so I didn’t think they were that much more expensive at all, something I had been warned about in people’s blogs. Maybe they fluctuate, but to me they were too big a gamble in terms of sizing and luggage space to bother bringing from home.

Diaper Bag-
I was really glad we brought backpacks instead of diaper bags. The kind we brought had several huge pockets and an interior sleeve for laptops in addition to side pockets for bottles of water. Backpacks expand more than diaper bags, are easier to carry, can be hung on the back of a stroller more easily, and go through airport scanners and such without as much worry about the straps getting caught on stuff. They also look nicer and don't make your shoulders/neck hurt from a lopsided load. I would also recommend a safety pouch for your passport, cash & credit cards. I never hid it under my shirt, but it was nice to have in the outside pocket to keep everything tidy.  

If you regularly use an SLR or fancy camera, by all means bring it. Otherwise, clear off your camera and just use the heck out of that. iPhones and similar do a great job. The focus (hahaha- FOCUS!!) will be on helping that new little one. You will be both busier and more helpless than you've been, maybe ever. Take more pictures than you think you'll need. I'm really glad we did.

The rest of my Wuhan travel series:

From Hong Kong to Wuhan

The Wuhan Poly Hotel and Getting to Carrefour

Food and Shopping Near Hongshan Square

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