In preparing for my trip (no official word yet) I came across this article about the needs prior to departing and wanted to share it.
You Need to Know This: Getting Ready to Go to China
So you´ve finally made the decision to go to China. You´re so excited, and so are we! It´s time to tackle last obstacle before you get on the plane and start your adventure. As a fellow traveler we know about the fear elicited when beginning the packing and paperwork process, especially somewhere new. So we´ve devised a list of things you need to do and bring on your trip to China.
VISA. You need one!
The best and only way to get a Visa is to visit your local Chinese consulate. The regulations and requirements are different based on your nationality. We recommend that you visit their website before you head down as many consulates have awkward hours. You will also have to be aware of requisites to include with the completed application form such as ID photo and fee payment. The submission of your passport is also required (which must be valid for at least 6 months after entry) so this is not the time for an impromptu beach getaway.
Travel Insurance. It´s a really good idea!
If you are unlucky enough to fall ill or have an accident abroad it could cost you dearly if you are not properly insured. Don´t assume every policy is the same, you need to ensure that the policy you buy covers what you require. Carry your travel insurance documentation with you and keep the 24 hour emergency assistance number and policy number on you at all times.
Talk to your doctor.
Before going travelling consult your physician or local travel clinic. They will be able to tell you if you require any vaccinations depending on your health, immunization history and what areas you will be visiting. Remember to ask your doctor to refill any prescriptions.
Money. Money. Money.
Bring traveller´s cheques, and some cash as credit cards are not universally accepted. While there is access to ATM machines remember that there will be an exchange fee and withdrawal fee from your bank and the ATM bank. It is a good idea to talk with your bank to discuss options. It´s also a good idea to let your credit card company know you will be going out of the country so that they don´t count the activity as suspicious and suspend your card.
While you can find English literature in China it is often a challenge to locate, specifically in smaller cities. That isn´t to say you can´t find it, it´s just that the selection may not inspire excitement. More often than not they have a selection of classics but if you have a particular author or genre in mind bring your own. It´s never fun to be in a new country without Harry Potter.
While there is a wide range of clothing available, size can be an issue. If you are a basketball player or slightly on the husky side you should be sure to pack ample clothing that fits. Although in recent years there has been an increase in availability it can still present a challenge. The same can be said about, shoes, socks and underwear.
Also keep in mind what season you are travelling in. China can get very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.
Nowadays you can get most basic name-brand pharmaceuticals over the counter, so don´t waste precious space in your luggage. It is still a good idea to stock up on the any medications that you take on a regular basis and prescriptions like birth control, asthma inhalers or antibiotics. Remember to bring them in their original prescription container.
Water quality in China is poor and it is recommended that you drink bottled water at all times. If you accidentally brush your teeth with tap water you might develop some “intestinal troubles”. Bringing Pepto Bismol or Immodium chewables is not a bad idea.
All the items you need are available in China but if you are hooked on a particular brand or scent then bring it along.
Laptop, digital camera, iPod, Kindle. You want to recharge all of them but you can´t in China unless you have an adapter. You can get this before you leave at a travel-supply or electronics store. Often the international departure gate sells universal adapters.
Make a list. Check it twice.
It helps. Like a lot. It will help you keep focused, organized and will help you with packing. Check items off as you complete them or as you pack them. This will ensure that not a sock is left behind. Remember things like passport, ID, travel itinerary, tickets, address list.
Whether it be a photograph, your favorite slippers or the stuffed animal you got as a child (we won´t tell anyone) bringing a special item from home can be valuable. It may be the comfort you need when start to feel homesick.
Perhaps some of the most important items to bring with you. An open mind and curious disposition.