Monday, June 26, 2006

Things to PACK- TIPS

From a couple different blogs(forgot to save the link, they posted these items as part of "THE LIST"....

-Lots of clothes for the baby (kids are messy eaters – plan for at least 2-3 shirts /day)
- Some Canadian diapers. The Chinese ones are fine for the day, but the Canadian ones are more absorbent and better for overnight + the plane ride home
- Baby carrier (we had a sling and a Bjorn and used both)
- Small gift bags and tissue paper (was handy for gifts for guides + other people in our group…birthdays, thank-yous etc.). This is completely separate from the ‘group gifts’ that will be organized for your group.
- The exact amount of underwear (this is personal thing. Getting laundry done is easy, but I don’t like sending out my undies, nor do I like washing them in the sink)
- bar of laundry soap (Even if you do laundry, you can’t keep up with the kid’s mess. I washed some of her stuff in the sink)
- Baby meds We didn’t use anything but Advil/Dimetapp, but other people made use of our baby Gravol, Pedialyte, Tempra etc. Lots of people ran out, so bring larger size bottles.
- Laptop and webcam. This was essential for communicating with folks back home, and of course, blogging. Interestingly, the computer’s most frequent use was for downloading photos. We downloaded ours every day (as insurance so we didn’t lose any + had space on the card in the camera), and at least 5 or 6 other families in our group borrowed our computer to do the same thing and burn their photos on to a CD. Face it – you will be trapped in your room for afternoon nap for about 2 hours every day – you might as well do email….
- Thank-you notes. We brought a box and this came in handy for the guides, and other unexpected situations.
- Layers. Bring a couple light sweaters. The planes are freezing and the A/C in the hotels can get pretty chilly too. Especially bring sweaters for the baby – they are used to being bundled up.
- Feeding gear. We brought 2 bottles with disposable liners (this was perfect) + 6 nipples (not enough) + a plastic container that holds formula for 3 feedings (a MUST have) + a thermos (another MUST have). Would have liked to have a few more nipples because it takes a while to get the size of the hole just right. We completely trashed 3 (hole too big) and then had to do more washing than I would have liked.
- Gear to clean the feeding gear. I had packed the Cheerios/Baby MumMums in a square Tupperware container and this turned out to be a Godsend. It became our ‘sink’ for washing and sterilizing bottle stuff. Don’t forget dish soap!
- Cheerios (Nutrios actually) and Baby MumMum crackers. Both were a huge hit.
- Immodium (‘nuff said)
- Ziploc bags All 3 sizes. They are a traveler’s best friend!

*** forgot to add the 2 most important things (aside from Ziplocs)
#1 travel size Kleenex (LOTS) Toilet paper is not widely available
#2 Purell (2-3 small bottles because 1 will always be missing)

Things I wish we’d packed:

- Flashlight (it is hard to find stuff in the middle of the night when your kid is screaming but you don’t want to turn on the lights for fear of fully waking her up)
- A little bit of Canadian formula
- $USD in $20s (useful for tips for bus drivers and guides. All we had were $1s and $100s…you can see the problem there)
- More hot weather clothes, especially shirts (i.e. cool max running-type stuff). We underestimated the heat. If you are in southern China you will sweat like you have never sweated before. Bring breathable everything, and lots of shirts so you can change a couple times a day.
- More Canadiana stuff to give away…We had pins, pencils etc, but often wished we had something slightly more high-end.
- More bibs – we only had 2 and since one was always AWOL in our room somewhere, a couple extra would have been nice.
- More baby spoons. We took 3 and lost 2 of them. Charlotte, of course, refused to use them, but they are a great distraction during the meal.

Things we could have left at home:

-Traveler’s cheques. They are a pain to cash. I would bring more USD and use the bank machines there for the rest. OK – maybe bring some as emergency back-up – but they really are a pain.
- Peanut butter and other snacks (take some stuff for on the plane, but that is all you really need. There are lots of corner stores + the hotels all have shops to buy snacks. This is not a 3rd world country. Snack foods are readily available if you are in a big city.
- Work out stuff (Was I nuts to think that I would have time to go to the gym in the hotel? Yes, I was)
- All long-sleeved shirts (it is so friggin’ hot these are unnecessary)
- Jeans (again, never took them out of the suitcase because it was too hot)

Things we didn’t use but other people did:

- Sippy cups (Charlotte had never seen one and had no idea how to use one. NOW – other people found them quite useful. Probably a good idea to bring one)
- Gravol (adult)
- Feeding bowl with lid (Since Charlotte hated congee and all things runny, we never used it)

Things I wish we’d done before we left:
- Call VISA (yep, we forgot to do this and they tracked us down in Beijing to ask what the heck was going on. Luckily we spoke to them before they cut us off…)

Gear to get when you are there:

- A phone card. It is the cheapest way to make local and long distance calls. Our guide got these for us.
- Baby formula + extra to bring back (we brought one can, but I’m wishing we had more….)
- A stroller (why pack it when you can buy?

More to come

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