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finishedwith5
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Question for recent travelers
« on: September 03, 2012, 09:07:20 AM »

Recent travelers- is there any thing you really wish you had brought but didn't, or anything you brought and really didn't need?  I'm finishing up packing and I think I have just what I need but not too much.     We are adopting a 26 month old and traveling with 10 and 12 year olds.
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lilibee
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 02:20:17 PM »

Bring more hand sanitizer than you think you will need - we went through it like crazy during our trip this summer (and we are not germaphobes...people who were really freaked out by sanitation ran through their supplies like greased lightening!).  Remember to pack it in ziplock bags - air pressurization in the airplane can cause hand sanitizer to expand and leak. 

Also, baby wipes were our friends - we used them all the time and not just for the usual purpose (we went back to China with our 8 year old for a vacation).  They were great if you felt sticky or wanted to wash your hands without access to a bathroom or sink.

You can probably get away with fewer clothes than you think. We went carry-on-only for our trip this summer - brought about 4 mix/match outfits for each person.  Laundry is cheap (ask your guide to arrange outside the hotel) and that leaves you with more room for any souvenirs you might find necessary to bring home.   

Don't skimp on your medicine packages.  Make sure you take more than enough pepto...there were people we traveled with who ran out.  I purchased enough pepto for each family member to take 2 prophylactically after each meal (and then 1 more bottle of tablets just in case).  3 meals a day, 2 pills per person, 3 people traveling - it was a lot of pepto.  And we used our last tablets on our flight home - the "extra" bottle was used up from helping those in our group who ran out.  We didn't get sick on our trip. 

My doctor also suggested a homeopathic regimen of grapefruit seed extract and ginger root pills for travel sickness.  We took one of those each morning and as I said before, we were one of the few people on our trip who didn't ever get a tummy upset.  My husband was skeptical of the regimen before we started - he now swears by it.  Whole Foods carries both kinds of pills.

If anyone suffers from motion sickness, Bonine is a great thing to pack.  Again - we took one each morning and never got motion sickness - no matter how crazy the driving was.  Less side effects than dramamine.

TAKE TRAVEL TOILET TISSUE or MINI PACKS OF KLEENEX!  I was surprised by how many bathroom breaks involved squattie potties (with no western style toilet available) and how few bathrooms in China carry toilet paper.  Again, we were prepared but many people in our group were not and you will not want to have to tell someone traveling with you that you aren't willing to help them out if they don't have toilet tissue.  We made sure we had 2 mini packs of kleenex with us each day, along with hand sanitizer and travel baby wipes (you don't want to haul around a full pack of those).

You really won't need to bring any food with you, however on the suggestion of a friend I took a couple of packs of instant oatmeal with us just in case someone woke up jet lagged and hungry during those first few days.  We used maybe 2 single serve packs of oatmeal the whole trip (we brought 6 packs).  If you are a coffee addict - buy the starbuck Vias.  You will not easily find coffee, and it is super easy to make the Vias in your room.  We took enough for coffee every morning. 

Hope these tips were helpful - have a wonderful trip!
Ziploc bags (quart size).  We used those for all sort of things - pack a box. 
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a5barton
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2012, 05:11:34 PM »

great suggestions. 
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mdmom70
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 08:57:12 PM »

Our daughter wound up in the hospital so I would definitely recommend packing extra food like granola bars to have on hand.  They were a lifesaver in the hospital and in the hotel room when it was difficult to get out. 
Our daughter is also 26 months and in 2010 we also brought home a 26 month old.  I would take a bottle, sipper cup, and some straws, a few disposable spoons, and some formula.  With that age it's good to be prepared for both a "baby" and a "toddler". 
Take some toys that you don't mind losing.  If you drop a Happy Meal Toy somewhere gross, it's no big deal to leave it.  Goodwill is a great place to watch for disposable "treasures". 
Laundry is not terribly expensive, but not always convenient.  I would take some laundry detergent. 
Extra Walmart bags take little room and don't weigh much.  They come in handy for dirty laundry, padding treasures, etc.
Best Wishes!
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grtlyblesd
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2012, 09:39:26 PM »

I took scissors (checked bag, of course) and was glad I did. It was COLD in Beijing, but warm in GZ, and I ended up hacking the sleeves off my shirt--much better!

I'd second the little kleenex packs and the wipes, but we didn't go through much hand sanitizer. And we only took pepto on an as needed basis, needed a few, not many. I was glad to have nyquil tabs when I felt yucky to ensure a good nights sleep.

If you get travel sick, ask your doc about scapalomine.  they last 3 days. Dramamine makes me act either comatose or inebriated, this was a great alternative.

I had a gallon ziplock with snacks in it, and I was glad to have familiar foods handy a few times.

Our dd was 3.5, and we took Avent bottle/sippy cups. By day, we used the cup spouts, by night we used a nipple for her bedtime bottle. We took 2 and lost one in the crush of the panda house in GZ.  Never seen a crowd like that in my life. There was no question of going back to search for it, lol.

I got by with 2 pr jeans and a skirt and 6 tops, plus about 8 outfits for dd. That was plenty.

One thing I brought that I shouldn't have: frame backpack carrier. Never used it, took up a TON of room in the suitcase. I have a much more compact soft carrier, and even that, we only used once. I hope to use it more next time, as our little one will be about a year younger and lighter, lol.

I've seen duct tape on many packing lists, and while dh convinced me that we wouldn't need it, I think with scissors on hand, I could tuck a couple sheets of the paper sized duct tape they're selling now. It wouldn't take any space at all to pack, and we'd have it Just In Case.
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Shecki
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2012, 10:47:27 PM »

Ask people who have traveled to your province and have stayed at the same hotels. Our laundry was VERY expensive at most of the hotels, and I had just enough clothes. If it's going to be hot, you may go thru them quicker. bring kiddie snacks.

Yes to hand sanitizer and Kleenex. I could have used more ziplock bags.

Our son was 23 months and we used both sippies and the bottle (we still do a night time bottle). Be prepared for anything. A 22 month old in our group was only on formula! They could have used a small thermos when they were out and needed to feed him.
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Jen_in_NH
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 10:28:50 AM »

We adopted our son earlier this spring, when he was 26 months old.  We packed everything in Ziploc bags, so that made sure we had plenty of Ziplocs. We also wrapped our water bottles in layers of duct tape, so we would have plenty of that. We brought quite a bit of snacks, and probably had more than we need, but we thought it would be safer as our older son is diabetic, and we wanted things on hand that we knew the carbohydrates exactly.

Everyone had suggested laundry soap to do laundry in the room. We did it once, and decided we would just pay to have laundry done. Trying to dry clothes was just a disaster in the humidity.  We had also brought a bunch of meds that people suggested, and never needed any of it. I think if you're someone who has an iron stomach at home, then planning for tons of nausea meds and such is overkill. Definitely have some, but we brought way too much.

I had brought sippy cups, diapers, and clothes for our son. We ended up having to buy sippies there, as he was particular about only using ones with straws. We had to buy some clothes, as he was even smaller than we had been told. The diapers were too big as well, but we made do with what we had.

The one thing we didn't bring that we needed was triple antibiotic cream. It's not over the counter in China, and we ended up borrowing it from another family we travelled with when my husband fell and skinned his entire lower leg.

Another thing to check on - ask some people who have travelled to your province what you need for gifts. Our agency told us to bring 10 gifts. We needed 2. We ended up leaving everything for the hotel staff rather than carry it, as it added a bunch of weight. I would have loved to know ahead of time that I didn't need to spend then money on stuff, and take up space packing it all.

Honestly though, most everything you might forget, you can buy in China.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 08:45:09 AM »

Definitely agree with the travel kleenex packs-lots. Also suggest some small scented plastic garbage bags in case you have to put anything smelly in the trash in the room it helps keep the smell down. (We got these at the dollar store-75 for a dollar and takes up next to no space). Laundry was very expensive in our son's province too, so we actually wished we had brought a few more clothes. We did have to wash some in the room so I would take the small pouches of laundry detergent just in case. We did not take much food, and didn't really need any cause our guide took us to Wal Mart the first day we were there to get water and snacks.
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CyndiLou
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2012, 08:58:48 PM »

Mini packs of Kleenex. Wiped noses, hands, used as TP. Always in my pocket (even now) Look at the dollar store. I think it was 8 pks for $1 & the quality was as good as brand name.

Snacks were handy a few times we couldn't leave the room or too tired to eat much. Something substantial. We took packs of instant oatmeal & individual pouches of trail mix. The day we traveled to Guangzhou from DS's province we left our hotel in Wuhan at 8 am & arrived at hotel in GZ after 8 pm. Ate lunch at the Airport. Dinner was oatmeal & trailmix.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2012, 09:23:55 PM »

 Congratulations!
DD was also 26 mos. We brought some little toy keys and stacking cups which she used a lot .
  The guide brought our group to Walmart and we got an umbrella stroller and shoes for DD there. We broke the ice with DD (who was shy at first) with Cheerios.
Best wishes.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 07:41:57 AM »

Oh yes-stacking cups like Hope said! DS loved those, and he could play with them in the bathtub as well.
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Leah Sweet
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 11:13:56 AM »

I feel like I WAY under packed compared to these lists. We brought a few hand sanitizes...adn they were all confiscated. We brought virtually no kleenex, no TP, etc. We had some wipes, no snacks, clothing (I brought WAY too much clothing for DD but of course I could not help myself...) and only a couple of toys. Unless you are going somewhere remote, I personally don't recommend all of the extra bathroom/sanitary/linen stuff. Again, though, if you are somewhere more remote, that is a whole other story. And food? There were plenty of Americanized snacks if you needed them - we stuck with local foods. But we DID bring an entire medicine cabinet. I was ready for any and everything and was so glad about that. We needed NONE of it. But I had it, and was so very glad I did.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 02:28:41 PM »

You don't need to pack toilet paper.  Just take one of the spare rolls from the hotel.  It works for kleenex, etc.  Other than some medications, you can get everything you really need in China.  We are planning on packing MUCH less this time around.  Extra ziplock bags, though, are always handy.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2012, 02:34:04 PM »

More wipes then you think you will need. We brought 140 and ran out. Our daughter reacted to the new foods with many more diaper changes. We bought some in China but they were not as nice as he ones here at home.
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Re: Question for recent travelers
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 03:49:16 PM »

Overall, I was pretty happy with my packing.  We used most of what we took and didn?t really want for much while we were there.  We only did laundry once, in GZ.  I wore everything I brought at least once.  I could have gotten by with less, but I?m a little high maintenance like that.  I did leave all of my hair stuff at home and wore ponytails/buns most of the trip.  It was hot and humid and I did not want my hair down on my neck. 
We packed a little bit of snack food ? not much.  Just enough to get us to China and to have some initial snacks for the baby?s first couple of days with us.  I thought about packing some more food since it seemed to be on everyone?s packing list, but I?m glad I went with my gut ? we would not have used it.  There were a few things I was particularly glad to have: 
All sizes of plastic bags ? trust me, you can?t have enough.  I did have enough but I was rationing myself at the end. 
Downy wrinkle release ? I took a trial sized bottle and it was nice to have ? the first two hotels we stayed in did not have an iron available to us. 
Individual packets of Wet Ones and purse sized Kleenex.  These were so easy to tuck in my bag/backpack for quick cleanups on the go.  I was especially thankful for the Wet Ones once we got Zack! 
Tupperware ? I had 2 ?flat out? bowls.  We used them to take dry items from the breakfast buffet/happy hour for snacks later on.  They also doubled as tub toys!
Air Freshener ? a friend who?d recently traveled gave me a package of Yankee Candle ?car jars? for our trip.  I took them, not really understanding why she?d given them to me.  2 of our hotels had funny smells in the room.
I also agree not to scrimp on your medicines.  I did not need much, but the smog REALLY bothered my throat.  I had a supply of throat drops and I was really glad that I did. 
Swim caps ? we had to have them in province and while we could have gotten them fairly easily, it was nice that we didn?t have to scramble when we wanted to go swimming. 
Wish I?d had ?
A laptop.  We took only a tablet and I found it hard to blog or send any more than a one liner email on the little tablet keyboard. 
More cash.  We took $2K but did more shopping than we?d anticipated.  Fortunately, we were able to use the ATM in GZ. 
Did not need ?
All of the toys we took.  We could have easily gotten by with a few leggos, stacking cups, toy cell phone and a blow up beach ball.  Cheap toys are readily available in China if that small bit doesn?t meet your needs. 
Again, I was pretty happy with my level of preparation ? it worked for us.  There were a lot of packing lists that I saw that had small kitchens?lots of foods to eat in the hotel and cleaning supplies.  We left that off.  We took 3 suitcases an 2 backpacks.  One of the suitcase had our ergo carrier, Zack?s toys in a small carryon (repeat, too many toys) and our gifts.  Once we got him, most of that stuff was out of the suitcase and this left room to pack the things we?d bought on the trip.  Our suitcases were packed tight on the way back but we made it. 
Good luck!!
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