When it came to packing for China, I was one of those “better safe than sorry” over packers and brought my whole life with me. And when I say life, I’m referring to the toiletries and clothing accessories a woman thinks she needs that a man thinks are stupid.
When we arrived in Xinxiang, there were some items I was grateful I packed and others I found at every market for nickels. So in an attempt to help future HIST teachers, here’s my list of packing do’s and don’ts:
make up, make up remover and moisturizer
spices such as vanilla and cinnamon
a money belt
a set of locks
a backpack for long trips and a backpack for day trips
shampoo and conditioner
eye contact solution
nail polish and remover
appliances (hair dryers, curling irons)
2 pairs of dress pants
1 dress or skirt
5 dress shirts
comfortable dress shoes
socks and underwear
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair shorts
5 casual shirts
work out clothes/pajamas
comfortable tennis shoes
optional: boots, sandals
If you’re teaching only 4-5 months, you could easily cut this list in half. I haven’t left anything out; don’t fill up your bag with unnecessary items or things you can easily get in China (that will be much cheaper and cuter) like scarves, gloves, hats and heavy coats. I bought my coat in Xinxiang for 100 yuan ($16.50) and layered it with a sweater and was just fine.
If you pack what I listed above, you won’t need anything else. I left most of my clothes in China anyway because they were worn pretty thin; I wouldn’t bring anything you absolutely love – the washers can be pretty rough.