Moving to China Checklist – 2017

china checklist

If you’re moving to China for a year or more, you’d better bring the essentials.

This my updated China Checklist with all the items I would recommend you bring. Note that you will still be able to find some of these items in the country. I just feel that having these things will make your conversion into China life from the West much smoother.

Smart Phone – iPhone, Android, or Windows phone. After you get into the country, you can buy a China Unicom SIM card for local service. I advise you buy a phone before you get to China to cut costs. Before you arrive you can also download the air quality index app from
You’ll be able to monitor pollution levels in your target city.

Understand that using your smart phone in China might not be as simple as I’m describing it here. You could run into compatibility issues and there are other things you need to account for. I recommend you read up on this very good article on the topic.

Subscribe to a VPN – What is a Virtual Private Network? A VPN is a server that allows you to sidestep the Chinese firewall that keeps China’s citizens from accessing foreign-hosted propagators of information such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you want to access these sites you need a VPN service. I have been using StrongVPN since I’ve been in China and it still works for me to this day. Just realize that there will be some days when you simply can’t connect and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

china checklist

3M Dust Masks – Might want to bring along a pack of these for when pollution levels are too high. If you can find more fashionable or comfortable solutions, bring those instead.

Deodorant – You should be able to find deodorant in China, but there doesn’t seem to be very many different kinds of effective antiperspirant. If you have a favorite brand (like a stick antiperspirant), you might want to bring a fair amount, as it only products available in China seem to be roll-ons and sprays.

Laptop or Tablet Computer – Contrary to what some may believe, China isn’t exactly swimming in cheap tech, despite being the place where most of this technology is manufactured. You can get a cheaper, higher-quality computer in the West, so snag a one before you go. Don’t worry about the authorities trying to scope your adult data. They don’t care.

Learn About Bitcoin – To easily send money home, or to withdrawal money from your domestic bank accounts without incurring huge fees, you might want to study up on Bitcoin. Open an account on Coinbase and Local Bitcoins and learn your way around.

china checklist

Floss – Personally I prefer the kind that comes in a roll as opposed to those plastic frames with a length of floss in the prongs. If you’re like me, you might want to bring plenty of your own. I don’t know why rolls of floss are difficult to find in China. It might stem from a cultural aversion to having their fingers in their mouths.

Antacids – Snag a few containers of chewable Tums. You’re gonna need them and you probably won’t find them anywhere in China.

Imodium – You will get the runs in China as your body adjusts to the different microbes. I guarantee it. It doesn’t help that when many foreigners come to the country they gorge themselves on too much alcohol, spicy food, and oily, greasy shit. Do yourself a favor and bring along a few boxes of anti-diarrheal medicine. And drink plenty of water.

Get Your Shots – This isn’t exactly “something to pack” but I still think it warrants mentioning. Before you leave for China, make sure you get vaccinated for possible health risks in the region you’re going to go to. I went to a place called Passport Health where they monitor health information from around the globe and sell you vaccinations for possible illnesses depending on the region.

china checklist

Take note, this service is very expensive. You will be thanking yourself though, once you get to China and the people who didn’t pay for all their shots get deathly ill while you carry on healthy as a horse:

Bring a Wardrobe – Clothes aren’t much less expensive in China and I have found the quality to typically be lacking; pants and jackets fall apart after only a few months. Also, if you’re tall, good luck finding items in your size. To help you think about what kind of clothes you might need, included here is a list of what I believe makes up a complete wardrobe with the essential items you’ll need to live comfortably:

Suit of some kind: Trust me, you’ll want to bring one. You might get approached to be on television or get invited to a banquet with Chinese government officials. I’m not joking.
Peacoat or Trenchcoat: Something you can wear over your suit.
A few pairs of jeans
A windbreaker
A couple pairs of slacks or dress pants
Track pants
Dress shoes
A few ties
Holdall or Briefcase – Don’t want to be walking around with a backpack, do you?
Wife beaters or White T’s
Thermal Underwear – a couple pairs of tops and bottoms
A few button-down shirts
White collared shirt
Boxers or Underwear

And there you have it! Is there anything else you think I should’ve included in this list, but didn’t? Please leave a comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.