The Phalen Packing List (For Homecoming Tour)

·       Backpack (for carrying larger amounts), Money belt (for security) and Fanny Pack (easy access).

·       Books, magazines, toys To pass time on the plane ride and late nights.

·       Calculator Vendors in cities have them, but handy in outlying areas or to do your own calculations.

·       Cameras and extra memory card and chargers.  USB cable if you plan to email or blog photos.

·       Clothes, parents and kids  - 5 or 6 shirts and 3 - 5 pants/capris each; hats.

·       Credit cards, major (not Discover)

·       English/Chinese Phrase book.  I recommend “Essential Chinese for Travelers” by Fan Zhilong, available at Amazon.com (my full review of the book is listed there).

·       Dish soap, a small container of anti-bacterial dish soap.

·       Hand sanitizer

·       Electrical adapter.  A full set of outlet/plug converters.  Electricity is 220 volts/50 cycles.

·       First Aid/Medical Kit

1.        Immodium for diarrhea,

2.        Cipro for anything very bad that comes along (including serious diarrhea),

3.        Insect repellent,

4.        Benydryl  (liquid and cream),

5.        Sunblock ,

6.        Tylenol, aspirin/ibuprofen/etc. (Excedrin Fast Tabs are handy – no water needed),

7.        Pepto-Bismol tablets,

8.        Antibiotic ointment and liquid,

9.        Syringes: You may not need to use them (we didn’t twice), but take a few along in case you do,

10.     Sterile Tongue Depressors,

11.     Gatorade powder,

12.     Bandages,

13.     Thermometer,

14.     Cold Medicine, for adults and child

15.     Surgical face masks

16.     Proof of H1N1 vaccine

·         Flashlight with batteries packed separately in your luggage for airport security purposes.

·         Foodstuffs In major cities you can find most items, e.g. Diet Coke, KitKats, Pringles (try the curry ones - wish they had those in the States), even Dove ice cream bars! But sometimes you just don’t want to go foraging so take a small supply of quick eats.  These are what we took: oatmeal packets, quart-sized ice tea bags, granola bars, snack cheese/crackers, corn nuts, instant coffee.  Packed them in a small quart plastic pitcher that we used to make iced tea in.

·         Gifts and red bags/envelopes.  Officials’ gifts.  We gave money to everyone that we could because it is easier and preferred.  We also took good quality pocket tees and a sharpie for the entire group to sign as an extra special gift for our guides (with the group number on the pocket), if addition to cash, of course.

·         Paper goods, small Kleenex packs (for use in public bathrooms) and pre-moistened towelettes.

·         Phone numbers for pediatrician; your doctor; internet access; phone access; congressmen.  We also had a separate sheet with our credit card and traveler’s check info and contact numbers in case they were lost or stolen.

·         Documents. Important documents plus a copy (or on thumb drive); numbers of your travelers checks; contact info for congressman and home contacts.

·         Swiss Army pocket knife.  Indispensable! Put in checked luggage for security reasons. Also small folding scissors and cork screw, if not on your knife.

·         Travel guide info on China.  Photocopy only guide book pages describing the cities you will visit.

·         Umbrellas or rain jackets, if traveling during rainy season.

·         Utensils.  Chopsticks and a few plastic spoons and forks for in-room eating.  Drinking straws.

·         Ziploc bags.  All different sizes.  Another thing you will be amazed at all the uses for.  I packed each person’s clothes in really big 2 or 3 gallon ones – you can compress them into a small space that way by squeezing the air out.  I used them to pack fragiles on the way home with air in them.  Snack kits.  Ice packs.  And a zillion other uses.

·         Extra duffle bag – packed for purchases – empty on the way over; stuffed coming home!

·         Empty mailing tube – for prints or posters you might buy