China is actually highly developed and offers lots of shopping options – there are so many giant global brands in China (like Walmart and Carrefour), as well as other malls and stores that carry clothes, beauty products, electronics, and anything else you might need.
You don't need to pack as much as you think you need to, so save the space in your suitcase for the things you really do need!
Books are fantastic, but not the most convenient thing to transport when you have so many of them. Bring a Kindle or get an online library account so you can read E-books anywhere in the world. It will save you so much space and also be really convenient when you go traveling on your weekends and holidays.
You don't need to pack 10 bottles of lotion and shampoo! Unless you're highly sensitive to certain products or have a very specific kind of hair style and texture, it's very easy to buy items like shampoo, conditioner, and lotions in China, and you'll find many major brands like Pantene, Dove, Loreal, etc.
It is important to pay attention to the ingredients in beauty products in China, though, to make sure they don't have whitening ingredients, but there tons of brands that are safe and won't whiten your skin.
Tip: It is a good idea to bring your own stock of deodorant, as Chinese people don't usually wear it as often as foreigners do. You can find it in some shops, but there are not as many brands.
Save space in your suitcase and don't pack pillows, comforters, and blankets! The same goes for towels - it is smart to come with a travel-size towel, but is not necessary to bring large towels. You can find all of these things easily in China; Chinese people have beds and towels, too!
Tip: Sometimes it is difficult to find a fitted, bottom sheet for your bed set - bringing just one fitted sheet is a good idea and won't take up much space!
It is important to bring enough clothes to be prepared for all seasons and activities, but your wardrobe is definitely not limited only to what you bring to China.
There are so many stores in China that offer a great selection of clothing, including many international brands like UNIQLO, H&M, Adidas, Old Navy, and GAP. You'll find tons of other options, too, especially in bigger cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. This also goes for bulky winter coats: just one good winter coat is great to bring, and you can always layer up or buy another one in China.
Read more about Shopping in China!
Tip: Plenty of comfortable shoes are a great thing to bring, though, especially if you have bigger shoe sizes. Chinese people generally have very small feet which makes it difficult to find the right size. You'll often wear out shoes in China with all the walking and exploring you'll do in all kinds of streets.
You might be tempted to bring a whole suitcase filled with snacks because you're worried you won't adjust to the food in China, or you think you will miss your hometown snacks.
It's definitely nice to bring a few home comforts with you, but don't overstock! There are lots of stores that will have foreign foods and ingredients, and you can always order items from Taobao and JD.com if you can't find specific snacks.
See what a Chinese Supermarket looks like and what things you can expect to find there!
China also has lots of great snacks and foods to try! See the different regional cuisines of China HERE.
You should bring some cash with you, but there are many banks in China where you can withdraw money from foreign bank accounts. Not carrying too much cash will also help prevent you from accidentally losing money.
You should know what you don't need to bring, and also what you are not allowed to bring to China. You are prohibited to bring these things to China:
With limited space, it's important to maximize your suitcase and bring the most important things! To see a full list of items you should bring to China, read An English Teacher's Packing List.