There are a billion mom and pop stores everywhere, but the stores listed below are the stores that are available in all moderately populated cities.

Typical grocery stores:

You can buy groceries and common household items here. Many of them also have jewelry, handbag, and pottery shops attached to them.




Chain Malls:

Wanda plazas aren’t just malls, they’re city blocks with door-to-door shops and stores.


Similar to dollar stores:

Miniso is my best friend. You can get lots of knick knacks and household items for just a few kuai.


Foreign grocery chains:

These stores are nice to visit if you’re wanting to cook Western food at home. Sometimes they require a membership card that you’ll need your passport to apply for.



Metro China Logo


Outdoors and sports:

Think Cabela’s or Big 5 Sporting Goods.


The Complete List

IMG_8534There are a million packing lists out there. Some of them are helpful and most of them are redundant. Because this is a travel blog I have to add my list, right? Yes! So, here goes, below is my personal packing list. It’s fairly extensive, but in my defense, I’m going to be in China for a year…and I’m high maintenance.



  • Shirts x 10
  • Pants x 5
  • Shorts
  • Jammies x 2
  • Exercise x 2
  • Skirts x 4
  • Dresses x 3
  • Undies x 8
  • Bras x 5
  • Socks x 8
  • Tights x 2
  • Winter coat
  • Rain jacket
  • Thermals x 2
  • Belt



  • Tennis shoes
  • Chacos
  • Flip flops
  • Waterproof boots
  • Hiking boots
  • Flats



  • First aid kit
  • Vitamins
  • Tampons
  • Midol
  • Tylenol
  • Allergy meds
  • Sunscreen
  • Pepto Bismol

Woman Stuff


  • Straightener
  • Lotion
  • Make up
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • 1 Necklace
  • 5 Earrings

Bathroom Stuff


  • Towel
  • Razor + extra heads
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • External charger
  • Headphones
  • Earbuds
  • Universal adapter
  • All chargers

Church Stuff


  • Recommend
  • PMG

Docs to have on hand


  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Password log
  • $200



  • Big check in bag
  • Backpack
  • Day bag
  • Luggage scale

Stuff to have on hand

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Password log
  • $200



  • Lap blankie
  • Water bottle
  • Presents for friends
    • Scented lotion
    • Chapstick
    • Candy
    • Wallet pictures
  • Deck of cards











(This is a picture of everything my sister and I took home after living in China for a year. You don’t want this much luggage, it was hecka annoying to cart around.)

Packing is one of the most important parts of preparing for your trip, so prepare yourself for a bunch of post on the subject. We’ll start out with a couple simple lists of things you can and cannot buy in China.

Things you CAN buy in China (a.k.a. don’t pack these things).

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Hair ties
  • Toilet paper
  • Hair dryers
  • Wet wipes
  • Laundry Soap
  • Shower shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Notebooks
  • Pens

And now for a list of things you CANNOT buy in China.

  • Tampons
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Good shoes
  • Clothes over size 8
  • Quality phone chargers
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums
  • Cold and Flu meds
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Pain reliever
  • Hand sanitizer