When we think of things that we will need to start a life in China, we often think of getting a good VPN, packing the right clothing, purchasing a GSM unlocked cell phone, and setting up a Skype account or some other messaging program/app to keep in contact with our loved ones back home. All of these things are useful indeed, but there are a few other essentials that might not come to mind. In this article, I will talk about five items that come to mind based on my experiences in and research on the Middle Kingdom.
A hand scale
If you want to save money and eat healthy in China, you will probably be doing some shopping at the local markets. Being a foreigner, you are a target for unscrupulous vendors to overcharge you. A hand scale can be used to weigh items that you wish to purchase so that you are not overcharged. Make sure that you have a scale that can display or convert weight in jin (市斤) since that is the unit of weight used in many Chinese markets. I found a good battery-operated hand scale with a digital display on Amazon.
A carbon monoxide detector
Natural gas is unscented in China (at least to my knowledge), so if your apartment gets a gas leak, you might not know about it until it is too late. This is where a carbon monoxide detector will come in handy. There are several battery-operated and plug-in options to choose from with LED readouts, alarms, voice warnings, and other functions. You might want to purchase a carbon monoxide detector online before you embark on your journey to China so that you can come prepared.
Although apartments and hotels in larger Chinese cities tend to have outlets compatible with American (and other international) plugs, you may want to bring a travel adapter with you to be on the safe side, especially if you are going to be living in a remote area. Adapters and surge protectors that accept just about any kind of plug can be found in electronic stores and supermarkets, but it won’t hurt to come prepared, especially if you are going to be tired or busy during your first few weeks in the Middle Kingdom.
If you are going to be in China during the summer, or if you plan on going to the beach often, you might want to pack your own sunblock. The reason for this is that many brands of sunblock have skin-lightening chemicals in them, so if you don’t want exposure to these chemicals, you might be better off packing your own.
Most of my readers are probably unashamedly heterosexual men just like I am, and probably don’t plan on spending their time in China being celibate. There have been several reports of condoms in China being faulty or downright dangerous to use, on top of the whole size issue. For these reasons, you may want to stock up on some condoms before you make the trip unless you want to take your chances barebacking. You can still get that bare feeling with Crown Skinless Skin along with durability. The last thing that you’ll want living abroad is “tigerblood,” so wrap it up.
Along with all of these items, do not forget to bring a first aid kit and any necessary medicines that you may need to take. I would try to bring a year’s supply of whey protein and almond milk with me, but I guess that I will just have to find alternatives once I get back over there. I suppose that’s all part of the adventure. If there is anything that you feel that I have left out, feel free to hit me up in the comments. You might have to ship the items over to me though, because I’ll already be in the Middle Kingdom by the time you read this.