I'm going to China in May! My Global MBA cohort is traveling to several different areas in China to learn more about global business and culture. China is such a large country, it's really hard to peruse the library guide books or travel forums. Narrowing down the cities helps a bit (e.g. Beijing or Shanghai) but the particulars about the trip are still elusive. Which emails and social media sites can I access? Do I load a VPN app? Do I bring my cell phone or buy a cheap one there? What kind of adapter to use? How much money should I bring? Where is the bottled water? How do you remember the exchange rate and the currency system? What does one bring home as a souvenir? What about squatty potties?
Interestingly enough, the blogs of people who adopt Chinese children have the most useful information. They blog about what they packed and what was useful to have along. The travel sites and forums, like Frommers and Fodors, were somewhat helpful as well. At this point, I am hoping to pack a small suitcase and a carry-on, leaving lots of room to bring stuff home. I ran across this site when looking for packing list ideas, and found the brilliant "one suitcase" tab which shows, for example, how to pack 14 items of clothing and make 30 outfits. While I probably won't need 30 outfits for a 12-day trip, I have found inspiration from the daily outfits and tend to view the site pretty frequently now.
I guess I should start practicing how to say things in Chinese, like "hello, thank you, how much, where is your squatty potty, I don't understand." Hola and gracias will not go very far, I'm thinking.