If you're heading off on your teaching abroad adventure, we've put together a list of essential items you should pack to help you out.

What to bring

Medication and toiletries

If possible, bring a supply of prescription medication that will last the length of the school year. Over-the-counter medication that is readily available in Western countries may be difficult to find, such as Tylenol and cough and cold medicine. Some suggestions are: 

  • Tylenol / Aleve / Advil 
  • Tylenol cold medicine, or Nyquil/Dayquil
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Tums
  • Multi-vitamins
  • Allergy medicines
  • Sleep aids

Name-brand shampoo and hair products are available in China, but bring any toiletries you are accustomed to using such as deodorant, face wash and lotion, tampons, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, “specialty” hair products, and mouthwash. 

Computers and Cell Phones

Computers, although many are made in China, are likely to be cheaper to purchase in your native country than in China. You can purchase a simple (and cheap) phone in China when you arrive or you can bring with you a smartphone that is already unlocked.  SIM cards are easy to purchase and data plans are cheaper than in some countries.  

Internet Service

You may want to explore additional software to facilitate faster Internet service when connecting to sites abroad and to allow you to access some sites currently blocked by the Chinese firewall.  Virtual private network service or VPN’s are useful for that purpose but should be added to your computer before arrival in China. One popular and reliable VPN service that people currently use is called Express VPN. 


Books written in English are becoming more common but they can be 2 to 3X the cost of those in your home country. You may want to consider loading up an e-book reader such as Kindle. 

Other items 

A fabric softener ball (downy ball) may be useful to adding fabric softener to your laundry. Dryers are not common here.  
In general, plan to bring your own clothes.  Good quality clothes cost the same as home (or more) and depending on your size, you may not find what you need.

Don’t worry! If something important is forgotten – just about everything can be found on Taobao.com (You’ll just need a translator to order it for you).

What not to bring

Appliances with 110-120V only

They will not work here without a converter, and converters may degrade over time. Electric shavers, hair dryers, coffee makers, alarm clocks, DVD players, flat-screen TVs, etc. must have dual 120/220V to work in China. Laptops and cell phones generally work without requiring converters.

Electronics, air purifiers, etc

Air purifiers start at $90 on up. To avoid import fees, plan to purchase them within China rather than ship them.


If you plan to bring a pet, understand that there may be extended quarantine periods generally for 30 days.  It is best to hire a relocation company specialising in relocating, to help you cut through the red tape and get your pet into your home.

If you want any more advice, get in touch with the team today by clicking here. Happy travelling!