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Travel Advice for Visitors to China

After my adoption trip to Guangzhou, I made a list of things to do for future trips. I welcome input from other adoptive parents.    -Adele


Pack light if you will be staying in a major city. Chinese laundry is inexpensive.

If you are from the U.S., be prepared to use the metric system for baby formula, medicine dosage and luggage weight.


Do not wear clothes with metal items, no matter how small, if you want to get through the airport security checks. Wear clothes with plastic buttons and zippers.

For long international flights, reserve a bulkhead seat with a bassinet for your child to sleep in. Bassinets can hold infants up to 20lbs/9kgs, 26in/65cm.

For departing flights, Chinese airports charge an airport tax, usually 100 yuan or more per person.

Put film in your carry on bag. The X-ray scans of checked baggage can damage film.

Do not bring any metallic sharp things in your carry-on bags, like scissors, knives or razors of any kind.


Do not drink the tap water in China. For drinking water, drink only purified bottled water, or boiled water. You can usually obtain water from the concierge. Hotels usually have a hot pot in the room for boiling water.

Some hotels provide an additional mattress or cot for your baby at no extra cost.


Bring a travel-size first aid kit, plus antiseptic cream, tweezers, Baby Tylenol, cough medicine, sore throat medicine, allergy medicine, antacid pills, digital thermometer.

If you need to go to the hospital, ask your interpreter to write the name and address of the nearest, best hospital so you can show the cab driver where you want to go. Get another card with the name and address of your hotel so you can conveniently return by cab. If possible, bring your interpreter to help with the maze of procedures for purchasing medical care at the hospital.


If bringing U.S. dollars, bring more than you think you need. Chinese banks and hotels often reject some bills as counterfeit. Counterfeit U.S. dollars are a major problem in Asia.

Baby Stuff

For odor-free disposal of dirty diapers in your hotel room, use heavy-duty quart size zip-loc bags. Bring at least 40 bags for a two-week stay.

Chinese brand diapers are fine if you double them.

Be prepared to apply minor medical treatment to your adopted baby during the first week or two. It is common for them to have colds, fever, rashes, boils or other minor problems.

Buy packs of tissue paper in China. It comes in compact packages. You will use a lot of it to wipe your child, yourself and various spills when feeding your child.

Umbrella strollers are cheap in China.

Chinese people prefer babies to be fully clothed, even in hot weather. Bare arms and legs draw disapproving looks.

Shopping and Restaurants

If you stay in a major hotel, there are likely to be many local shops nearby with Chinese arts and crafts. Prices are usually negotiable.

Do not eat raw vegetables in China. Wash and peel fruit before eating it.


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