Packing for Hong Kong

How do you pack for weeks, months, a whole year abroad?

It’s actually a lot easier than it seems. There are many resources out there to work with, but we’ve compiled some of our most helpful tips to keep your packing efficient and effective for your time abroad!

Plan ahead!
Familiarize yourself with your airline’s baggage allowance and fees.
Lay everything out BEFORE you start to put it in your luggage.

Be aware of your toiletry needs. It is certainly more convenient to stock up on toiletries once you arrive in Hong Kong, but certain items like hair products for curly hair, tampons, and deodorant will be less readily available in Hong Kong than the US.

Electrical Appliances
If the current is different where you’re going than where you are coming from, it might be in your favor to get new appliances when you get there. Take a look at the voltage and electricity guides at Voltage Valet to get a better idea of what you will need while you’re abroad.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you take any prescription medications, take it with you and take enough to last you for the duration of your program. Please carry any prescription medications in the prescription bottle with the original label and not mixed into one bag or container! Make sure to bring the prescription with you as well.

Some over-the-counter type drugs can be purchased when you arrive, but if there’s anything you can’t live without, take it with you! You won’t be able to find US brands of nausea medicine, cold medicine, pain killers etc.

Clothes packing can feel overwhelming at times, especially for a place maybe you’ve never been to. Make sure to read up on the weather for the seasons you’ll be abroad for. Even if you’re going abroad for six months, you’ll be fine with three weeks of clothing as long as you plan in layers! Packing light is wise so you’ll have room in your luggage to bring gifts and other purchases from China back with you to the US.

#CISabroadtip: Unlike packing for Europe though, do not count on being able to buy a new wardrobe in China if you do not have a stereotypical Chinese-person body type. Sizes run small and short. (Keep this in mind for shoes too.)

Emergency contacts and passwords – that’s right, passwords…

  1. In your checked luggage, carry-on luggage AND wallet put a list of emergency contact names, phone numbers and email addresses. Put more than one on this list and more than one phone number – include a work number, home number, friend number, etc.. Make sure it is written down not just on a laptop, cellphone, tablet, etc. because batteries die.
  2. Include with the above a copy of your travel insurance contact phone numbers, policy and assistance details. Keep copies with your passport, hand luggage, and checked luggage and with family back home.
  3. ALSO, this is more important than ever now. Before traveling abroad everyone should be sure to provide a list of their laptop, tablet, cellphone, or any other “technology” passwords in case of a serious life emergency. Additionally be sure to provide the same for Facebook, twitter, email, credit cards, etc., so that these can be appropriately accessed by family should some life emergency occur. Keep such listings secure but at the same time remember the need for 24-7 access. You can and should change these after you return home safely if you are worried about sharing your access.

Sample Packing List:

  • Comfortable walking shoes and classier shoes for going out (closed-toe shoes– the streets in China are not as clean as the US).
  • Layers are great for long days when the weather can change drastically from morning to afternoon, think lightweight shirts, jackets, etc.
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Rain jacket and/or umbrella
  • Small bag to pack in for overnight trips if you have an opportunity to travel independently during your program this may be a backpack you carry on the plane with you as your carry-on luggage
  • Shower shoes for shared showers at hostels whether staying in a hostel is part of your program or travel plans or not, it’s always good to have a pair of rubber flip-flops just in case!
  • Travel size toiletries you never know where your checked bag may choose to take a side trip and meet you in-country later, so be sure you have some basics to get you through 1-2 days in case your checked luggage gets delayed
  • Plug adapters take a look at what kind of outlets you should expect here…

Essential Items – don’t forget these!

  • Passport
  • Copy of your passport to carry with you at all time
  • Student/University Identification Card
  • Pepto-Bismol/Imodium, Advil, or other over-the-counter drugs, you know your body and what you may need!
  • Prescription medications: Carry any prescription medications in the prescription bottle with the original label and not mixed into one bag or container!
  • Personal journal
  • Laptops/tablets, if necessary

If you bring any of these items with you, put them in your carry-on, NOT your checked bag:

  • Camera
  • Laptop/tablet, if you bring one – do not put these in your checked luggage!
  • iPod/mp3 player/music player, charger, and headphones
  • We do not suggest bringing any valuable jewelry or items, but if you must, it is safer to carry them on rather than put them in your checked luggage.
  • Keep in mind the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids in your carry on: 3.4 ounce (100ml) containers in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 zip-top, plastic bag per passenger placed in screening bin.