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Packing for Your Trip
Keep your bag light
Your bag should weigh no more than 44 pounds on flights within China. You'll be better off if you can tote your bags yourself for short distances. And you'd like to have extra room left over for souvenirs! Most travelers pack too much. Choose clothing with multiple uses. Find toiletries in sample sizes. Remove all disposable material from your gear before you leave home. Every little bit helps!
Important Note: China  
China's domestic airlines strictly enfore limits on the weight of your checked luggages. Therefore,for this trip you must adhere to the following strict luggage policy:
  * You are allowed one suitcase and one carry-on bag per person. The weight of your suitcase( to be checked) is restricted to 44 pounds (20kg).
  * The weight of your carry on bag is restricted to 11 pounds(5kg).
  * The size of your suitcase is also restricted.It can not exceed the following measurements: 15 1/2 x 39 inches ( 40 x 60 x100cm).
  * The dimensions of your carry-on luggage cannot exceed 7 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches ( 20 x 40 x 55cm).
In China, when you check in for domestic flights, both your suitcase and your carry-on bag are weighed and measured.If you baggage exceeds the limits, you are charged a penalty payable in cash only. Chinese officials base the penalty on the following formula: excess weight per kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of baggage multiplied by 1.5 percent of the airfare. For example , if your airfare is 300USD, the excess baggage charge would be USD4.50 per kilogram over the limit ( 300 x 1.5 ). If you have excess weight of 4 kilograms (8.8 lbs.) your penalty would be USD18 for this flight.
If you exceed the baggage limit it can be very costly, as you will be charged the penalty fee for every flight you make within China. You will end up paying on multiple occsaions. Also, the penalty fee is subject to change.
Finally, if your suitcase does not have bulit-in locks, you should purchase a small padlock. Some Chinese airport require that all luggage be lockes.
--- Day pack or small backpack. For your daily necessities: water bottle, camera gear, sunscreen,ect. Use this as your carry-on bag on your flights ( note restrictions) and on the train from Beijing to Xian, and keep it with you during walking and driving tours. A day pack keeps both hands free. Store camera gear and important papaers in plastic bags within to protect them from dirt and moisture.
--- Duffel bag or soft-sided luggage. Maximum 44 pounds. Porterage at airports and hotels is provided for one bag per person.
--- Inner bags. You can use plastic shopping bags, nylon stuff sacks or smaller zipper duffels to separate clothing and gear inside your duffel. Isolate liquid toiletries in heavy duty plastic bags.
--- Luggage tags and locks for duffels.
Packing Your Carry-on Bag
Use your day pack / rucksack as your flights. Carry a full change of clothing, camera gear, all medications, serveral changes of socks and unerwear, and other irreplaceable or breakable items.
You will also need a pack to carry-on bag for your overnight train ride from Beijing to Xian. Your large luggage will not accessible while you are riding this train. Your carry-on for this one night should include sleepwear, toiltries, any medications you use, a bottle of water, and tissue paper.
Functional Tips: Dress for the weather
Our list suggests several layers of clothing, so you can adjust to warmer and cooler conditions. Most of your clothing can be made of cotton or cotton-synthetic blends. You can buy clothing designed especially for travel.
You'll be on your feet a lot during the trip, and walking over rough and slippery surfaces. You will want either light hiking boots or very sturdy and supportive walking shoes. Look for a high-traction sole, such as the Virbram brand. Most regular dress shoes and sneaker won't offer enough cushioning and support.
Style Hints
Dress on our trip is functional and casual. Women might want to bring one dress and a pair of dressier shoes. Your dress should be somewhat conservative, in resepect of China's traditional culture. Don't bring sleeveless shirts or tank tops.
Recommended Clothing
--- Short-sleeved cotton shirts - 4 or 5. Polo style shirts are more versatile than T-shirts.
--- Long - Sleeved cotton shirts - 2
--- Trousers: two or three pairs,comforable and loose-fitting. Avocid tight-fitting jeans.
--- Underwear 9 or 10 changes
---- Wide-brim sun hat
---- Light rain jacket with hood. A light - weight, waterproof / breathable jacket, such as one made from Gore Tex, can do double-duty as a wind breaker.
---- Polartec fleece jacket, or heavy wool sweater. Handy in Tibet.
Optional Clothing
--- Travel skirt for women. Optional, but appreciated by local people in small villages.
--- Waliking shorts, long-cut for modesty
--- Swimsuit: For Bali, bring 1 or 2 swimsuits. Some of the hotels in China have swimming pools
--- Sturdy walking shoes
--- Socks - seven pairs.
Travel Gear
Essential Gear
--- Small flashlight, with extre batteries and bulb. Electricity may be unreliable, so you may need a light at night.
--- Narrow-mouth water bottle.Local water bottles often leak.
--- Toilet tissues. Bring two or three travel-size packs of Kleenex or other tissues. Some people like antiseptic tissues, such as Tucks, available in pharmacies.
--- Moist towelettes.
--- For eyeglass wearers: spare eyeglasses and spare prescription sunglasses ( or clip-ons)
--- Photocopies of passport, visa,air ticket, and credit cards, plus phone and fax numbers to report stolen cards. Store copies separate from originals.
--- Insect repellent
--- Sunglasses, 100% VU block
--- Sunscree cream, SPF 15 or more.
--- Sun-Blocking lip slave
--- Small, thin towel, or a Paktowl
--- Money belt or neck pouch
--- Coul-water hand-wash laundry soap, such as Woolite
--- Extra passport-sized photos
Optional Gear
--- Walking staff. You can buy a folding walking staff in most cmping stores. An alternative is a folding ski pole. This is very useful when exploring hilly historical sites that have no hand-rails. This has been highly recommended by several group members.
--- Light weight binoculars.
--- Light folding umbrella.
--- Sturdy notebook and pens. A travel journals is your best memento. Even concise entries evoke vivid memories years later. Try it!
--- Travel alarm clock.
--- Photo gear, with spare batteries
--- Decaffeinated tea or coffee
--- Artificial sweetner
--- Favorite snacks
--- Photos and post cards from home
--- Books about China
--- Phrase book
--- Sewing kit (needle, thread, buttons)
   Eye mask, for sleeping on flights
--- Personal repair kit:: short length of duct tape, safety pins,small pliers,eyeglass repair items,etc.
Toliet Kit: Look for travel sizes:
--- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
--- Small bar of soap
--- Shampoo. Small bottle
--- The rest: Moisturizing lotion, hair brush, shaving gear, ect. Bring whatever you need,but try to keep it light!
Tips on Photo Gear and Video
A compact automatic camera with a zoom lens and built-in flash is very useful for quick, unplanned shots of people you meet, in all light conditions.Make sure you can override the flash. Compact auto cameras are so handy that you might want to consider bringing one as a back-up if you usually travel with a full-sized SLR (single lens reflex). If you bring only an SLR, you will probably want a flash unit for interior shots.
Zoom lens are useful, and can save weight by replacing multiple fixed lenses. If you are buying a compact zoom camera, think about the zoom range you need. Some cone with a zoom range up to 120mm. Photography FAQ of Chinese
Many travelers bring ten to twenty 36 - exposure rolls of film, or even more. Film can be expensive, poorly-stored, or but of date in China. Sometimes it's just hard to find, and looking for it takes time away from shooting. Better to bring too much and use it later than to run out during thr trip.
Film with a speed of ASA/ ISO 200 to 400 is versatile for covering both well-lit and dimly-lit scences.
Other Photo Supplies
Extra batteries are essiential. Lens paper and a brush are useful in dusty conditions. When not shooting, keep your camera in a plastic bag within your day bag to protect it from dust.
A haze filter can be helpful for shooting in Chinese cities.
High-speed film will be harmed by repeated exposures to X-ray machines, even those marked as film-safe. If you have high-speed, buy a lead-linede film bag.
Video Cameras
Bring at least two, and preferably three batteries. Recharging is sometimes difficult due to a lack of outlets and interruptions in electric service.
In China and Tibet, electricity is 220 or 240 volts AC, 50Hz. In most places in Indonesia, electricity is 220 volts; in some places, 100 volts. Both two – and three-pin sockets are found, so bring two or more plug adapters.Drinking Water & Electricity
What to Expect on Your Trip
Safe Water
Tap water is not safe to drink.Bottled water ie readily available.Inspect each bottle before you buy it to make sure the cap is sealed properly.Carry a bottle in your day bag at all times.Bottled drinks and juices,and hot drinks that have been boiled,are safe to drink.Be sure to wipe the tops of bottled drinks before and after opening.
Safe Food
Be very careful with food sold from vendors on the street,and with uncooked fruits and other foods.Fruit that you peel yourself is usually safe.
Wash your hands frequently:before meals,before snacks,when brushing your teeth,after using the bathroom.You won't always find running water,so bring moist towelettes.Some people bring disinfectant towelettes or anti-bacterial lotion.Avoid touching your face,biting your nails or putting things in your mouth out of habit.
Don't Push Too Hard
One of the most important parts of staying healthy on an active trip is to not push yourself too hard if you feel tired.Respect your own limits.If your energy level is low on a certain day,you can sit out a walking tour or a road excursion.If you go to Tibet,be particularly conservative when you first arrive in Lhasa.Your Trip Leader can tell you about the distance,time and terrain of our walking excursions in advance,and can often suggest rewarding alternative activities.
Altitude Illness
Lhasa is 12000 feet above sea level.You will probably feel some effects of altitude when you first arrive.Even if you've been to high elevations previously,you could have a different reaction this time.For most people,the symptoms are quite mild,and will pass in a day or so.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
When you travel,you can easily become dehydrated without knowing it.If your fluid balance is low,you are more susceptible to fatigue and illness.Air travel will dry you out,so drink liquids and avoid alcohol on your flight to Beijing.During the trip,don’t wait unitil you feel thirsty to drink-this is especially important at high altitude.Instead,drink by the clock:drink one to two quarts of water or juice each day,in addition to drink at meals.If you find yourself tired or unwell,and don't know why,it may be that you simply need to drink more.Note that tea,coffee and alcoholic beverages are diuretics,and actually deplete the fluids in your system..
Sun and Heat Exposure
Be sure to wear your hat,and use plenty of sunscreen.Be aware of the signs of heat exposure.Be especially concerned if you feel hot,but are not perspiring.Let your Trip Leader know if you feel poorly.Most importantly,you must drink plenty of liquids when temperatures are high.
If You Have Stomach Trouble
Despite your best efforts,you may get diarrhea at some point.It is usually limited in duration,and will often go away without medication.Immediately and consistently,drink more liquids to make up for the fluids you are losing.The best initial treatment is to chew two Papto Bismol tablets;repeat 3 to 4 times a day.This may be all you need to do.You can,and probably should,eat when you get hungry,but avoid dairy products and fried foods for a while.
If your symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours,you may decide to take a course of a prescription antibiotic,such as Ciprofloxacin.Most antibiotics are taken twice a day,for about three days.Once you start the course,it's important to continue for the full duration of treatment.Don't stop if your symptoms subside sooner.
Anti-motility agents,like Immodium and Lomotil,treat the symptom rather than the cause.You may want to take Immodium before a long bus ride or a city tour.You can take it along with an antibiotic.But because these medications interfere with your body’s natural attempts to rid itself of the infection,many specialists recommend that you take them when you are in a place with convenient access to a bathroom.Specifically,don’t take Immodium,Lomotil or a similar medication if you have a fever,or if you have bloody diarrhea.
A Word about Electricity Supply
In China and Tibet,electricity is 220 or 240 volts AC,50 Hz.In most places in Indonesia,electricity is 220 volts;in some places,100 volts.Both two-and three-pin sockets are found,so bring two or more plug adapters.In some places,electricity may be supplied by a generator,and lighting may not be as bright as you are used to.cannot be guaranteed on overnight stays.Passengers dependent on electricity supply(as in the case of those with sleep apnea)should call customer service for more information.
Common Sense and Awareness
As you travel in China,exercise the some caution and awareness that you would in a large American city.Don’t be overly nervous or suspicious,but keep your eyes open.There have been thefts in some places.If you are venturing out after dark,go with one or two other people.
Carry a one-day supply of cash in your pocket.Carry most of your money,and your passport,in a travel pouch or money belt under your shirt.Replenish your pocket supply when you are in a safe and quiet place,or in our vehicle.
Don't leave major valuables in hotel room.Almost every hotel will have a hotel safe at the front desk.It is safest to leave expensive items like heirloom jewelry at home.
Pickpockets may create a sudden distraction.In any sort of puzzling street situation,try to keep one hand on your money belt.
If an encounter with a local turns out to be long and complicated and involve money or your valuables,be very careful.Con artists sometimes target travelers.
Note for Women
Women may experience some hassling,especially in the cities.It is usually inconsequential,and it is greatly reduced if you dress in a modest style.Exercise the same caution you would with strangers at home.We encourage women to go with one or two other people if exploring out-of-the-way places.
China offers many fine craft items at good prices.If you plan a major purchase,we strongly recommend that you research the prices and quality available at home before your trip.Just one visit to an import shop or gold dealer will put you way ahead when you get to a bazaar.This is the only way to know if you are getting a good price.
Some shops have fixed prices.In other places,merchants enjoy negotiating over prices.If this is your first experience at bargaining,don't worry-you'll quickly find your own style.Your opening offer should be well under the asking price.The only rule is that,if you make an offer,you should be prepared to buy at that price.And remember,whatever price you pay is okay,as long the item is worth that price to you.
 No-Smoking Policy
We have adopted a no-smoking policy while in our vehicles and at meals.We will make sufficient stops so those who wish to smoke may do so.If you are assigned a non-smoking roommate,please don't smoke in your hotel room.
In China smoking is prohibited on planes,taxis,railway cars,                               
ship cabins,buses,subways,ticket halls and waiting rooms.We cannot control smoking policies in public places,such as restaurants.

Money Matters

Money Belt - we've never known anyone who's had anything stolen from their money belt, period. It needn't be bulky - just the basics: passport, credit cards, cash reserves, plane ticket; couple of Traveller's cheques.
Cash - hard cash always the easiest to exchange.
Credit/debit cards - becoming more and more widely accepted. Note that a 3% surcharge is added to ALL credit card transactions.
Traveller's cheques - can only be cashed in mid- to large-sized towns.
Passports, visas, tickets - keep photocopies of all somewhere separate.

Bank of China branches found in all mid- to large-sized cities; villages and small towns will not have one.