Friday, July 04, 2008

Travel Tips

For those who are waiting behind us and for anyone thinking of traveling to China we wanted to share a few tips that we found to be helpful while we were in China.

1. Don't fly United if you can help it
2. Fly the best possible way you can afford... Economy Plus at a Minimum.. You wont regret it..
3. Fly with as little carry on as humanly possible. Think small and light when packing your carry on.
4. When you fly home BUY THE EXTRA SEAT. Every flight we took was completely full 400 passengers on the last flight. When I got sick the poor guy next to us had to sit in a Flight Attendant seat for 3 or 4 hours. When we had the extra room it was really nice.
5. Stay hydrated on every flight and while you are in China. Use hand lotion, chap stick, eye drops, drink plenty of water. I did not do this on the flight home ie. the air sickness.
6. When you get to your room organize yourself right away. It will make life much easier especially after the baby is with you.
7. We took everything out of the mini bar and used it to keep our own soda and water cold.
8. We moved stuff off the shelves and used the room to stage bottles, and our own snacks and such.
9. If your room is hot complain and keep complaining we got a floor fan and they finally came and fixed our AC.
10. We took Gerber bowls with lids and took food off the buffet that we knew Sophia would eat (watermelon, noodles and dumplings)
11. We found Avent bottles to be the easiest to use while traveling in China. No need for liners and you can mix formula right in the bottle. The hot pots work GREAT and we were able to clean them with really hot water right in the sink.
12. We bought baby spoons at a local grocery store that are GREAT I wish I had bought more. They somehow have a better angel and the spoon part is more round and shallow then the American ones I found. They had these at the hotel when we asked for a baby spoon for the baby.
13. The people of China are wonderful and very accommodating. If there is something you need ask for it in a polite way and they will get it for you.
14. Have an pen mind about China. The culture is different then ours so are the customs the people the food the smells the sounds the traffic everything is different but some how the same. They are just people living their lives and we are guest in their country. Take it all in enjoy every moment absorb it so you can share it with your children one day.
15. Talk with others in your group. Do not isolate yourself and your child to your room. Traveling half way around the world is not easy especially when you add the stress of adoption and bonding with a child who may be ill or at the very least does not know or trust you yet. Your group members will all have advice, listen to it, cry on their shoulder if you need to, let out your frustration and fears, you will be more relaxed and your child will know it somehow.
16. Pack light you can get everything you need in China. They sell Diapers, wipes, bottles, baby clothes etc in China. We were in Nanchang and there is a Walmart there but better then that there is a great little local grocery store right around the corner from the Galactic Peace international Hotel. We were able to get Diet Coke, Chips, American Chocolate along with the Chinese formula Sophia was eating.

I know there is more but I am tired and I want to add what I was glad I brought and what I would leave home the next time..

Glad I brought
1. All Baby Meds and adult Meds (did not use anything but Motrin and Pepto Once after eating at Pizza Hut) We did not need to use any baby meds but were able to share with 3 families we traveled with (Cortisone cream, Vicks vapor rub and Little Noses for colds and Eye drops for eye infections)
2. Bowls with lids
3. Avent bottles
4. Lap top with SKYPE downloaded
5. Digital camera and Video camera (we took 2500 pictures and countless hours of video)
6. Sneakers and Flip Flops
7. extra clothes for the baby (although you can get lots of cute clothes in China)
8. Sponges with soap added to them already (found in Walmart camping section)
9. I-pod with Chinese Lullaby on it (the only thing that soothed Sophia a few night)
10. Hair conditioner. You could get shampoo but I never saw conditioner.
11. Hefty zip top bags we found them to be better the Ziplock brand. We used these to organize electronics, snacks, baby formula, wet bathing suits on the last day in Nanchang. You can't have to many of these...
12. Extra clothes for us it was hot and we changed clothes alot
13 a sporke we used it to measure and stir formula and eat noodles in the hotel room.
14. charger for our digital camera and camcorder
15. Save some of your Chinese Money at the End of your trip just in case you wind up in the Hell Hotel like we did. They did not exchange money, no bank in sight and the store did not take a credit card. We were saved by one family in our group who had 190 yuan that 10 families shared for water and soda and Chinese beer LOL...
16. I brought 12 Pampers with us I wish I had brought a few more. I ran out before we went to the store and borrowed from friends in our group. I liked the Chinese pampers I found them to be just as absorbent and they fit Sophia's little tushy better.
17. bring plenty of q-tips I ran out but managed

DO NOT OVER PACK you WILL regret it. It is hard to lug all that stuff through multiple airports. Especially when it is 9 million degrees and you have a baby.. You can get everything in China.

would have left home...
1. The DVD's we brought to download video to. We have a Hard Drive camera we were able to video 28 hours of video without downloading..
2. cords to run cameras on the TV, adaptors for Chinese power (every hotel had them and were happy to give them to us).
3. Never used one roll of travel TP
4. Used 2 packaged of travel tissues
5. Never used Sunscreen
6. 1 anti bacteral was plenty
7. Magazines and books never read anything in 2 weeks LOL...
8. Uno Cards again never used them
9. Movies never watched TV once in 2 weeks
10. Most of the snacks ( I was glad to have cereal bars a few mornings when I just wanted that for breakfast) Never ate M&M's or Hershey Kisses.
11. Less shoes
12. More bras (Rhonda I though of your friend LOL)
13. Tongs for taking things out of the hot pot (never used them)
14 bottle brush I used pre loaded sponges instead.
15. baby wash clothes (huggies preloaded kind) i never used them. They have wash clothes that were fine in every hotel and I bought baby wash and shampoo at the grocery store in Nanchang.
16. I do not use and did not bring any hair appliances the hotels all had hair dryers even the Hell Hotel did.
17. It was so Hot that every women in our group including those of us who wear make up everyday gave up on it day 2 of our trip. I was glad I had it for Gotcha day but I would have brought a lot less.
18. I would have left toothpaste and tooth brushes at home every hotel had them available for us.
19. Photo tubes. I bought a lot of farmer art and it was packaged nicely in square boxes that protected them.
20. first aide kit
21 sewing kit
22 Baby q-tips

I will post more as i think of them

Happy Forth of July ! Today we celabrated with our new little american Citazian, it was a wonderful day and her first Holiday with us in the USA!


Christine said...

Awesome! Thanks Susan for taking the time to list all this information. I know the day I come to pack I will definitely reread your post!! Reading your post also got me excited to travel to China again. Have fun with your little girl!

Mike and Rhonda said...

Ohhh great info Susan! So would you take 17? ;)

Amy in OH said...

Ahhhh! Pictures of you all home! What a great find this afternoon! Thanks for sharing. Can I add that you should keep your antibacterial handwash in your suitcase for flights b/c ours got thrown out (small container even) when in our carry on.

Happy 4th of July to the Rizzo family! Glad you are home and I love seeing Sophia on her porch!

The Greesons

Julie said...

Happy 4th! So glad to see you home and celebrating. We are so in love with her. We cannot wait to meet her!

Alyson & Ford said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the days to come playing with Sophia!
We will be driving through your town a few times in August.... maybe we can sneak a quick visit.

Alyson LID 01/27/06

Cheri & Shane said...

GREAT travel tips!!!

Happy "late" Fourth of July to the Rizzo family!!

Sophia looks so beautiful in her dress. I just want to give her a big hug!!

Love & miss you guys,
Cheri, Shane & Hope

Anonymous said...

What a little darling!!! Each set of photos is more adorable than the last. She looks so happy but not as happy as her parents. What a beautiful family you make!
Thanks for sharing.
Carolyn S

hiltonsheadeast said...

Awesome tips! I hope to have to look over them again, very soon! She's home with you! Your first holiday together. Life is good. :)

LID: 2.16.06