If I have at least somewhat convinced some of you to come explore Beijing from my last posts about places and food, here is a list of all the things you definitely need to come here. If you take anything at all from this post, do NOT take the hand sanitizer and tissue paper lightly!
Phone: The airports all have SIM cards stations for about RMB 150 (USD 24).
I highly recommend the Baidu Maps app. Baidu is as widespread in China as Google is in the US, and is a lot more reliable in China than Google Maps is. You can download a full map of Beijing that includes subway and bus maps. SO useful!
Good Camera: Beijing is really exciting place to take photos. Bright new office buildings are right around the corner from beautiful ancient temples. Even simple walks in the park are fascinating.
Hair Ties: Beijing summers are crazy hot and humid. Trust me; you do not want hair anywhere near your neck.
Lip Balm: Always a good staple.
Sunglasses: Again, it’s hot and sunny here.
Suntan Lotion: Don’t get sunburned!!
Passport: Always keep this on you. Although they rarely do, police reserve the right to ask you for your passport at any time.
Universal Adapter: This is just a good thing to have, period. Why get one just for Beijing?
Travel Kleenex/Toilet Paper: Paper is considered very expensive in China, so many public bathrooms do not supply toilet paper in the stalls. If you look, sometimes toilet paper is at the end of the bathroom, but half the time it’s just not there.
Crossbody Bag: This is just a travel staple. Having all your important documents and phone close to you is both convenient and safe.
Hand Sanitizer: Let’s face it: Beijing is really dirty. I never trust the sinks in public bathrooms, so I rely solely on this when I am out and about. Bring a lot; hand sanitizer is very expensive in Beijing.
Big Bag: For holding all your bigger items on carry-on.