It’s the summer travel season – and this summer, Jun and I will be traveling back to the US.
Granted, it’s more business than pleasure – Jun is court-ordered to return to Idaho to continue participating in his lawsuit. (You can learn more about that and support Jun here.)
But regardless, it’s also a trip back home, which means reconnecting with family and friends we haven’t seen in years. We hope to make the most of that.
At the same time, it’s an opportunity for me to flex my packing and organization “muscles” so to speak. After all, when you’ve lived in China as long as I have, you become accustomed to certain things – and can’t imagine being anywhere in the world without them. Even when traveling back home.
Here are 6 things from China that I always pack along with me when I return to the US:
#1: Chinese remedies and medicines
No matter where I am in the world, the must-have at the top of my list is my personal “first-aid kit” filled with my preferred remedies from China.
While everyone has their favorites, here’s what I always pack:
- Sweets Golden Throat (or other herbal lozenges)
- Fengyou Jing
- Pain-relieving medicinal patches
- Tiger balm (or similar pain-relieving medicinal ointment)
One of the things I’ve learned from China (and my husband) is that there’s nothing like a nice, fragrant cup of loose-leaf green tea to start your day.
But as we all know, the best green teas come from China and NOT America.
That’s why I always pack a canister of the best green tea I can afford. When I’m back in the US, it’s like a little taste of China every single morning. Mmmmmm!
#3: Red Chinese jujube dates
The Chinese have touted the health benefits of these tasty little dates for thousands of years. So it’s no wonder that they’re a popular snack here in China, and one of my favorite things to munch on.
But good luck finding them in the US!
So I always pack a bag of delicious dried jujube dates in my luggage (especially the dates from the Xinjiang region, which are usually sweeter). They’re a terrific snack and wonderful for sharing.
Who knows? This trip, I might just convert a few family and friends over to these fantastic dates. 😉
#4: Hair accessories
When I lived in the US, I always came across a familiar phrase on every single hair accessory I purchased.
Made in China.
Yes, China is responsible for producing all of those lovely hairpins, hair ties, hair clips, headbands and more. So what’s the point of buying in the US when I can purchase straight from the source?
With the convenience of online shopping, it’s so easy to find the best and most beautiful accessories in China. That means I can save my money for something else in the US…such as buying more of those delicious avocadoes. 😉
#5: Silk scarves
Throwing on a nice silk scarf is the perfect way to dress up your outfit, especially when you’re traveling and trying to pack light. And since China is the silk road country – with a wide selection of silk scarves at great prices – guess where all of my scarves come from?
This trip, I’m packing my favorite floral silk scarf, which will add a touch of class to my black shirt and black maxi skirt for any dressy occasion.
#6: Renminbi cash
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Why would she put RMB cash on this list?
Well, you would be surprised by the times when I’ve left China to travel abroad – and wished I packed more cash with me.
Having some cash from China comes in handy if you get stranded at a major international airport and, for whatever reason, cannot use your credit cards or bank cards. Just head to a currency exchange window and you’re set.
It gives me extra peace of mind whenever I’m navigating the uncertainties that come along with international travel.
It’s also a wonderful conversation piece for friends and family back home. Most of them have never seen Chinese money or even touched it. Americans love the novelty of red money, not to mention those portraits of Chairman Mao! 😉
What do you like to bring when you’re traveling back home?