Passport: This is essential for you to travel anywhere in China. To buy train or plane tickets, you are required to show the authorities your passport. Additionally, the police authorities can request to see your passport at any time. Whenever outside of your home city, make sure that you have it with you in a very safe place.
Money: China is a cash country. You will find few stores (mostly malls) that will accept debit/credit cards. Make sure that you have enough money with you to get where you want to go and to also return home.
It is a good idea to keep a credit/debit card with you while traveling. You can use them withdraw money from ATM machines (Only use ATM’s inside of banks!). Keep in mind that most banks have international transaction fees. Prior to departing from China, contact your bank and let them know where you will be. If your bank sees your card is being used in China and doesn’t know you’re there, they might freeze your account.
Toilet Paper: This just cannot be stressed enough. Finding a restroom with toilet paper is rare. You will only find a restroom with toilet paper in certain places such as hotels. Make sure to ALWAYS take toilet paper with you wherever you go. Most people will have the experience of forgetting it.
Medications/Medicine: If you plan to travel and you feel you might need medicine or medication, take it with you! Western medicine is still hard to find in China. You may think, “It’s only for 3 days,” but on day two you may be wishing that the ‘Ibuprofen’ and ‘tums’ were not back at your apartment.
A Backpack: A good backpack will be your best friend in China. If possible, pack everything in one bag. Also, bring a money belt to safely keep valuables in, everything else should be just fine in your backpack. Carrying a bag with zippers will drastically lower your chances of being pick-pocketed.