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Outside, it looked like dawn would never come. We dressed and ate in the early morning’s dark, packed our bags, and left our Airbnb apartment that had been home for the past four days. Our taxi idled at the curb.

Right before we pulled into the train station, our taxi driver said with a sleepy glance in the rearview mirror, “It’s been hell getting around this area lately. Roads have been blocked off. This actor, Ryan Reynolds, has been shooting a movie here. Right down there…” he pointed out the window.

I looked but was too late to see what he was pointing at other than a dark, deserted alley that looked nothing like a movie set.

“Did you say Ryan Reynolds?” I said.

(Aka the actor who delivers lines in a perfectly snarky and sarcastic manner. Who has an astounding depth of acting potential. Who is incredibly, incredibly good-looking. But I digress. Back to my story.)

“Yeah, they’ve been shooting in the early morning hours. Surprised they aren’t right now. Oh, here we are. Need help with your bags?”

We paid, grabbed our backpacks, scooted out of the slick leather backseat, and walked into the enormous empty train station to catch the Amtrak south to Seattle.

Our last day in Vancouver, a romantic, if sometimes damp, city with a charming personality that popped out at unexpected times like a shy bookworm emerging with a witty remark or laughing glance. I was tempted to skip the early morning train ride down British Columbia’s oceanic coast to hunt down a celebrity and do tiptoed walk-bys to see how tall he really was. (Come on, celebrity stats are like footballers’ stats: 95% padded.)

But, our train was leaving in under three minutes and my persuasion skills are rusty before 8am and coffee, so I followed my husband to the train tracks, carrying our Chinese leftovers in a Tortuga daypack, already wishing I could return to Vancouver.

Things You Should Always Pack

Vancouver is like Seattle’s foreign cousin. The two cities feel alike in their devil-may-care, cool-kid attitude. But Vancouver has a grown-up edge in its Olympic Village, French influence, and large Chinatown. This city deftly combines metropolitan flair and love of nature.

Vancouver is also Canada’s wettest and foggiest city. A feature that only adds to its mystique.

For your trip to Vancouver, make sure you pack the following items into your pack in addition to your basic packing list or what you’ve packed for the cruise you may be boarding:

Waterproof, Windproof Layer

For Vancouver, pack a jacket that is waterproof and windproof. Rain is a regular occurrence  here, and Vancouver is right next to the ocean so the breeze whipping inland can bite. I wore FlyLow Gear Vixen jacket with an extra-large hood; it was perfect.

A Daypack

You’ll want a good, sturdy daypack to hold your treasures as you wander Vancouver.

Comfortable Shoes

Vancouver is very walkable city. Pack comfortable shoes with well-padded soles to explore Olympic Village, or wander down to charming Gastown neighborhood with one of the world’s last steam powered clocks. Opt for a more athletic pair if you’re planning to hit day hikes outside the city, like Dog Mountain or St. Mark’s Summit.

Layers

A moist cold burrows deep into your skin on damp days in this city. Wear layers to combat against Vancouver’s quickly changing weather and wet cold. When I visited in April, one day was driving rain, but the next day was sunny and 60. Wear layers to shed and put back on as the weather changes.

Vancouver is a casual-cool city. My go-to outfit was a pair of dark wash jeans, a long sleeve shirt, waterproof jacket, and leather shoes. I never felt out of place or underdressed anywhere I went.

Quick-Dry Clothes

Since Vancouver is Canada’s wettest city, opt for quick-drying clothes — not dense denim or sweaters that soak up water — to stay warm and comfortable. If you go on a whale watching boat ride, your quick-drying clothes will be welcome as waves splash over the boat’s sides.

Sunscreen

Whether you’re out on the water or wandering the Olympic Village, you’ll want some sunscreen. Click to continue…

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Well over a decade ago, my best friend moved to Hong Kong. With no fear or hesitation, she up and left the United States and took residence in this bustling city in the East. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to visit her chosen city many times; lucky me!

Having her there to show me her city made it feel more as if I was a local traveler seeing things from her perspective. As with other destinations, the first time you go, you feel like a tourist. The second time, everything feels a bit more familiar and you attempt places that are off the beaten path. The third time you want nothing to do with a guidebook, preferring to explore unknown territory and feel as if you’re already a local, and after that… you’re home.

Hong Kong is cosmopolitan. Amidst a homogenous population, political turmoil, and a thriving expat community – Hong Kong excites, ignites, and is abuzz with a blend of worlds both old and new. Within two days of arriving you’ll be planning your return. The aromas of noodles of all kinds draw you in. Lane after lane and escalator level after escalator level finds you winding your way through streets and alleyways filled with trinkets aplenty and taste sensations galore.

English is a national language, public transportation is fully accessible and easy to understand, and the people are friendly. Hong Kong is filled with delicious cuisine from market stalls to five star restaurants and the city radiates culture, tradition, and technology at every turn. Spend time on Hong Kong Island or hop across to one of the many smaller islands. Jump on a train to main land China for the day, or hop a ferry across to Macau. All of your senses awaken in the sights, sounds and smells of Hong Kong’s metropolis.

Places to Visit

There are city adventures large and small, island hopping excursions that find you afloat on a traditional junk or the well-known Star Ferry, trails that wind their way to the very top of the highest peak, and cultural gems hidden amongst the forests and amidst the streets. Whether foodie or forager, hiker or happy hour hopper, summer seeker or winter wanderer – Hong Kong is always calling.

Here are some of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong:

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You, my friend, are lucky. Why? Not only because you’re clearly planning for a grand adventure in China (one of the world’s most interesting and rapidly developing countries), but also because you’re on the right side of sweat-wicking technology’s prevalence in our everyday lives.

Seriously.

The seasons are drastic across China, and a wise traveler knows to be prepared for any curve ball (or snowfall) mother nature throws their way. It doesn’t take a modern-day Confucius to figure out what to pack for China. Here’s everything you need to know to start the adventure from the moment you begin to pack your bags.

The Regions of China

China is anything but small. Shaped like a rooster, China’s beak to its tail feathers traverse over 13,000 miles of varied terrain and climates. Generally speaking, the north experiences four extreme seasons — cold and dry in the winter, hot and humid in the summer, with a nice reprieve for springtime and autumn. China’s south, with a subtropical climate, experiences mild winters and muggy summers. Inland or western China, such as Tibet and the Xinjiang plateau, experience much lower temperatures year round (due in large part to its dramatic mountain landscape and elevation).

From tropical to alpine, if your plan is to set foot in multiple regions of China, it is important that you pack for a variety of extremely diverse climates. We’d hate for you to show up at the Harbin ice festival with only one pair of flimsy flip flops after your cruise down the Yangtze River.

This packing list has you covered through every season and region of China. Feel free to click through to the section that applies to your trip, specifically.

Table of Contents

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