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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Mail Bag
Okay, I really don't have a huge mail bag of questions, but there are a few. I figured this is as good a time as any to answer. Besides, I need a break from doing bills.

Ziploc Bags
We're packing anything that could possibly leak or break in a ziploc bag to contain the damage. I also packed all of Sera's clothes, blankets, etc... in the ziploc bags. By squeezing all the air out, I was able to make them pretty flat and easy to pack. I tried putting an entire outfit in one bag. I'm not packing Jim and my clothes that way. Our suitcases aren't the largest, but they're not the smallest either. If they take up some bulk, I'll be less tempted to overpack them. We have to watch the weight on these bags.

Bag Weight
Even though international flights allow you to check two 50# bags per passenger, domestic Chinese flights only allow one 44# bag per passenger. We will also be taking one carry on bag each, plus I will bring the diaper bag backpack as my personal item.

New Money
We have to bring uncirculated or as close to new looking bills as we can. The officials will actually check each bill as they count our payment. I've read stories of money being rejected because of a small tear, a pencil mark, or a paper clip crease. Banks will tell you they cannot order new money from the Federal Reserve. This is not true. They normally can't, but money for an international adoption is an exception, and they can order it for this purpose. The banks who say they can't may not be familiar with this process.

We were very lucky. Our bank didn't blink an eye. When I explained what I needed they said they'd done this often in the past. They had our money for us quickly, and it's brand spanking new.

TSA Regulations
Any liquid or gel that you want to take in your carry on must fit inside a quart-sized ziploc bag. You are allowed one per person. No container within this bag may be larger than 3 oz. The example given on the website states that this is the original container size. For example, a large tube of toothpaste squeezed down and containg less than 3 oz. would be confiscated. You must have a travel-sized tube of 3 oz or less.

Medications, whether prescription or OTC, are unlimited, but must be in a separate ziploc bag. When going through security, you must tell the screener that you have this separate bag and pull it out when you pull your personal ziploc bag out of your carry on.

You may bring snacks with you on the international flight, but cannot remove any opened products. If you don't finish your snack, you must throw it away before disembarking.

Within China, you are allowed to bring a bottle of water, formula, etc... on board with you, but must open it and drink in front of the security screener. This includes sealed bottles.

Here's one I wish someone had told me. When you receive your tickets from the travel agent, you will be told to call the airlines directly to confirm. With the domestic U.S. airlines, you can probably go online and select your seats. We did. These tickets will probably be e-tickets. If you are flying one of the Chinese airlines, you will receive the cardboard boarding pass tickets. You will be told to call the airlines 72 hours before your scheduled flight to confirm and get your seat assignment. What they don't tell you, and I learned when I tried to call today, is that the U.S. offices for these airlines are only open M-F during regular business hours. Since we are flying into Shanghai, we will be catching a domestic Chinese flight there to Beijing. I guess I'll be calling to confirm on Monday morning.

Many electronics sold today actually don't need a converter, just the plug adaptor. If you have one of those AC adaptors that you plug your cord into for your laptop, video camera, etc... then it can take the varying voltage. You just need to be able to plug it into the wall.

Before I go back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing, let me do a quick shout out to BillPay or whatever it's called in your neck of the woods. We've actually been using this for a few years and love it. It's a free service from our bank. I set up all our bills in it and they pay out automatically. You can set it for monthly, quarterly, and a bunch of other options. I'll usually sit down every other week or so with our mail and just double check amounts and dates, but it's been wonderful. It's nice knowing that even though we'll be out of the country, our paychecks will still automatically deposit and our bills will get paid.

Speaking of which, I'd better get back to that.



Blogger Colleen said...

Oh your good......this is good stuff. Some I knew some I didn't. Thank you. :)

Blogger Stacy said...

Wow! Thanks for all of the great tips! I am going to copy the part about the new bills. That will be important to remember.

Paying bills ~ YUCK!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Oooh good tips! Thanks!


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