Traveling the world is something that most people dream about doing in their lifetime. There are so many great countries and cultures that are waiting to be explored.
China is certainly one of those amazing locations. For starters, it’s enormous! There are a great number of beautiful cities that would take weeks for vacationers to see. Obviously, most people can’t afford to spend that much time traveling, which is why creating a thorough vacation itinerary is vital in order to maximize their enjoyment.
Here are 12 excellent travel tips for anyone taking a trip to China to help make it the best vacation ever!
1. This tip is vital to anyone who likes to avoid crowds when they travel: Never visit China during one of their national holidays. Since employers don’t offer vacation time to workers, everyone travels during the state-sanctioned holidays, and it can be incredibly overwhelming if you’re a tourist.
2. If you plan on buying a train ticket to travel between cities, you should do so at least one month in advance. The difference in comfort level between first and second-class can be significant, and therefore the first-class tickets sell out very quickly. You do have the option to buy a ticket without guaranteed seating, but you might have to find a spot on the floor until you get to your destination.
3. Here’s another important tip if you plan on using railway stations: you can only enter by showing both your ticket and your passport. You’ll have to wait in a separate line for each one, so plan your time accordingly.
4. There are some things that are best to avoid thinking about if you want to alleviate travel stress. For example, unless you get onto a sleeper-train at its initial departure stop, the bed sheets won’t be changed after the previous occupant. This might sound gross, but you’ll be fine as long as you don’t dwell on it.
5. One of the best things about traveling around China is that the public transportation system is excellent. Just know that if you’re going to ride a bus, you need to have the exact amount of change. Also, the buses stop running pretty early, so if you take one, make sure you plan on returning early enough to ride one back.
Chiu Ho-yang / Flickr
6. Here’s a tip that will definitely sound strange to most people, but it’s perfectly normal when you’re in China: never leave a tip. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a restaurant or in a cab, avoid doing it. It’s considered unacceptable in the Chinese culture.
Tzuhsun Hsu / Flickr
7. If you happen to make friends with some locals and they invite you out to dinner, they will almost certainly pay for your meal. Of course, if you invite them out instead, they will expect the same courtesy.
8. Be prepared to be the only English-speaking person around. Many times, vacationers will try to learn basic phrases to communicate with locals, but the Chinese language is so difficult that it’s pointless. Your best bet is to download an app with your phone that can help with translations.
9. Here’s something that might freak out social media users everywhere: there are no Facebook or Google services anywhere in China. Things like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube just won’t work. So, be prepared to experience a little social isolation during your stay. Use the free time to check out the country instead!
10. When looking for a hotel to stay in, keep in mind that not all hotels in China have the right to host foreigners. When booking one, always make sure to check for the phrase “Only for citizens of mainland China” in small print.
11. One of the great things about China, especially if you’re trying to travel cheaply, is that you can find hot water everywhere. If you bring a thermos along with you, you can make tea or noodles on-the-go!
12. When it comes to getting directions, rely on a map as opposed to asking someone. Often times, the locals are so concerned about saving face that they won’t admit to you that they don’t know where something is, and they’ll lead you in the wrong direction. Then, you’ll be even farther away from your intended destination.
Now that you’ve read these essential travel tips, plan a trip to China sooner than later. It’s a gorgeous country full of rich culture and welcoming people. You won’t regret it!
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