China is a country like no other on earth, and once visited it will never be forgotten. It draws visitors from across the globe for business, study and leisure reasons, and once there, they can marvel at this nation of a thousand contrasts, where the ancient sits side by side with the ultra-modern. Whatever the reason for your trip to China, proper preparation is essential if you want to make the most of it. These four tips are especially important for first-time travelers to China and will ensure that the visit goes smoothly and successfully.
When you travel to a new country, it’s always essential that you check the latest health advice and take the necessary precautions. Consult your physician to see if any inoculations are advised for the area of China you’re traveling to, along with advice on the availability of any prescription medicines you regularly take. It’s also important that you have comprehensive health insurance in place, however long you plan on staying. It makes sense to consult a specialist website offering the very best prices on health insurance for expats who travel to China, as you’ll be able to find a plan that has the cover you need at the most competitive price. There are several places you can check insurance prices at and this site has some really good information on what to look for before you get it.
Obtain Your Visas in Advance
Preparing to travel to a country as exciting as China can be a dream come true, but if you haven’t applied for your visas in time, it could turn into a nightmare scenario that leaves you unable to travel after all. All countries have different visa requirements, but American citizens will need a visa depending on the purpose of their visit. If you’re traveling as a student or for work, you’ll need a supporting letter from your letter or employer. You will be refused entry to China if your passport has less than six months left to run, and if there are less than two blank pages for stamps. Visas must be obtained from a Chinese embassy in your home country, and this can be a lengthier process than you might imagine, so be sure to make the application at least six months before you travel.
Have Some Language Help Available
English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist hot spots, but in its beautiful rural areas, you could struggle to make yourself understood. If possible, take lessons in the most widely spoken language, Mandarin, well in advance of your travel so that you at least know a few important phrases. Technology can also be used to provide much-needed language help, so make sure that your mobile phone is well charged, and that you have access to an app that can translate English to Mandarin, and vice versa.
It’s a similar situation with credit cards as it is to speak English; you’ll be able to do it in areas that are popular with tourists, but in the heart of China they may be of little use. Always carry cash on you, and if you change your US dollars into Yuan at the airport or hotel, always check to see that you’re getting the best possible rate. China is a very safe country for travelers from overseas, but as with any country, take precautions when carrying cash and other valuables.
China is not only one of the most magnificent countries in the world, but its people are among the friendliest too, once you get to know them and their customs. These four handy tips, from getting the best health insurance to carrying cash in rural areas, can make your first trip to China a memorable one for all the right reasons, and it could be the first journey of many.