Things to Know When Planning a Trip to China

When planning a trip to China, preparation is important as you are not only leaving the country, you have to follow China’s guidelines for entry and touring the countryside and cities. Not only do you have to know what paperwork to take, you should know the best times of the year to take the holiday.

When to Go: Preferred Times for Holiday Travel

While it may be rather difficult to make a generalization about the weather in such a big country as China, there still are parts of the year when traveling is better. For example, in the springtime, temperatures make travel more preferable from the latter part of March into May. In the fall, travelers like seeing Beijing or Shanghai in September and October or the first part of November. If you choose to go during the winter months, the northern part of the country can become bone-chilling cold. Therefore, if you can select your time of departure, it is better to make travel arrangements during the spring or fall months of the year.

What to Check before You Go

Before you embark on your adventure, you will need to make sure that your passport has not expired and that it is valid. Also, check the spelling on the tickets for your flight to make sure the spelling matches with the name on your passport. Make a couple copies of your passport photo page to have a back-up copy in case your passport is stolen or lost. Your friends and family member should receive a copy of the itinerary for the trip as well.

Acquiring a Visa for Your Trip

No British citizen cannot enter China without a visa. Fortunately, China holidays and tour operators can assist you in acquiring a visa as many of the tour operators offer Visa services for their clients who are traveling to China. You can also obtain a visa by contacting the Visa Application Service Centre for China via their website at

Are You Staying Longer Than a Month?

Once you obtain a Visa, it should be good for three months from the issue date. Therefore, an ideal time to apply for a Visa is about a month before you leave for China. Visas are typically issued for stays up to a month. If you plan to stay longer in China, than a lengthier stay can be granted through U.K. Embassy officials within China. A passport must be valid for a minimum of six months before its expiry date.

Visa Stays and Requirements

EU and British citizens must enter Hong Kong with a visa if they plan to stay for a maximum of six months. Visitors from the EU and Britain can also go through Macau without a visa for a stay lasting as long as 20 days. You must obtain a separate permit if you wish to visit Tibet. Tour operators can include the permit in tour packages that include the destination.

Landing in China – What You Need to Know

If you book arrival at the airport and work through a travel company, you will be met at the airport by a representative of the tour operator once you go through customs and have picked up your luggage. A placard will be featured with the tour company’s name as well as the travelers’ names that have booked tours.

Checking in Luggage

If you book your travel economy class to China, your baggage limit will be 20kg per bag. While the rules on baggage weight are stringently enforced in some airports, in other locales they are not quite as strict.

Nevertheless, if you find that you have exceeded the luggage weight within China, you will not be assessed a tremendously large sum. The charges run around $4 per kilo. Also, whenever the baggage is checked in, it has to be locked while in transport in China. If your bag is found to be unlocked, a member or members of the train or flight on which you are traveling will lock the baggage and charge you for the additional locks.

Public Toilets

The hygiene of the public loss in China differs substantially. Travel experts advise that travelers use the toilets that are available within shops, restaurants and hotels catering to tourists. Also, tap water in China is not considered potable or safe to drink. Kettles are provided in hotels for boiling water for tea.

Purchase a SIM Card to Save Money

Internet and mobile phone services are available extensively throughout China. Therefore, tourists can make and receive calls. Tourists are advised to purchase a local SIM card in order to make calls at a lower rate and avoid the landline charges in hotel properties.

The Internet and Free Wi-Fi

The Internet can conveniently be accessed in most all hotels in China. You can find computers in hotel business centers, although you have to pay a fee, which can end up being rather expensive. You may want to carry your own laptop on your trip instead as computer hotels charge by the minute for the Internet. Laptops are preferred as many of the tourist hotels have free Wi-Fi.

Flights in China

Flights featured in China are operated by the airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines. Routes coming out of Hong Kong are operated by Dragonair. Most of the aircraft is made up of the Airbus or Boeing type aircraft. New airports in the country include a new terminal #3 at the airport in Beijing and a new airport in Shanghai called the Pudong Airport.


In China, tipping is a main income source for tour guides. Therefore, they expect it if you book China travels through a tour operator. Tips are a reward for service that is, above the bar or excellent. If you feel you have not received the kind of service you deserve, you are not expected to offer a tip.

If service behaviors were not satisfactory, you should report your dissatisfaction to the tour company. Tips for good service average around £4 per day per person for the local guide and a little less than that per person for the driver. Naturally, how much you choose to tip is discretionary. Tips are given after your holiday at the airport or train station.

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