If you’re interested in traveling to China, whether to teach English abroad or take a holiday, you’re going to have a fantastic time. However, before you take off, check out these ten tips. They’re designed to help prepare you as much as possible for your time in China before you take flight.
Don’t Place Chopsticks Upright In Rice
China is home to many long-standing traditions. One of the traditions is leaving rice, with upright chopsticks, at the tomb of loved ones. Thus, when you casually set your chopsticks in your rice it’s considered to be offensive. This is a common mistake among travelers, but a costly one at that.
You’ll Want To Pay With Cash
For the most part, credit cards are still a very American thing. It’s unlikely you will find a store that accepts your credit card, so plan to bring cash. And for an added tip, the local currency of the Yuan is the only one accepted. While you can get away with paying with some foreign currencies in Europe, that’s not the case for China.
There’s No Need To Tip
One of the more awkward experiences of traveling is knowing whether it’s safe to tip. Worry no longer – tipping in China is not a thing. That means your taxi, food, and any other bought services come at the listed price.
Attempt To Pick Up Some Mandarin
Mandarin is quite the language to try to learn. A tonal language with thousands of complex characters, makes for a difficult language to learn. But this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to pick up any Mandarin. Download an app such as Duolingo or use Italki to pick up some important words and phrases.
Ask Chinese Citizens How To Access Blocked Sites
The Chinese government blocks many websites. As a result, the Chinese have become crafty and learned how to get around the blocked sites. Ask the locals how they access certain sites if there’s one you need to use. This is typically done using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to gain access.
China Is A Haggling Country
Some of the most fun you can have as a traveler is haggling. It’s an enjoyable experience to babble back and forth with someone. It’s even better when you land a great deal. Learning how to haggle is an important skill set to add to your repertoire of travel skills. If you don’t feel comfortable haggling, remember that this is a past time of the locals. They love it.
Bus And Train Travel Is Amazing
China is home to some of the best transportation in the world. Not only do they offer high-speed rail services, but the countryside views are magical. Traveling via bus and rail is quite inexpensive as well. The only downside of Chinese travel is inconsistency. Buses and trains are often delayed, so don’t expect to always be on time.
Grab Your Visa In Advance
Unlike many countries where you get your visa when you arrive at customs, in China you need to get it well in advance. There are plenty of great guides out there to help you get your Chinese visa.
And Some Travelers’ Insurance
While China is a safe place to travel, it’s always best to prepare. Getting travel insurance is a simple process if you haven’t done so before. It’s typical to pay a one-time fee which covers an extended period of time abroad. A few options are WorldNomads, Allianz, and InsureMyTrip.
Air Pollution Comes In Waves
You’ve likely heard of the air pollution issues in China. These issues are prominent. Yet, the air pollution isn’t consistent from the day-to-day. Some days are much worse than others. If it’s a particularly bad day for air pollution, avoid as much physical exertion as possible. This will prevent you from feeling sick.
China is a wonderful country with an enriching culture and delicious food. Enjoy your time there, but before you leave, pay heed to these tips. They will help you to be well-prepared before you land.