Planning a trip to China soon? You’ve got a lot of planning and preparation to do! Planning a trip to China is a lot like planning a trip to anywhere else: you will face strict visa requirements and be prepared to figure out alternative ways to access your favorite website (more on that later). So what are the main things you will need to do to prepare for your fantastic trip to this beautiful country?
Prepare Your Visa In Advance
Obtaining a visa to travel around China is notoriously tricky, as many seasoned travelers will let you know. However, it is not impossible; you simply need to follow a few more steps. You will need to begin the process well in advance of when you will be traveling to leave enough time to follow the multiple procedures. To start the application process, you’ll need to contact the Chinese embassy or consulate inside the country where you are currently residing. The alternative is to hire a company to do the footwork for you, but this is costly, and you will still need to turn up to prove your identity and travel plans, etc. Furthermore, you will need to inform the Chinese embassy of your travel plans and the names and locations of the hotels you will stay in. Moreover, it is prudent to have multiple copies of your official documentation in case of loss.
Purchase A VPN
China is a leading country when it comes to internet censorship. This has been the case since its first introduction of internet control in 1995. The country has been known to block websites and slow down connection speeds to prevent its citizens from accessing certain information. In addition, Chinese corporations have been known for their technological innovations and investments in networks that censor their customers’ traffic and content. If you are traveling in China, you need to research VPNs that work in China to enable you to access the information and content that is not available on the internet there. A VPN provider will help you bypass geo-restrictions and avoid getting slowed down by networks so that your connection speeds can be as fast as possible. However, not all VPNs are created equally, so you should perform your own due diligence to see the best options for your Chinese adventure.
Learn Some Basic Phrases
When traveling to any country, it is considered good manners to learn some basic phrases so you can communicate more easily with the locals. You should know some basic Chinese terms to make yourself more approachable if you visit China. They can help you in many ways, including making friends and getting the locals to care for your needs. While you don’t need to become fluent, you should make a conscious effort to learn things like food items, asking for a ticket, where the bathroom is, if there are any rooms available, etc. Make a note of some common phrases in a notebook to have them readily available. However, Chinese is a tonal language, so don’t be offended if you are met with blank expressions on your first few attempts!
Bring Power Adapters
Traveling abroad and finding yourself without a charger has become a big problem for many people. You should always make sure that the adapter you bring with you is compatible with the electrical systems in the countries you’re visiting, and if it isn’t, then take a fully charged portable battery and your phone or laptop. However, the voltage of the electrical current varies depending on where you are located in China, so it’s always better to bring your own power adapters than to rely on others for this critical travel accessory. You may find shops that sell adapters for your specific plug, but you shouldn’t count on it, and it is always better to be prepared in these cases.
The use of WeChat in China is not a new thing. All you need to do is go to a shopping mall or a food court and see how many people are using it for everything from ordering food to making purchases. And the Chinese have been using it since 2011 when Tencent launched the app in China. If you can, you should download and set up the app, ready for use when you arrive. It can save you a lot of stress and anguish as you can do almost everything with it, from paying taxes to translation conversations.
Whether you’re traveling to China for business, for school, or just to sight-see, you now have a few tips for preparing for your trip ahead of time. Remember that it’s essential to be respectful of Chinese customs and learn basic etiquette before going. While some of these tips seem obvious, they will help you get the most from your experience.