How To Best Prepare For China Travel

Traveling to China can be a unique and exciting experience. Many travelers enjoy the Chinese culture, food, and people, but can become overwhelmed by the amount of preparation required to fully enjoy the trip. In this article, we will discuss the best way to prepare for a trip to China.

The first step in preparing for a trip to China is making sure to have all of the necessary documents. A valid passport and visa are essential as are signed forms, such as medical certificates and insurance documents. In some cases, travelers may also need a Chinese driver’s license or other paperwork. For every traveler, it is important to check the entry requirements for the country before beginning any required preparation.

The next step in preparing for a trip to China is to determine the destination. With a population of over a billion, China has many popular destinations, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. It is best to decide upon the cities to visit and plan out the route in advance. By doing so, travelers can ensure that they will get to see the best of what China has to offer.

When traveling to China, it is important to have a basic knowledge of the language. While many Chinese people do speak some English, having basic knowledge of Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese can be beneficial. A good way to prepare for communication in China is to download an app like Google Translate and learn some basic phrases.

For those traveling to rural areas or small towns, it is a good idea to bring cash instead of credit cards. While paying with a credit card is possible in some areas, many stores still prefer cash. Moreover, it’s recommended to bring local currency since ATMs may not accept foreign cards. It’s also important to check for currency restrictions before traveling.

Before going to China, it is also important to familiarize oneself with the local customs. There are many ancient traditions that have been preserved in China, such as the giving of lucky red envelopes and the practice of eating with chopsticks. Knowing and understanding these customs will help travelers respect the culture and create a positive relationship with the locals.

Lastly, it is important to ensure that the trip is well-planned out. From booking flights and hotels in advance, to choosing what clothes to pack, it is important to make sure that everything is in order before the trip. Planning ahead will help ensure that the trip is a stress-free and enjoyable experience.

Customs and Courtesies

In China there are various traditions, customs and courtesies that travelers should be aware of. Gift-giving is a special custom in China and often involves the giving of lucky red envelopes. China also has many cultural taboos, such as showing disrespect to elders or praising one’s own country. It is important to be aware of these customs and courtesies to ensure a better experience during the trip.

Travelers should also remember to be polite and courteous. Chinese people are known for being friendly and accommodating. Therefore, it is important to be respectful and show appreciation for their hospitality. Additionally, travelers should also remember not to overly criticize the culture or make jokes about it, as this may cause offense.

To ensure a smoother trip, it is also helpful to avoid political and taboo topics while conversing with locals. As some beliefs and opinions could be misunderstood or not well received, it is better to avoid conversations about sensitive topics.

Lastly, it is advisable to carry the Chinese translation of important documents such as insurance policies, visas, passports, etc. as this can help during any police or customs inquiries.

Food and Nutrition

Eating is an important part of a traveler’s experience in China, and it is essential to be aware of some of the local culinary customs. Chinese food varies from region to region and is traditionally served family style. Chopsticks are the main utensil used for eating, and it can be beneficial to learn to use them.

It is advisable to avoid eating raw or unclean food as it can cause health problems. Additionally, travelers should not drink tap water as it’s not safe for consumption. Instead, bottled water should be purchased from shops or convenience stores.

Tourists should also be aware of any cultural food taboos, such as stay away from shark fin soup or any dishes made with endangered species. Furthermore, travelers should be aware of what they are eating to avoid potential allergic reactions. In general, the safest option is to stick to dishes that are familiar and cooked thoroughly.

Lastly, it is important to remember to only buy food from reliable vendors to avoid getting sick. Any food that looks questionable, smells bad, or has been sitting out for a long time should be avoided as it is most likely not safe for consumption.


The transportation system in China is vast and efficient, but travelers should be aware of how to get around. Trains are the most common form of transportation in cities, but buses are also available. For longer distances, most people use airplanes or overnight sleeper trains.

Hailing a cab is also an option but it is mainly recommended in cities as taxis in rural areas may not be well regulated. To avoid potential scams, it is best to ask the hotel staff to call a reputable cab company. Moreover, some cities also have bike-share programs that provide an economical way to get around.

It is also important to stay safe while traveling in China. It is best to avoid walking alone at night and to keep valuables out of sight. For additional safety, travelers may consider downloading taxi-hailing and other services that are provided by companies such as DiDi. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the emergency numbers in case of any incidents.

Lastly, travelers should keep a map or cities guide at hand to help them get around quickly and easily. It is also beneficial to have a list of essential words and phrases written in Chinese as this can help when asking for directions.

Health and Safety

China is generally a safe country but there are certain precautions that need to be taken when traveling. To avoid any unsavory incidents, travelers should always remain aware of their surroundings. It is also best to stick to well-known areas and keep valuables out of sight.

Travelers should also be up to date with their vaccinations, including those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies. It is also advisable to bring a first-aid kit to provide quick treatment for minor injuries.

When traveling to a different country, it is also important to be aware of any existing laws and regulations. Travelers should remember to carry their identification documents with them and keep them out of sight at all times.

In addition, visitors should also register with their home country’s embassy or consulate as soon as they arrive in China. This way, travelers can receive assistance in the case of an emergency.

Lastly, in case of illness or injury, travelers should purchase adequate health insurance and contact their insurance provider for further instructions. If medical coverage is not available, it is best to find a reputable hospital that is well equipped to deal with any medical emergency.

Making the Most of the Trip

To make the most of a trip to China, travelers should make sure to plan ahead. By allowing enough time to explore the country, travelers will get to experience the best of what China has to offer. It is also a good idea to take time to relax and take part in activities such as yoga or sightseeing to ensure a memorable stay.

Additionally, travelers should get a China SIM card for their trip as this will provide extra convenience. With a China SIM card, travelers can stay connected to the internet, call internationally, or use mobile payments.

Finally, when traveling to China, travelers should take time to enjoy the local culture, traditions, and food. Going out of one’s comfort zone is a great way to discover something new, and by doing so travelers will be able to get the most out of the trip.

Bernice Sorrells

Bernice A. Sorrells is a freelance journalist and travel writer from the United States. She has written extensively about China, covering topics such as culture, history, politics, and economics. Bernice has traveled extensively throughout China, visiting many of its provinces and cities.

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