Tips Before You Travel to China

What should I do before travel to China?

1. Bring all the necessary documents you need to travel in China.

Don’t forget your passport with all necessary visas, and your international airline tickets.

2. Carry your passport with you at all times.

It’s required by Chinese law. Keep a photocopy on hand, too, in case the original gets lost. Or, upload a scan to a place you can access.

3. Arrive prepared in China.

Though there is shopping on every street corner, many of the things you may be used to may be unavailable to you in China. Bring toilet paper as most restrooms will not provide it. Plan ahead by saving leftover partial rolls of toilet paper, in advance of the trip. Each time you have a partial roll left, place this in a baggie and toss it into your suitcase. Six to eight small rolls will last a family of four through a two week trip. Five-star hotels will always have western-style toilets and toilet paper. Most larger airports will have at least one western toilet in the lavatory as well. Take only a key to your house or a car key with you. Leave all others at home.
•You need your own toilet paper, especially if you are traveling by train.
•These toilets are only available in the ‘country-side’, not in the metropolitan areas in China.
•You can buy toilet paper in China. It’s not expensive.

4. Bring Pepto Bismol and Immodium chewables.

Water quality in China is very poor and you may develop slight intestinal problems if you use tap water to brush your teeth, or if you eat vegetables which have not been cooked after having been rinsed in tap water. Chew two Pepto Bismol tablets before your meal to help prevent intestinal troubles.
•Again, only in the country-side places, not in the ‘metropolitan’ areas.

5. Bring any other medications you may need on your trip as well.

6. Bring clothes according to the season when you are traveling.

China gets hotand rainy in the summer, and very cold in the winter. Bring plenty of clothes, but remember you can always find a laundromat to get your clothes washed, or use the laundry service at your hotel. Beware, however, some laundry places use detergent that can irritate sensitive skin. Having your clothing dry-cleaned instead will avoid this problem.

7. Dress the part.

The standard dress for most places in China would best be described as “smart casual.” If your tour involves some formal occasions, bring along a formal suit or dress, too.

•China is somewhat like the USA. Summer in the south is very hot and humid, and winter in the north is cold and dry.

8. Be careful not to get any water in your mouth when you shower.

It tastes normal, but could easily make you sick. Always brush your teeth with bottled water.
•In small cities, bottled water that was filtered with cheap nylon filters is still being sold. Buy name brand bottled water in big supermarkets.

9. Consult your physician(s) or a travel clinic in advance of travel.

Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. Be sure to have your prescriptions filled before your trip. China requires that you present a letter from your doctor indicating the need for the use of any psychotropic medicines you might be taking. Bring antibiotics and any other prescriptions you will have to take during your travel. Count enough for your days of travel, plus a few spare pills. Bring all of this in the original prescription container. The Centers for Disease Control also keep an updated page on health information for travelers to China.

10. Write the contact information for each of your doctors on an index card.

Take this with you during your day trips in case you have a medical problem, and need to call home.

11. Stock a hip pack for each member of your party with a small roll of toilet paper, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Non-alcohol hand sanitizer or wipes are best, as Chinese airport security will occasionally confiscate alcohol-based sanitizers (especially in Guangzhou). Enclose also a granola bar, some cough drops, and some gum, if you’d like. These will come in handy as you travel around town. Include a flashlight since electrical blackouts can happen at any time, and you might find yourself in a dark room.
• Remember that you are in China and not anywhere else! In bathrooms in China, to reduce the amount of waste used in the area there will most likely be no toilet paper so carry around lots of tissues. Tissues can also be found in local markets for only about 1-2 Yuan.

12. Take traveler’s checks, and some cash, as credit cards are not accepted by many restaurants and shops.

Bring a security pack or money belt which will allow you to keep any return flight or train tickets and your traveler’s checks, credit cards, and or cash, safely attached to your person, underneath your clothes. This way you can keep essential items safe if there is no safe in your hotel room.
• The major banks in big and medium size cities have ATM that accept foreign ATM debit cards.
•In small cities, some banks would not even exchange your USD for RMB.

13. Other things you may need: deodorant (cant be found even in big cities), raincoat and/or umbrella, hat, sunglasses & sunscreen (depending on the season and your destination), insect repellent, converter (power adapter) if you have one or if it’s necessary for you to have one. If you are a woman, bring your own feminine hygiene products.

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