Ohhhh dear readers as I said in my IG post yesterday. I would have appreciated knowing all this before my trip to China.
Is not that I was not prepared, because I spent a week doing research about everything related to Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai BUT there are some important things attach to every recommendation that is good to know.
So, let me share a few smart tips and hacks that will pave the way to a stress-free experience, of course I can’t guarantee you won’t hit bumps allow the way but I think they will ease your experience.
This post is related to all you need to do or know before going to China. I will post more useful tips that are practical, once you are in the country.
Considerate before buying.
While planning your trip there is 2 crucial things you need to considerate before buying flight and hotel:
Before buying Flight-ticket: I flew Cleveland-Detroit-Beijing-Shenzhen. Sadly I lost my connection (snif snif) from Beijing to Shenzhen. Customs in Beijing Airport can last forever! My flight arrived at 3:10pm and my connection was at 5pm, by the time I finish all the process, my flight had 15 minutes in the air. It took me 2hrs10Min to do security process in the same terminal – Beijing and Pudong airports are humongous! My recommendation is to book a flight with at least 2.30 – 3hrs of layover.
Before Booking Hotel: At least in Shenzhen is hard to find recognized hotel brands. I stayed at the Grand Skylight, so cheap that I was scared but OMG this hotel is total luxury and spectacular service. My recommendation here is that you should know that ONLY some hotels accept foreigners, WHY? Because they don’t have staff that speaks English. So, while you’re booking, make sure you send an email first asking if they have staff that speaks your language.
I read that most of Chinese understand and speaks English, but if you plan on visiting the smaller cities like Shenzhen, will be very hard to find someone who speaks or understand the language.
If you have time and you’re going for a week or more try to learn basic Mandarin. Is not a necessity but it helps a lot. I didn’t have too much time so in my case I used a Chinese translate app on my phone. But download it BEFORE your trip, don’t trust on “They have WIFI everywhere” they kind of do, BUT with everything blocked. I will explain what I did about that.
I used iTranslate Pro version, it was 9.99 USD for 2 months and has a 7 days trial. This one in particular (I tried 2 others) allows you to use it OFFLINE, and also to talk-translate conversations from English to Mandarin and vice versa. Has a lot of languages available.
You also can save few sentences with basic questions you might need and show to someone in your phone.
Internet Access in China
I knew there was no access to Google, IG, Facebook…and read that WhatsApp, Skype and Facetime works but guess what? When you use WIFI in airports just allows you to use WeChat.
WhatsApp works like every once in a while during the day. None of them worked at the airport using the Free WIFI. So, if you want to communicate with friends and family while you are in ASIA airport stops, download the WeChat app and ask them to do it too.
As I recommended in previous tip, also do it BEFORE the trip because WeChat sends you a code to your phone, and if you are without roaming, you will never get the txt to confirm the app. If you need to make calls add money to your Skype account.
NOW, for social media users like me! Here’s what I did to have access to everything…. BUY a VPN. In my phone and IPad I use HOLA that works very well in Dominican Republic but it didn’t in China. So looking for a good one I found and used Betternet.
VPN stands for ‘virtual private networking’ in not a Tech-definition It makes your phone think he is in USA so all your social media app works.
Basic but WE tend to forget
-Stock up on basic medications:
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen for headaches and small aches and pains.
- Antibacterial ointment for scrapes and cuts
- Products to relieve stomach upset/diarrhea/ constipation.
- Cream for insect bites
- Eye drops for dry, dusty climates, also something for your nose.
– Buy tissues and hand sanitizers: Bathrooms not always has toilet paper, soap or tissues…
-Pack a travel adaptor: You will need a voltage converter and plug adaptor in order to use U.S. appliances because standard voltage is 220 volts, 50 Hz AC.
I bought this one:
-Let your bank know you are going to China including any layover country-city.
-Leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member: If you’re going someplace remote this is a must, especially when you can’t count on cell reception, and doubly so if you’re traveling solo.
-Make copies of your most important information, NOT just in your phone because you can run out of battery: Take printed copies of your passport, credit card account numbers/emergency call numbers, itinerary and travel insurance details.
-Is a long flight don’t forget:
- Eye mask and ear plugs
- Water bottle
- Music / movies / books / magazine
- Warm socks
- Mobile charger and headphones
- Mini toiletries
Handy information is always good! Hope to help you make your visit run as smoothly as possible.
Stay tunned for next posts related to tips during the trip and my 72 hours experience in Shenzhen!