What clothing should you pack when you must carry all of your luggage yourself and you want to travel light ? Take a “bare” minimum of clothing with you. Dress comfortably and casually. Choose your clothing for its practicality. In warm climates loose lightweight cotton clothing will feel better against your skin than sticky synthetic fabrics and tight-fitting clothing. If you plan to visit tropical regions you can protect your skin from too much exposure to strong sunlight and disease-carrying mosquitos if you resist the urge to wear as little clothing as possible. You’ll be far safer with long-sleeved shirts, high necklined tops and long trousers. Just keep to light colored, lightweight natural fabrics and loose-fitting clothes to maximize the comfort of your clothing.Casual comfortable clothing, especially if you veer towards the sloppy, will also decrease your odds of being marked as a wealthy target by local thieves who work the tourist spots. If you want to look a bit more dressy for the evening, add a thin, weightless, colorful scarf to your simple neutral-colored day clothes. Leave your jewelry at home. It’s heavy, bulky and could attract thieves. If you’re a clothes horse, try to resist the urge to pack one set of clothing for casual daywear, a fancier set for restaurants at dinnertime and a third set for an elegant evening out. You’ll just wear yourself out trying to be fashionable if you must drag all of these outfits around from locale to locale. Don’t worry about being seen in the same set of clothing two days in a row. No one but your travel partner (or the hotel clerk) will see you more than once anyway and, if your partner is practical, he or she will also be wearing one set of clothing throughout the trip.As to clothing choices, in general I wear one comfortable, loose-fitting pair of casual trousers and assume that if I get caught in the rain, it won’t kill me. I’ll dry out soon enough. I pack no spares. Extra pairs of pants or skirts can add considerably to your luggage load. Pick something in a neutral color that will go with anything else you’ll be wearing. Trousers with plenty of pocket space are a plus, especially if you might be buying small odds and ends in souvenir shops, or a little junk food, as you stroll around sightseeing each day.To travel light, I just pack one or two spare tops that are lightweight, comfortable and can easily be rolled up, as folding causes more creases than careful rolling. I pack just two pairs of underwear and socks for an entire trip. It’s easy enough to wash out underwear, socks and shirts in hotel rooms and hang them up to dry for later reuse during the same trip. The choice is simple. For a two week trip you can lug fourteen pairs of underwear everywhere you go, or you can lug just two and regularly wash them out with soap and water in a hotel room sink. I suggest packing two pairs, not one, so that there is still a fresh change on hand for days when you may arrive in a place one evening and plan to move on to another town the very next morning, allowing for too little drying time. When you hit a larger city like Paris or London or Rome, where you plan to stay put for at least a couple of days, you can catch up on all your washing and know that clothing has plenty of time to dry, even if the air is damp.Pack thin, lightweight natural cotton underwear and socks that breath and won’t require as much drying time as heavier cottons or other fabrics. In summer weather clothing can dry out very quickly. In cooler damper months you might be running a radiator and that can double as a heat source for drying. Just be careful not to put wet things directly against radiators or electrical appliances and be careful, too, not to let wet items of clothing drip onto hotel room carpets. Wring clothes out well and keep them hanging in the shower until they no longer drip. Don’t use new brightly colored clothing items that might drip colored dyes that can stain bathroom floors, floor mats or carpets in hotels.Pack plenty of plastic bags. They take up little space, are weightless, and will be useful in a hundred different ways, from storing opened packaged foods to keeping your laundry well organized. For example, I’ll use one bag for clean clothing such as underwear and socks, a separate bag for dirty ones (if I have to move on before clothing can be washed and dried), plus a third for items of clothing that have been washed, but are still damp when the time comes to vacate a hotel room and tackle the next leg of a journey. At the next stop they can be hung up to finish drying. By the way, washing clothes with ordinary soap eliminates the need to transport any additional type of cleaning agent.If you’ll need some sort of warmer clothing to wear on cooler days or on cool evenings, carry one item only. It can be used whenever you need it. Keep it lightweight, nonwrinkling and non-fussy. For example, a single cozy sweater or sweatshirt in a color that does not show off dirt is a very practical, soft and warm choice, far more practical that a bulky jacket (unless you’re doing some real cool weather or winter traveling). When not in use, you can tie your sweater around your waist. That way you can keep it with you while you sightsee on days when the temperature is variable. If it remains tied around your waist you’ll feel it less than if you add it to the weight of your backpack and it can even double as a pillow on long, drowsy train rides.If you’re traveling at a time or to a place where you’ll need rain gear, a thin fold-up plastic poncho or rain coat is the least onerous thing to take with you. It can go right into your pocket and can easily be whipped out in case of a sudden shower. For city travel it’s very easy to duck under awnings or into shops, making bulkier rain gear unnecessary. Sturdier rain gear or umbrellas are only needed for places where you expect serious rain or a lack of quick access to shelter. Keep sleepwear light and minimal, as well, and if you absolutely must have slippers to wear while in your hotel room buy a pair of cheap, thin, weightless fabric slippers that can be slid into your pack without adding extra bulk.Do not pack an extra pair of shoes. Shoes are the ultimate in unnecessary extra bulk and weight when considering travel clothing. In the movies the leading man and leading lady who are off on a journey appear in a different set of clothing and a new pair of shoes in every scene. Clearly, they are not carrying their own luggage around with them and, in fact, their bags never look quite large enough to even hold everything they wear. So much for the difference between movies and reality. I never pack extra shoes. I take my chances and figure that if my shoes get wet, I’ll find a way to dry them out. I simply wear one pair of thoroughly broken in sneakers that offer good support in the soles. Nothing could be less practical than tight shoes or high heels, and the toll that they take on your feet may severely limit your enjoyment of a trip. How long can you walk around picturesque towns or stand around in museums when your feet hurt ? Wear low-heeled sturdy, but presentable, shoes with solid arch support. Wear shoes that have already been broken in and are comfortable enough for hours of daily walking but – beware – even shoes that you are accustomed to walking in daily can cause blisters when you’re suddenly walking far more hours each day than normal. Keep a few bandaids or callous pads handy. Be sure that the shoes you choose for the trip are lightweight. Hold them in your hand and compare the various pairs of shoes that you’re considering for the trip. When you expect to take thousands and thousands of steps each day of a trip, plus carry a backpack around each time you travel from one tourist destination to another, it’s extremely counteractive to do it in a pair of shoes that themselves are heavy and require additional effort for every step that you take.Try out some of these tips for traveling light by packing very little clothing, and then see what you think. You may never want to pack all sorts of stylish outfits again. You and your clothing can still look nice, just focus on quality and not quantity. See your clothing more for its function than for its fashion and you’ll be free to enjoy the joys of traveling light.
It holds true especially when you are on a tour of a big country like Romania. Travel Romania and you will be endowed with unforgettable memories. Though one is supposed to have a good knowledge about the place he is visiting, some basic travel tips may be helpful in saving you from uncalled for problems and embarrassment. Romania Travelis no exception to this preparation.• Photography of Military installation is completely prohibited. And you might have to pay a fee up to Lei2000 for snapping an attractive location.
• Greet people by shaking hands. However, men are accustomed to kiss women’s hand while greeting them. Visitors are expected to follow normal European courtesies on social occasions.
• Dresses are much of a conservative style, however; casual ones retain their characteristics. Remember, never clad a beachwear away from the beach or nay poolside—you might be condemned for this.
• On public transport, smoking is prohibited. Public places like cinemas and theatres also do not allow you to smoke.
• The national currency is Leu which equals to 100 bani.
• You can shop from 6:00AM to 9:00 PM Monday to Sunday.
• In Bucharest you can enjoy winning a lot in the games in casinos. The capital has the largest number of casinos in Europe.
If you want to have a warm Christmas, you may consider going to countries in the South Hemisphere. Australia will be a good destination to this end. Countries in South America can also be your choices. A trip to Argentina will certainly be a memorable one.
It is very important for you to do some research before you are on broad. It is because you will have to prepare for your trip. You will at least need to know the weather in the destination. The information about the destination can be searched on the web.
You should try to plan everything ahead. You need to book the air tickets, and accommodations in advance. This is because the Christmas is a peak season for traveling and you may not be able to stay in the hotel you want to stay in if you do not book it in advance.
Your health is the most important. As a result you should check with your doctor if any vaccination is needed. You can simply advise him or her the destination and your doctor will know what kind of vaccinations you may probably need.
As mentioned, you are traveling during the peak season. In fact, one of the disadvantages is that you will need to get your air tickets higher rates. To this end you may still want to save money on your air tickets. Again, you can perform a search on the web to see if you can get any discount tickets.
You should also check if you need to apply for a visa for traveling to your destination. This is extremely important. And you must do this in advance. However, if you are going to a destination that visa is not needed. Then you do not need to worry about that.
Lastly, you must check your passport. You need to see if it is still valid. If not, you may need to get a new passport otherwise it will ruin your trip.
TIPS from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will help get travelers on their way and will help speed travelers and their gear through airport security procedures.
Golf Clubs – There is no better time than a vacation to hit the links, so here are a few tips for traveling with golf gear. Fertilizers used on many golf courses can trigger explosive trace-detection equipment. Before flying, be sure to clean off clubs. Also remember to pack clubs in a travel bag and consider leaving it unlocked.
Sporting Goods – Vacations are also a great time to go scuba diving, catch some fish or go camping. Scuba tanks are not allowed on commercial airlines for safety reasons. Ship scuba tanks or consider renting a tank at your destination. Fishing tackle and sports gear – such as bats and lacrosse sticks – must be checked. Campers traveling with gas containers separately, because they cannot be checked or carried onto a plane for safety reasons. Believe it or not, parachutes are another item that can be damaged as part of the security screening process. Consider other means of shipping or at the very least, please check parachutes closely before using.
Lotions, Spray and Foods – Outdoor enthusiasts will pack sun tan lotion, bug repellent and other skin care products. In general, it is fine to pack these items in either checked carry on bags, but travelers should check with their airline before flying with aerosol canisters as some canisters are flammable. Summer travelers who want to bring back favorite foods from their destination can do so, but should know that some food products might cause your checked bag to be screened for security reasons. And check prior to packing food items, as there are some restrictions. Pack food products in carry-on bags.
Packing Bags – Use special TSA locks and locking straps only. It can be tempting to over pack bags when vacationing. TSA suggests that travelers consider how they pack and understand that Federal Security Screeners may have to open and physically search a bag as part of the screening process. Overstuffed bags are more difficult to close once opened which could result in delays for checked luggage.
Film – Family memories last a lifetime, and so should photos and videos. Passengers traveling with underdeveloped film should pack these items in their carry-on bags. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage or destroy undeveloped film.
Below are a number of tips for packing your checked baggage that will help to speed your trip and ensure that your checked bag makes the flight with you.
· Remember to have your passport, boarding pass and photo ID readily available. Airport ID’s are ideal for this purpose. Avoid over-packing your bag so that the screener will be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection. If possible, spread your contents over several bags. Check ahead of time with your airline or travel agent for maximum weight limitations. Many have a 50lb. limit and/or size restrictions.
· Don’t stack piles of books or documents on top of each other; spread them out within your baggage.
The following general packing tips apply to both carry-on and checked baggage and will help you to move through the screening process more quickly:
· Do NOT pack or bring prohibited items to the airport .
· Put all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on baggage. If your bag will pass through the X-ray machine more than 5 times ask for a hand inspection to prevent damage
· Carry-on baggage is limited to one carry-on bag plus one personal item. Personal items include laptops, purses, small backpacks , briefcases or camera cases.
· Don’t forget to place identification tags with your name, address and phone number on all of your baggage, including your laptop computer.
1 The Uffizi Gallery TipThe Uffizi Gallery contains some of the most important and greatest art collections in the world. It is also the world’s oldest museum. Most tour guide books and online travel sites will urge you to ensure that a visit to the Uffiizi is included as part of any Florence vacation, no matter how short. What most of them fail to tell you, or at least stress with sufficient emphasis, is that without a pre-booked ticket, you may not be able to visit the Uffizi at all! My wife and I had a three day holiday in Florence at the beginning of April 2005. We had planned on visiting the Uffizi Gallery and as soon as we checked in at our hotel we telephoned the gallery to purchase tickets. After several attempts without our calls being answered, we asked the hotel reception to do the booking for us. They explained that it was nearly always difficult to get through on the booking line and that our three day stay might not provide sufficient notice to make a booking possible. Despite this, the hotel staff were most happy to keep trying whilst we enjoyed the other wonders of Florence. We decided to check out the situation for ourselves the next day but discovered queues that hardly seemed to move, stretching for an enormous distance around the area of the Uffizi. Queuing all day was certainly not the way we wanted to spend our time in Florence, so we decided to leave things in the capable hands of the reception staff whilst we enjoyed the other attractions that we had come to see. The following evening, we were informed that after many fruitless attempts at getting through on the booking line, success had finally been achieved but only to receive information that all tickets were sold for the following day. We consequently missed out on seeing many of Florence’s greatest art treasures and our top travel tip for anyone visiting Florence on a short stay vacation is to book tickets for the Uffizi Gallery online some time before their holiday.2 The Inside Tip for the DuomoAnother of the wonders of Florence not to be missed is the Duomo. Actually, it is impossible to miss this magnificent building because it dominates the city and can be seen from virtually everywhere. Savour the views of it whilst enjoying a coffee at one of the cafes in the surrounding piazza. Walk around it, pausing every now and then to appreciate it from every aspect. View it from more distant, elevated, positions around the city. This was once the largest cathedral in the world and even now, nearly six hundred years after it was built, it is the fourth largest. Florence always insisted on everything being the biggest and the best but what really makes the Duomo unique is its dome or “Cupola”. When Fillipo Brunelleschi undertook this masterpiece of renaissance architecture, no one believed that such a dome was possible. The secret had been lost for over a thousand years but Brunelleschi travelled to Rome to unravel it by examining the dome of the ancient Pantheon.My tip for the Duomo is to ascend this incredible feat of engineering. You can do so by entering a stairway that leads up inside the dome, between its inner and outer shells. When you reach the top, you can step outside onto an external gallery that provides magnificent views of the city and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. This gallery was never finished however, so your views are restricted to northerly and westerly directions. 3 Palazzo Vecchio – Davis’s Copy TipPerhaps the next most famous landmark of Florence is the Palazzo Vecchio. Once again, it is a building worth enjoying from every aspect on the outside before entering to explore its fascinating, art filled, interior. My tip for the Palazzo Vecchio is to spare a few minutes looking at the pollution-streaked COPY of the world’s most famous statue, realizing that although the original Michelangelo’s David is safely inside the Accademia, the copy is standing just where the original once stood.4 River Arno Cross Over TipThis tip is to retreat from the busiest tourist attractions of the city centre and to cross the Arno river via the Ponte Vecchio. The crowds on this wonderful, historic bridge will probably be even more tightly packed than in the central Piazzas you have just left but within a hundred metres of the other side, they will have thinned out and you can explore the delights of the Boboli gardens and the Palazzo Pitti before walking up the meandering paths to the Piazzo Michelangelo which stands on a beautiful hill overlooking Florence and its surrounds.5 My final Florence travel tip – Avoiding “Stendhal Sydrome”Florence has so much beauty that every year, there are a few tourists who have to be treated at local hospitals for a condition known as “Stendhal Syndrome”. Symptoms range from feeling faint to complete exhaustion. Stendhal was a French tourist whose nineteenth century tour of Florence overloaded his senses so much that he collapsed with these symptoms.My final travel tip for a short vacation in Florence is not to try to pack too much in. Even if Florence’s wealth of art treasures, beauty, and architectural achievements don’t actually send you running for medical help, they can easily overwhelm a tourist who fails to heed this advice.
What steps are necessary to prevent these things from happening? How can you take care of your passport? Below are 16 practical tips you can follow to acquire your passport, keep it in your possession, and preserve it in good condition.
Before You Leave On Your Trip
1. Check to see if you even need a passport.
Countries can, and often do, change foreign entry requirements. If you arrive at the airport without the required documents, you’ll be denied boarding privileges. And, of course, This isn’t covered by travel insurance.
Currently, more than 80% of the world’s countries require a valid passport for entrance. It’s important to verify the foreign entry requirements for the country you plan to visit as early as possible.
2. Apply for your passport early.
You should apply for a new passport at least 90 days before your departure date. For a renewal, begin the process 8 to 11 months before your passport expires. Why so early? Many countries require that your passport have six to eight months of validity remaining before they will issue a visa.
3. Fill out the correct form correctly.
Each type of passport service has specific criteria that must be met. Make sure you get the right application form, and then fill it in carefully. Double-check each entry. Ask a friend or relative to verify it as well. Errors made on the application form can lead to delays, or even rejection of your passport request.
4. Follow the specifications for the required documents exactly.
When applying for a new passport, the most frequently used documents are a certified birth certificate for proof of citizenship along with a valid driver’s license for proof of your identity.
Your birth certificate must be a certified copy with a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. No photocopies are accepted. Your driver’s license must be more than six months old.
For a passport renewal, your previous passport serves as both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. To be valid, it cannot be mutilated, altered, or damaged in any way.
You must send two identical passport photos taken within the last 6 months. These passport photos must be 2 x2 with a plain white or off-white background. They have to be a full-face view with the head being from 1 to 1 3/8 inches from the chin to the top of the head. The photos can be either color or black and white.
5. Sign both the passport application form and your check.
Surprisingly, many people forget to sign either the passport application form or their check to Passport Services. Once again, check everything twice, or even three times.
6. Request additional pages.
Are you a frequent flyer? Request a 48-page passport (at no additional cost). It will allow you to travel longer before having to replace it.
7. Sign your passport and fill out the emergency information.
When your passport arrives, check to see that all the information contained in it is correct. If it is, sign it and fill in your current address and the name of a person to contact in case of emergency. If not, return it to the State Department for correction.
8. Make two copies of your passport and photos.
Give one copy of your passport to a friend or relative who can be easily contacted in case of an emergency. Take the other copy and the extra photos with you on your trip. If you use an online document storage service, you can scan your passport and upload a copy. That way, you can access it from almost anywhere in the world.
While You’re Away
9. Always keep your passport in a safe place!
Never leave your passport in your baggage, backpack, purse, car, hotel room, or anywhere else! When you must carry your passport, keep it in a money belt or inside coat pocket. Upon arrival at the hotel, put your passport in the hotel safe.
10. Never lay your passport down anywhere.
Passports placed on a counter, phone booth or table can be easily forgotten or stolen. Practice the habit of immediately putting your passport away after using it.
11. If you travel as a family or as part of a group, don’t let one person carry all the passports.
The odds are much greater for one person carrying all the passports to lose them or have them stolen than for all the passports to be stolen or lost if each individual owner carries them.
12. Never let anyone leave your presence with your passport.
When you’re checking in at the airport, passing through customs, exchanging currency, or doing anything else that requires you to show your passport, never allow the person examining your passport to leave your presence. If the person starts to leave, call their attention and request to accompany them.
Law enforcement records show that U.S. passports are sometimes used for unlawful entry into the United States or by criminals abroad seeking to establish another identity. You would be pretty embarrassed if your name were associated with illegal activities.
13. Immediately report the loss of your passport.
If you are careful and follow the tips above, you shouldn’t have any problem with the loss of your passport.
If it does occur though, immediately notify the local police and then proceed to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Take the copy of your passport and extra photos with you. You will be issued a temporary passport that you can replace upon returning to the United States.
After You Return
14. Schedule your passport renewal.
Check the expiration date and make a reminder to renew your passport at the proper time. Remember, you should begin the process 8 to 11 months prior to the expiration date. Put the reminder somewhere where it won’t be forgotten.
15. Check the number of blank pages remaining.
Some countries require a blank page for their visa. If you plan a future trip on which you will visit various countries, you might need the same number of pages as countries to be visited.
If you do not have an adequate number of pages but your passport is not due for renewal, you can request additional pages.
16. Store your passport in a safe place.
If you have a safe in your home, keep your passport there. If not, consider a safety deposit box at your local bank.
Follow the practical tips above and you can easily avoid passport problems and more fully enjoy your international travels.
China is an odd beast that needs to be respected; the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, all have their own personalities.
Some complex situations that you think would be an organizational disaster turn out to be great and you wonder afterward what all the fuss and worry was about. Then the simplest of tasks can turn out to be a major calamity.
This is when you have what we call here a “China day”.
These days come and go and are part of the experience of everyday travel in China. One needs to have an open mind when travelling China. It is a place with thousands of years of history and culture that is trying overnight to adapt to Western ways of living.
You need to have a very open mind when you Travel in China.
I have listed below a few China Travel Tips that will make life that wee bit more bearable on your Travel China experience.
China Travel Tips – Be Toilet Wise
• Never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time.
• Be prepared; Carry some tissue.
• You may have to use a squat toilet, again if you know this before hand it is not a shock. If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, try the following experiment at home.
While holding onto something for support with both hands, lower your body down into a low squat position, so that the cheeks of your bottom is almost touching your heels or the back of your calf. Now, let go with your hands. See if you stay in this position for at least 1 minute. If you fall backwards or you cannot get up, then a squat toilet could be a problem for you! Practice, you will be happy you did.
• If you see a clean toilet, Go… it may not come again for a while.
• There are many public toilets around the cities, usually the ones you pay for are OK, (RMB .5), the others best to stay away from if you can. You will soon notice them as you walk around the cities.
• Be warned that public areas like bus and train stations are usually what I class as “tough toilets”, however if gotta go you gotta go.
• Outside of the major cities, the toilet systems are old or have very narrow plumbing /pipes and get blocked easily. In these cases a small basket is usually beside the toilet, this is for your used toilet paper.
One of the best China Travel toilet Tips I can give you, is use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are always clean. Still they may not always have toilet paper. It depends on the class of hotel that you are using.
I do not wish to scare you. However, of all the China Travel Tips in all the other web sites I have read, this is a topic not often mentioned, but it is very important to us all.
So outside of the major cities conditions can be tough. But most of the time everything will be fine, especially if you book a tour; everything will have been checked out before hand. However even the best laid plans can go wrong, so be prepared, the toilets in the smaller cities, towns and villages can be scary.
China Travel Tips – The Food
• The food is great and the variety is overwhelming. Most of the time you get to choose what you eat, or you can recognize what you’re eating, however sometimes you do not get a choice. Carry a chocolate bar or something; this will keep you going until some food that you can recognize turns up. Drink bottled or boiled water, as the tap water is NOT safe to drink, this is for the whole of China. Even boiled water, while sterilised can contain a lot of minerals and iron deposits that you probably do not want in your system. The safest bet is to drink bottle water. Tap water in most big cities is OK for brushing teeth.
• Eating habits – Most Chinese people have a great habit of being very noisy when they eat and lunch and dinner times can be a wonderfully noisy celebration, food tends to go in all directions, its just part of being in China.
• People also smoke at the table while everyone is eating, so some restaurants get very loud and smoky.
• If you get stuck what to order as most of the menu’s are in Chinese just look at the table next to you and point to the dish you fancy and ask how much it is, this system works really well and know seems to mind.
• I have a basic menu that will help you order safe food, (no Cats or Dog) this will enable you to visit a larger selection of restaurants, not just the tourist ones with high prices. You can carry it with you and use it in the local restaurants where most will be able to serve what is on it. This way you will know what you are eating.
These local places are very cheap and the food it great. Contact me if you would like me to send it to you.
China Travel Tips – Taxis
• China Travel Tips- Taxis – Taxis are an experience that can have you griping the seat and gasping for breath; however you soon get used to it, after the first few rides, you’re an old hand.
• The taxis in Shanghai are, overall, quite good. Try to get the Blue, Blue’ish Turquoise, Gold and White taxis, these are the best… these are the four major taxi companies and are generally recognised by their single colour paintwork. The others are OK, just older and a rougher ride (the others also may have faulty metres). No drivers will speak English.
• Carry your hotel or accommodation business card with you, written in Chinese, this helps if you get lost walking around town.
• In all the taxis around the country you will see the drivers name and taxi registration number in plain sight. If you have any problem, or if you think you have been over charged etc, just take this number down, make a big fuss about it, and the driver then should wake up and fix whatever problem you have. Even better is to take the receipt. This has all the trip details on it and you can ring the taxi company if you want to take things further or if you’ve left something in the taxi.
• The government takes rip-off drivers in all cities, Beijing and Xian especially, very seriously and if you complain they will lose their license. This is their livelihood. So far I have had not one driver in 3 years that has not backed down and we have then agreed a price for the trip or solved our problem.
• In Shanghai, it is common practice for taxi fare increases after 11pm. However, one can usually bargain for a 20% discount, which will get the fare back to the pre-11pm rate.
Be strong with the taxi drivers, never-the-less, keep your cool, smile and negotiate.
China Travel Tips – Shopping
• China Travel Tips – Shopping – China is a shopper’s paradise, Markets, Bargains; Top labels… anything and everything if you have the time. With clothes, the larger (Western) sizes can be quite hard to find, however in the major cities where you get a lot of tourist traffic, you can find them.
• Electrical gear, DVD’s, Cameras, stuff like this is not worth buying in China, Hong Kong is still the best place for this.
• Store hours in the major cities are from 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
• Visa card is still the best card to carry, with ATM’s in good supply all with PLUS access etc.
There is usually a surcharge for use of VISA, MasterCard or other forms of credit card.
• Wait on purchasing if you can, look around to get a feel for the prices. The Chinese are VERY experienced at selling and know that we halve the opening price when bargaining.
In the markets go for 25% of what they first ask; go so low that they let you walk away. This will give you an idea of the bottom price. The resulting end-price will probably be around 40% to 50% of where they started.
Whatever the market people say, they are used to pushing and haggling for best prices. Do not worry about being too hard, they are used to it and will not sell you an item unless they make a profit. Don’t be concerned with the apparently hurt body language when you go low – it is all part of the game. As soon as they have wrapped up your first purchase, they will try to sell you something more. Remember to keep smiling and having fun while bargaining.
China Travel Tips – Medical Treatment and Records
• Most hotels will have a doctor that you can see. In the major hotels English will be spoken.
• Always take a small first aid kit, cold remedy, headache tablets at the very least. WATSONS is a very large chain chemist. Most of the remedies, tablets etc, that you may require should be in these shops. These shops are all over China.
• There is a great network of pharmacy type shops; these are indicated by a Green Cross. There will always be a 24 hr Green Cross pharmacy in the city you are in. It is handy to carry a Phase book, as no one will speak English, however you will end up with something that will help.
• INPORTANT POINT – for most of the mass produced packet type medicines, the packaging will be written in Chinese on one side, English on the other. However in the shops you only see the Chinese side. Have a good look, turn the packs over, it gives you a lot more confidence knowing you can read the package.
• If you have a specific medical issue, take records, most of the Doctors will have OK written / reading English, even though their oral English will be poor.
China Travel Tips – Telephone
• Using the phone is as easy as at home. However the person picking it up will not speak English or have very broken English… the Major 4- or 5-Star Hotels will all be OK.
• What is worth doing is buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card, they are about RMB100 and with this you get RMB50 in calls, the other 50 is for the price of the SIM card; this SIM card will go into all major brand phones and work OK.
By doing this, people can reach you within and out of China if there is an emergency. If you have a couple of phones, you can short (txt) message each other (SMS). Also you are able to call your tourist guide, hotel etc if you have any major problems. It is a cheap way to keep in touch.
NB.Before you buy a Chinese SIM card, check that it will work in your Cell / Mobile phone. There are plenty of China Telecom shops that can help.
China Travel Tips on when NOT to move around China.
• Spring Festival, this would be the Chinese New Year time, around the end of January / Early February
• Early May; Labour day Holidays
• Early October; National Day Holidays
Of all the China Travel Tips National Day is the biggest one. Millions of Chinese travel at these holiday times of the year. Most are travelling back to home towns or visiting family. Hotels, trains, planes, cars, buses, and roads are all crowded to the maximum. Major congestion, everywhere.
Also travel fares are at their full price. No discounts are offered!
Stay in one place and enjoy where you are. It’s best and causes fewer hassles.
China Travel Tips – TV
• If you want to watch TV, most of the major hotels will have cable and if you are in the smaller places, the national channel, CCTV9 is in English. Over the last couple of years it has got a lot better, with some great China Travel Tips programs, news and views on people and places around China.
China Travel Tips – Airport Tax
• There is a “construction fee” at almost all airports.
Domestic flights RMB 50
International flights RMB 90 – which is to be paid in local currency.
Just recently, tickets are being tissued with the Construction Tax included; however make sure you have the Tax money with you just to make sure.
I hope some of these China Travel Tips will come in handy and will make your trip to China that little bit easier.