China Travel Tips

 

Know Before You Go: Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.

Passports and Visas: It is each travelers responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure and a visa if required. Please check the information at Right Travel Visa Page for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies.

Entry Requirements: US citizens require a passport valid for six months beyond travel dates. Visas are required for China

Trip Preparation: A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip.

Health Information: Check with your personal physician for the latest overseas travel health information, or contact the Center for Disease Control travelers hotline at 404-332-4559, web site http://www.cdc.gov

Tibet - Much of Tibet is at or above 10,000 ft of elevation. Therefore, you should allow a few hours to adjust to the high altitude by resting and eating lightly. Additionally, travelers need to bring lip balm due to Tibets extremely arid climate. It is important to consult your physician before traveling to Tibet.

Climate & Clothing: China and Tibet - China is a huge country with varied climates. In general, the north is cold and dry in winter. In the south, summer is hot and humid, with a rainy season from July through September.

Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

China Average Temperatures: Tibets temperatures can vary substantially within one day. At all times of the year it is important to bring comfortable clothing that can be layered, including warm socks. Visitors should also pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm.

About Your Flights E-tickets: Most airlines now require that we provide e-tickets in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your e-ticket itinerary and ticket numbers, as well as identification (valid passport) to the agent. In a few cases where e-tickets cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form.

Airline Flights: Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time to allow for security steps. Passengers connecting from another point within the USA may check their luggage through to their final destination, and although problems with lost luggage have been minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage �interlining,� and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, you must ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Right Travel has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed for you.

Flight schedule changes are common and may occur anytime until departure. Therefore it is the responsibility of each passenger to reconfirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure for all flights.

Airline Luggage Restrictions: Most international airlines are consistent with regard to the number and weight of the pieces you may check and bring onboard. Domestic carriers however, typically on small aircraft, differ. Therefore, we suggest that you check in advance if you are concerned about size or weight restrictions. Many airlines have begun to apply charges for a second checked bag. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airlines checked baggage policies. Airline policies vary and may change at any time. Right Travel is not responsible for any excess luggage/ weight charges levied by an airline.

Airline Seats: Airline seats are confirmed whenever possible. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only. Even when seats are pre-assigned however, we recommend that you contact the carrier one to two weeks prior to departure to reconfirm your seats. In many cases there are equipment changes after your initial booking which can cause airplane seating reconfiguration.

Airline Tickets: Most airline tickets are issued using special fares which cannot be changed or canceled without incurring additional cost. Should you lose or misplace your tickets while traveling, you should immediately notify the airline. In most cases they will have you complete a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and for a fee, issue replacement tickets. Of course that is not applicable for the E. ticket.

Code-share Flights: Many airlines participate in alliances and special agreements with other airlines which permit passengers to travel from one point to another using more than one carrier. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (eg: Delta), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (eg: Alitalia). Please review your airline itinerary carefully to determine which airline you should go to for check-in if your flight is operated by a carrier other than the primary airline indicated on the itinerary, your itinerary will state Flight Operated by (Airline). If you have any concerns regarding which airline to check-in with, you may contact the airline directly or Right Travel for clarification.

Luggage: All Right Travel packages allow one piece of luggage per person, plus carry-on bag. Additional baggage will be subject to airline handling charges of up to $100 per piece. As Right Travel will not be responsible for loss or damage to luggage and personal belongings, you MUST report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form MUST be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. See Right Travel page for Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers.

China and Tibet - Intra-China flights have a weight restriction for luggage of 44 lbs. per person. A lock is recommended for checked luggage while traveling within China.

Arrival Procedures: If your program includes airport arrival transfers, please complete immigration formalities and claim your luggage. You will be met by our local representative after you pass through customs. Look for someone holding a Right Travel sign and/or a sign with your name on it. If you do not connect with the Right transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Right Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher.

What To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed: Airlines do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, overseas or in the USA, the better we can respond. Right Travel is only able to guarantee pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon your return home you will need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services.

Departure Procedures: If your program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your voucher or provided locally.

Transfers: Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotels front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.

Escorted tour programs include transfers, providing you have purchased airfare from Right to arrive and depart on the scheduled tour dates. If you are traveling independently, you may purchase the transfers from Right or contract your own method of transportation to the hotel or cruise ship. The cost of a transfer will generally be more expensive than hiring a taxi as the pre-arranged transfer necessarily includes round trip service, or a dead-leg. Additionally the driver may have to wait at the collection point for up to an hour.

About Your Accommodations Hotels: Right Travel has carefully ed each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard rooms with two single beds and private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgrade. Room ion is strictly at the discretion of the hotel management. We reserve the right to make hotel substitutions with those of equal standard.

Hotel Check-in/ Check-out: Check-in time is usually 4pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.

At Your Destination: Eco & Sustainable Tourism

We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.

Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours): Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Right Travel should proceed directly to the hotel for checkin. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.

Shopping: in a foreign country can be a wonderful experience. We do include a few stops at recommended popular shops on every escorted tour, intended to enhance your cultural experience. As you explore the country independently, you may find fantastic, one-of-a-kind merchandise. You may get terrific bargains. However, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is

China and Tibet - In recent years, the availability of consumer goods has greatly increased. In addition to traditional items such as lacquered objects, silken embroidery, porcelain, and carvings, a wide range of luxury goods and consumer electronics can be found in the major cities.

Currency: We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country youre visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. Its also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs dont always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus.

China and Tibet - The Chinese Yuan is the currency of China. The currency may be abbreviated CNY or RMB.

In Tibet: Please note that credit cards are not recommended as a way of payment in Tibet. The Lhasa central branch of the Bank of China is the only place in Tibet that provides credit card advances. A commission is usually deducted and there is often minimum advance required that can be the equivalent of $150.00 or more.

Purchasing Tours Locally: On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see Right Terms & Conditions for more information

China and Tibet - Payment can ONLY be made by cash or travelers checks.

Credit Cards: While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.

Gratuities: This is a matter of personal discretion. You may use the following as a guideline:

  • Tour escort (Coordinator may or may not act as a guide): $6 or $7 per person per day
  • Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage): $3 per person per day
  • Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): $2 per person per half day of sightseeing (2-3 hours)
  • River Cruises: $6 or $7 per person per day as indicated by each cruise line (see details regarding European, Russian, and Ukrainian River Cruises)
  • Private car tours(small groups of 2-14 passengers): $12 to $16 per person per day for each day of sightseeing
  • Hotel Porter: $1 per bag per person
  • Wait staff: $1.50 per person (lunch or dinner)
  • Chamber maid: $1 per person per day

Tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional compensation. There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour escort or phone our local office. Numbers have been provided in your documents for your convenience.

China and Tibet - Gratuities are appreciated in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.

Your Safety is Very Important: Every effort has been taken by Right Travel to ensure your safety. However, it is important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while youre on your trip. Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Dont put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place. (In case that one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place.) Dont leave valuables laying loose in your room-use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe. If youve purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Right Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Right Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.

Local Emergency Phone Numbers in China and Tibet: Ambulance: 120, Fire: 119, Police: 110

Languages: China and Tibet - Mandarin Chinese is the official language. Other dialects may be spoken regionally. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.

Electricity: Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.

China and Tibet - The voltage used is 220 volts.

Code of Conduct: China and Tibet - With one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the people of China are very proud of their history and traditions. Chinese courtesy is based on reserved politeness. It is advisable to avoid the topics of religion and politics in conversation. Refrain from patting people on the back or other physical forms of friendliness aside from shaking hands.

In Tibet: The image of the Buddha is considered sacred. Please do not touch any representation of the Buddha. When entering a temple, remove your hat. It is usually acceptable to keep your shoes on. Do not take any photographs inside the temple without permission. In general, you should not offer alms to individual monks in monasteries. Instead, donations should be made directly to the monastery.

Holidays - China and Tibet

  • Jan 1 New Years Day
  • Jan 25 - 27 Chinese New Year*
  • Apr 5 Qingming Festival
  • May 1 Labor Day
  • May 28 Dragon Boat Festival
  • Oct 1-3 National Day / Mid-Autumn Festival

 

*Please note that prior to 2008 the official public holidays were organized differently. 2008 is the first year of new official holiday observances. Chinese New Year celebrations begin the Spring Festival Golden Week. National Day begins the National Day Golden Week. During Golden Weeks, businesses may be closed or operate for shorter hours.

Food:
China and Tibet - While it is generally safe to eat fully cooked meats and vegetables, care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water.

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