1. Let your bank know you’ll be traveling to China and see if they have an affiliated bank in the country- this is a great thing to check since you won’t have to pay a forgein transaction fee each time you get money.
2. Don’t carry around too much cash. See number 3.
3. Always always always keep on eye on your bag. Don’t leave your zipper open and hold onto it, especially in crowded places like the subway. All your hard earned cash will be stolen if you’re not careful!
4. If you’re in Beijing (not sure about Shanghai or other places), be warned that usually around 12pm taxi drivers are getting off work and won’t want to pick you up. I spent a good 30 min trying to pick one up in a busy area!
5. Be weary of not so sanitary looking street food! Take some diarrhea medicine in case you get sick.
6. Contradicting #5 a bit, but don’t be too scared of street food either! Places that serve breakfast on the streets make some of the best foods, like pork buns, eggs wraps and sweet rice porridge.
7. Bring hand sanitizer or wipes- always clean your hands before touching food and eating with your hands. You probably don’t want to know what you’ve touched.
8. If you’re going to be traveling to multiple cities in China- plan ahead the days you’re going to be there and the types of sites you want to see. If you don’t speak Chinese I highly recommend getting a tour guide or get someone to book flights for you.
9. If you’re foreign but still want to be independent and travel alone, at least write down the names and addresses of places you need to go in Chinese and show taxi drivers/police for directions.
10. Eat lots of dumplings and buns! So many great places in China. If you’re in a big city like Shanghai, usually the small mom and pop shop has the best homemade ones available (and at a cheap price!) Dim sum is a must as well 🙂
11. Learn some simple phrases to get around- there are plenty travel guides to teach you. Things like thank you, where is the bathroom, and how much money can go a long way.
12. Pleaaaase bring comfortable shoes you can handle walking around in hours. I don’t care how cute your shoes go with your outfit, if it ain’t comfy don’t plan on having happy feet!
13. If you have a lot of things you want to carry while traveling (camera, wallet, hand sanitizer etc.,) I would recommend bringing a backpack versus a large purse. I made the mistake of bringing a crossover handbag, and by the end of the day my shoulders were aching. Comfortability triamphs cuteness!
14. China has lots of fruits available in the first streets- highly recommend buying a variety and get some you’ve never tried before.
15. Have fun, eat lots of great food, and don’t be afraid to get lost in the streets of the city to fully immerse himself yourself in a different country! Just be sure you have your hotel address handy 🙂