Steve Riley – Founding Partner of International Experiences and World Traveler
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Colleen and Christina’s Travel Picks for China
How do you begin planning a trip like this?
Obtain a visa. Research online, then we drove to the Consulate in Chicago. Everything has to be typed, it’s very specific. Apply for it at least 3-4 weeks in advance. You can even get a 10 year visa, just have to make sure you select that on your application.
Plan your trip through a tour guide or a group tour. This will help with planning and the language barrier.
Tell us about how you got there.
We flew to Beijing. Overall, it took us about 30 hours with a stop in between.
Tips for jet lag?
Give yourself at least 24 hours to recover. Try a short nap, but try not to veer from your normal sleep schedule too much.
What’s the climate like in China?
Hot in some areas, fall-like weather in others. Dress in layers!
Where in China did you go?
Marriott – But keep in mind that NO ONE speaks English.
How to get around:
We recommend booking a tour guide. We mainly traveled by the bus that the tour provided for us.
99% is Chinese food (Kung Pao Chicken is a staple)
Markets – Unique food, hot pots (similar to fondue), squid on a stick.
Keep in mind that it’s hard to find things to eat if you’re gluten-free, like Christina!
Traditional Chinese Massage – They literally get on top of you! Talk about a full-body massage.
Cooking class – We learned how to cook with their local food!
Exploring, walking the river
Chengdu Culture, Nature, Food & Panda Tour
What you learned on your trip or wish you knew beforehand?
Be prepared! You really can’t plan too far in advance.
Getting through security is tough. They will check EVERYTHING. Be prepared and allow extra time.
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”
What’s in Your Suitcase?
DJI Osmo Pocket Stabilizer
$399 on store.dji.com. A stabilizer, great for scenic videos while traveling. Super simple to use. Professional-quality videos and photos.
What’s on Your Phone?
Google Translate – Necessary for traveling to China. Just speak into your phone and Google will translate from English to whatever language you want.
What’s the Tip?
Travel Tips for Visiting China
If you do have a food allergy or are vegetarian/vegan, bring a card that says that in Chines.
Also bring a card that says what hotel you’re staying at so you can bring you back if you get lost.
Bring your own toilet paper! You’ll have to squat on most of their toilets, as most are right in the ground.
Bring soap and hand sanitizer!
Bring your own medication, antibiotics, Tums, Tylonal, allergy pills, Emergen-C, etc.
We don’t recommend the cuisine if you or your kids have a peanut or sesame allergy.
They money is the Yuan. Be sure to bring lots of cash ahead of time.
Have an open mind. It’s very different, even from Europe. Be willing to try new things.