China is a vast and diverse country. It has a rich history and culture. It is a country that has a lot to offer from its booming economy and many tourist attraction sites. Like other countries, a visit to China is definitely an exciting feeling. However, it could meet you with great culture shock. As such it is good to prepare your mind and body to venture into a foreign land.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first trip to China
Pack right, pack light
On your packing checklist, ensure you have what you will really need during your travel and stay in China. Find out the weather conditions of the place you are visiting. This helps with packing the appropriate clothing and shoes.
Have your passport and visa stacked safely in your suitcase. It may sound obvious but you cannot survive in China without these two items. Your passport and visa make it easier for you to access services while in China.
Remember to pack an ample supply of your medication and personal care products such as cosmetics and deodorants. These should be enough to last your stay in China. Alternatively, carry enough until you are in a position to purchase some more.
Additionally, have the necessary electronics and adapters safely put in your luggage. Carry a toilet roll in your bag. Most public toilets in China do not offer a tissue. Convert enough money into Chinese Yuan. Most businesses in China only accept cash transactions.
Purchase guidebooks and online maps to help with your movement in China. You will not get lost easily.
Most noteworthy, only carry what you need.
Book your accommodation
Most visa applications require you to indicate where you will stay during your visit to China. Book your accommodation before you arrive in China. For easier movement, have the name of your place of stay typed in Chinese. Most taxi drivers in China neither read nor speak English. A typed copy makes it easier for them.
Learn some basic Mandarin (or Cantonese)
Mandarin is the national language of China. Learn a few phrases to help you in your communication with the locals. The Chinese are friendly people and get excited when a foreigner speaks in Mandarin. In addition to that, download a translations app to your phone, or an English-Mandarin translation dictionary. If you are stuck, type the English word and the app gives you the Chinese equivalent.
Have an open mind
Being a foreigner means that you will face culture shock. Some things you observe may shock, excite or anger you. Develop an adaptive attitude. Learn how to blend in with the locals. Being in a new place is not easy, and culture shock on makes it harder. If a tendency does not sit well with you, try your best to ignore.
China is a populous country. Therefore, you will find that most places get crowded. Be warm with the locals who sometimes get excited to see foreigners. Be street smart and alert.
Carry movies, books and music
Homesickness may set in as soon as you touch ground in China. New place, new faces, new life. Movies and music from home help a great deal when dealing with homesickness. You may carry anything that reminds you of home; a local brand of food, handicraft or item. Besides that, have the contacts of people you left back home. Video call them often and tell them about your experience. This helps to beat the blues as you adapt to the new environment.
Download a VPN app
China is famous for media and internet censorship through the Great Firewall. As such, popular social media sites and search engines are not available in China. These include all Google applications, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and many more. A VPN will help you access all these sites while in China. VPNs bypass the Great Firewall. Make sure you still check which websites are deemed illegal as you do not want to end up in trouble.
Pro tip: download, install and activate your VPN on all your gadgets before you leave your country.
Download an air quality app
Pollution is a common problem in some cities in China. It may cause diseases and allergic reactions.
For this reason, download an air quality app. These help to identify the changing levels of pollution in the area you visit. While at it, remember to buy a pollution mask. Pollution masks cover the nose to reduce the effects of inhaling polluted air.
Prepare your appetite
Chinese cuisines are popular all over the world. Their food is tasty and sumptuous. Chinese delicacies vary from region to region. Each place has its own flavour and style of food. There will always be a new cuisine to try wherever you go. Treat your taste buds to the variety of Chinese cuisines you come across. Also, learn how to use chopsticks. Chinese have all their meals are using chopsticks. Hence, you would be doing yourself a great favour by perfecting the art of using chopsticks.