Traveling to China: Insurance Information & Travel Tips for a Successful Journey Abroad
China is an incredible country that’s saturated with centuries of culture and history. And as you book your flights and plan your excursion to the Great Wall, the excitement of taking off is building up as you prepare for the experience of a lifetime!
And while the perfect itinerary and necessary preparations are essential, you may be forgetting one small but critical part of your trip: travel insurance. While you never anticipate anything going wrong while you’re traveling, it’s always logical to prepare a backup plan in such cases that you’re forced to cancel your trip, you need emergency medical care, or you need to recover lost luggage or a stolen passport while you’re abroad—and that’s where travel insurance comes in.
Here, we’ll review why you should consider getting travel insurance for your trip to China, as well as how to find the best costs and coverage for your needs. Then we’ll give you some of our top tips to make sure you’re prepared to enjoy your trip to China!
Travel Insurance for a Trip to China
If you’re planning a trip to China, you already know that it comes with a high price tag. Between the (often multiple) flights, transportation arrangements, hotel arrangements, rentals, and tours, it adds up fast, and many people save up for years to afford a trip like this.
But, if something happens between the time you put your deposits down and the day you take off, travel insurance (with trip cancellation coverage) can provide you with a means of recovering the money you’ve invested in your trip if you cancel for a covered reason. Plus, there are a variety of post-departure benefits and coverages that can help you in the event of a medical emergency, loss of luggage or equipment, or even a stolen passport.
Do I Need Insurance to Travel to China?
No, you don’t need travel insurance to go to China. However, without it, you run the risk of losing the money you’ve spent, and in the event of a medical emergency, of running up foreign medical bills that you have no way to cover. Also, if you need to cancel your tour because of a death, natural disaster or losing your job unexpectedly, travel insurance can provide an escape plan in these situations as well.
Of course, in a perfect world, none of these things would happen, and you’d be off to China, ready for some hot tea and a bathhouse! But in order to truly have peace of mind as you travel, you should get travel insurance. And with so many reasonable prices that you can find online, getting covered is easier and cheaper than you may think.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for My Trip to China?
There is a wide range of travel insurance companies, and the costs can vary significantly between them. You can typically expect basic, pre-departure coverage only to cost 3-4% of your total trip cost, while more premium and platinum options can cost upwards of 10-12%. Your specific cost will depend on what type of plan you need and want, and most companies provide a few different tiers to choose from.
One thing that you must do, however, is to do your due diligence and research plans thoroughly in order to get the best price for the coverage you need.
Fortunately, TravelInsurance.com is a travel insurance comparison site that does all the heavy-lifting for you. All you need to do is enter your trip and party information, select what type of coverage you’re looking for, and you’ll get back a list of quotes from a variety of different insurance providers. You can easily compare pricing, benefits, and coverage maximums to select the one you want and purchase your travel insurance straight through this tool with a lowest price guarantee. It really doesn’t get much easier than that!
Now that you’ve got your travel insurance taken care of, it’s time to start dreaming about and planning all that you’re going to see and do while you’re abroad. To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you with money and packing, plus suggestions for having an immersive experience that will make your trip worthwhile.
Money: Currency & Tipping
China’s official currency is the Yuan and comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes, as well as a variety of coins. You’ll need both. In Northern China, your taxi driver will expect you to pay in coins, while in Southern and Western China, street vendors will likely only take notes.
While the exchange rate fluctuates and will vary depending on when you go, you’ll likely get the best rate when using the ATM at the airport in China. If you’re coming from the United States, you’re going to have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to handling Yuan, and China is mostly a cash country.
There are, of course, hotels, and restaurants, as well as foreign-branded stores that will accept credit cards in the larger cities, but if you plan on traveling outside of them, you’ll be looking at mostly cash-only establishments.
As far as tipping is concerned, it’s not a common practice in most of mainland China. You do not have to tip, nor is it expected, in Chinese restaurants, bars, hotels, or taxis. If you are in Beijing or Shanghai, however, it’s more common to leave a tip because these cities have a lot of westernized businesses and tourists, but it’s still not an expectation. There are situations where gratuity is appreciated, however, such as in high-end Chinese restaurants or for your tour guide when you go on purchased excursions or tours. In Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan, however, typical tipping rules apply, since these places are mostly westernized.
Weather Conditions & Packing Suggestions
Depending on which regions you plan to travel to, you’ll need vastly different clothing and gear. The Northern part of China experiences all four seasons to the extreme, including a supremely cold and dry winter and an incredibly hot and humid summer. The Southern regions, however, enjoy more subtropical mild winters and heavily humid summers. Then, throw in the mountain regions like Tibet, which is more temperate in the summers thanks to the valleys, and you’ve got a country that runs the entire gamut of climates!
As far as packing, you’ll need to pack creatively so that you’re prepared for the transitions between tropical and alpine temperatures. Be sure to bring a reliable wind and rain jacket, as well as a thicker one that you can layer up for the colder climates. Quick-dry clothing, however, will be your best friend. Not only will they be more comfortable in both the humid and cold climates but while you’ll find plenty of washing machines, dryers aren’t popular in China.
Prepare Yourself For Culture Shock
While the culture shock of stepping off the plane in China may take a while to wear off, rest assured that you’re about to have one of the most culturally immersive experiences of your life. That being said, there are a few things that you should prepare for before you get there.
Toilets in rural China aren’t like Western countries. They’re squatting toilets and are basically just a hole in the ground. Most bathrooms aren’t serviced regularly, so be sure that you always have a decent supply of toilet paper with you as well.
Trespassing isn’t frowned upon! Westerners are often afraid to veer off the main drags of sidewalks and walkways because it’s not seen as public property, but in China, it’s a different story. All outdoor areas are public spaces, and some of the alleys that may seem off-limits actually have some of the most amazing sites in the city!
The language barrier can be a big hurdle to overcome. In China, there are two official languages: Mandarin and Cantonese. While you should definitely get yourself a good translation app and try to learn at least some basic phrases, you very well could find yourself stuck thanks to the dialects that may pop up as you travel. If you need help, however, look for a student or younger person to help you translate. Most people under the age of 25 can speak both Mandarin and English as a result of the westernization of China.
For breakfast, don’t expect bagels and fruit awaiting you when you wake up! In Chinese culture, breakfast usually consists mostly of noodles and dumplings. If you’re staying outside of the large cities and in non-Western hotels, don’t be surprised if your complimentary breakfast includes congee and pickles!
Popular Destinations in China
When you’re planning to visit China, it can be overwhelming to figure out where you should go. To help you make your decision, we’ve listed our top 10 most popular places to visit in China. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few less-popular, off-the-beaten-track places if you’re feeling adventurous!
Top 10 Most Popular Places to Visit in China
- Hong Kong
- Yangtze River
- Shangri La
Top 5 Unique Places to Visit in China