Acquire the Proper Documents
Not taking the time to get your travel documents in order could be a costly mistake. Travelers who arrive in China without proper passports or visas will be fined and deported at the traveler's expense. That is no way to start a vacation.
Make sure you have a valid passport that is good for at least 6 months from the date of travel. You will also need to take your passport to the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate office in order to have a travel visa added to it. Obtain a multi-entry visa if your trip will take you across borders. You can usually mail your passport to the embassy to obtain the visa, but Chinese officials will sometimes as that you appear in person for an interview about the purpose of your trip.
Plan the Details of Your Trip
China is an enormous country and it is impossible to see and do everything in a single trip. It is important to decide ahead of time what places you will visit and what you will do while you are there. Research is the key, and also keep a close eye on your budget.
Make a list of the places you would like to go and research the attractions, festivals and other activities that are nearby. Keep in mind that you may not get to see everything on your list, and may also encounter other activities that you were not planning on. Being flexible will make the trip much smoother and more enjoyable, as well as adding a sense of adventure to your journey.
Hire a Guide to Show You Around
As simple and common sense as the idea may sound, many people fail to hire a guide when traveling in foreign lands. Using a guide has many benefits that can not be overlooked. Aside from not having to worry about getting lost, guides can show you the special places off the beaten path, and provide you with an experience you can't get from a brochure. Guides also make excellent translators to help you communicate with locals.
Any tour company can arrange for a licensed guide to work with you. There are also specialist guides who focus on a specific aspect, such as a fishing guide or a culinary guide. Always work through a professional agency to obtain licensed guides. Hiring random guides on the street can be a risky proposition, and services should be politely declined when offered.
Buy a Power Adapter
You would be surprised at how many people pack away electronics and their power cords for overseas trips, but fail to bring an adapter that will allow them to be plugged into the wall. Power outlet styles vary from country to country, and it is never safe to assume that your plug will match what is on the wall.
There are two standards of electric outlets used in China. One is the CPCS-CCC tri-plug, which is also used in Australia. This is the default standard plug for all outlets in both countries. Because some portions of China receive a significant number of visitors from Hong Kong, many buildings also offer the British BS-1363 outlet, which is the most common plug in Hong Kong.
Anything you bring that requires a plug, such as hair dryers, curling irons and laptop computers will require a source of power. Contact your local electronics store and ask them to order the appropriate power adapter for your needs.