Good to know before traveling to China
1. Get your Chinese Visa.
Visit the Chinese Embassy at least one month before your planned travel date. Even if is not your first time traveling to China. Consult the Chinese Calendar for the upcoming holidays, the Chinese Embassy closes accordingly.
2. Travel with a plug converter.
I was unable to use my hair styling tools because they couldn't fit on the plug.
3. Social media survival.
There is a great wall around social media in China. There is no Google, Instagram or Facebook. If you can live without them congrats, if you have to stay connected like me, because I manage my business social, then you can install an app called ExpressVPN. It worked perfectly for me.
Download translating apps, there are some that even speak so you can just use the speaker on your phone and have your taxi driver listened in. I found that more Chinese people speak English now compared to seven years ago. Even, and old man on the subway was able to help us purchase the tickets in English but better safe than sorry.
5. Cash is King
I wanted to do some clothes shopping on our last day because we were so busy the rest of the trip. When in the store surrounded by all those beautiful dresses I was told that they don't accept Visa or Master Card, only local cards or cash. Bummer! Left China with no new clothes. This was the same at all stores, except restaurants and the hotel.
If you don't yet master the art of riding a bicycle, please learn. There are cool bicycles all around the city. You can rent them through an app that unlocks them, and you are free to ride and just luck it back as you get to your destination.We did not get to use them because we had the children with us. But it was good exploring alternative to Taxi.
Taxis are generally easy to access and affordable. The downfall is that drivers are usually new so we felt insecure on most of our rides. Taxis are also a bit smelly as they allow smoking.
7. Eat up.
Although we had a better experience at the restaurants, we went by ourselves this time round. Nothing beats roadside food, it's always cooked in front of you, so you know what and what is going in there.
8. Be on time
When returning to your country, make sure to be at least 4 hours before your travel time at the airport. Trust me you need to be early. The security line at the Pudong airport in Shanghai is extremely slow and long. They are very meticulous with their screening process.