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12 Tips for Solo Travelers

Traveling alone can be a little intimidating, especially for those first-timers to a huge country like China. There are safety concerns, hygiene issues, travel plans, single supplement, and more to worry. However, you can enjoy a fulfilling trip with the right preparations and realize your solo travel dream.

#1 Do Your Homework

Whenever you go, always do your homework in advance. You need to know everything you can collect about your destination, especially about your fellow travelers' complaints during their trips. China is a vast country with many hot travel destinations. For a first-timer, big cities are recommended, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin, etc.. The advantage of choosing one of these cities to start is that you will have an international-level of travel experience without worrying. However, you still need to understand the cultures, customs, sights, food, and the best places to stay.

#2 Let Your Friends Know Your Plan

When you decide to have your personal pilgrimage to China, a country hundreds of thousands of miles away from your homeland, it’s highly suggested that you inform your families or friends about your plan. You must be honest with them about your hotels, flights, train info., itineraries, and more. Of course, your embassy will have your travel information when you apply for the passport and visa.

#3 China is A Safe Country to Solo Travelers

I’m not saying that China is a crime-free country; it’s comparatively safer than most countries in the world. Chinese government cares a lot about its international image that the sentences about hurting foreigners are a bit high. Nevertheless, it would help if you still took some precautions about where you are visiting. For example, don’t go to the less-traveled places, avoid taking the cabs that charge insanely cheap, and don’t trust those who intercept your way and offer help.

#4 Don’t Travel the Off-the-beaten Path

China is a populous country. Almost all the major sights are jammed with people, especially on holidays. It could be frustrating if you are looking for a nice and quiet trip. You may think about going to someplace off the beaten path. My advice is: don’t. There is always a reason that place is off the beaten, either too remote or not that appealing. For those who visit China for the first time, city sights are beautiful enough. If you’ve been a city several times and you are bored with the things you always see, then you can do something a bit differently and explore the less-traveled places.

#5 Always Carry Toilet Paper

As China is catching up in many aspects, the bathroom services are still a little behind. Only some big shopping malls are equipped with toilet paper. Therefore, you must always carry toilet paper. You probably knew that most Chinese bathrooms only have squatting type toilets, which can be very troubling. However, most hotels and malls also have the sitting toilets.

#6 Buy Travel Insurance

Travel is a beautiful word, but you have to know the danger behind it. For solo travelers, insurance is essential. It can help a lot if anything terrible happens.

#7 Don’t Take Too Many Valuables

Sure, it feels good to own brand things. It’s not if you are stalked or observed by someone with intention. For a solo traveler, the first thing is to stay safe and lay low. Besides, you can’t take much luggage on your own. Otherwise, you won’t have much fun during the trip.

#8 Be Careful about the Street Food

Chinese street food is world-famous. Every city has its specialty to offer. It’s ok if you want to taste some of them, but it’s not wise to cover your meal with street food. Generally speaking, the sanitary conditions of Chinese restaurants are mostly good, but you need to avoid the small food stands. They may be delicious, but there is no guarantee about hygiene. The last thing you want is diarrhea during travel.

#9 Look Out for Invitations

China is safe, but there are always local scammers out there looking for the opportunity to rip you off. Just be careful when a young, beautiful girl is approaching and exchange pleasantries with you. She may claim to be a college girl who wants to practice her English speaking skills and then invite you for a cup of drink or tea. If you accept the invitation, you will be facing a high bill of over 1,000 RMB typically. The best way to avoid such an occasion is to refuse the invitation politely.

#10 You can Get By without Knowing Chinese

Don’t be stressed if you know nothing about the Chinese language. It turns out many people, especially the urban people of China, understand some English. Of course, speaking a little Chinese shows your respect for Chinese culture. But if you can’t say it right, it only creates more frustration.

#11 Prepare VPN and Chinese Apps

Apps like Google, Facebook, Youtube, and Whatsapp don’t work in China. To maintain communication with your families and friends, a VPN is necessary. If you plan to take a trip longer than a week, a Chinese phone might do a lot of good. You can download some useful apps, like Didi (like Uber) and Wechat.

#12 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

No matter how detailed you prepare, there is always something unexpected during your travel. At such moments, ask for help. Chinese people are warm and enthusiastic, especially so when a foreigner asks them. You just need to be polite.

Have you traveled alone? What’s holding you back? Your families or job? It will be a real pity when you want to travel and you simply can’t. Let’s pack up and accomplish our pilgrimage!

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