- Why do U China Travel prices only include breakfast and lunch but NOT dinner?
If the hotels that are booked by U China Travel, all taxes, service charges and buffet breakfasts are included. Since we offer high quality breakfasts and lunches and want our guests to have a break after the tour so they can rest in the hotels or explore places around, we prefer to make all dinners open. However we are happy to help you make reservations for dinners and provide you with any transportation if you need. We provide at least one round-trip transportation by private vehicle or at least our guide and driver will send you to the restaurant and guests can take a taxi back to the hotel.
- How do I order my food in the trip?
The meals included in the trip are all A la Carte, meaning you will take a look at the menu and order the items you like (with the exception of the very expensive shark fin, birds nest, etc…. But we don’t recommend eating those things anyway!). Our local guides will assist you with ordering since some menus might just offer photos with Chinese descriptions. They will also suggest the best, signature dishes of each restaurant. Our local guides have a great sense of the best local dishes to sample and the specialities of each restaurant where U China Travel guests visit. Guests are welcome to invite the guides to dine with them and most of our guides will be happy to join in, however they also fully respect the need for our guests privacy. Our local guides and drivers will have their own funds to subsidize their meal.
- What is the payment method and process?
We require a 20% deposit up-front and the remainder can be paid 45 days prior to departure date. There are currently two payment methods available; via PayPal or Wire Transfer. PayPal charges a 5% commission on the payment on top of another 5% service charge to transfer from the PayPal account to our bank account. Most of our guests use wire transfer to our company’s HSBC account in Hong Kong. There is no extra cost for doing this (banks typically charge 10-20 USD) and the transfer only takes 1-2 business days. Attached are some wire transfer payment remittance slips from recent U China Travel guests.
After the deposit is received, we will continue to work on your tour by confirming with all your hotels and local guides. We will send you all hotel confirmation letters with your names so you can use them to apply for your Chinese visa (along with your round trip flights). We will confirm your inter-city flights with you one month prior to your departure because local airlines only promote and make final flight confirmations a month in advance. We will send you the e-tickets. All hotels and flights will be booked under your name, so check-in will only require all guests’ passports. Passport information required for all flight/hotel booking includes: 1. Full name as written in your passport 2. Passport number. 3. Date of birth (year/month/date). 4. The passports valid/expiration date.
- What is the luggage allowance for domestic flights?
Guests can check-in two pieces of luggage, with a total weight of about 20 kg (44 pounds) per passenger. In our U China Travel experience, going over 2-3 kg (4.4-6.6 pounds) is generally acceptable. If your luggage exceeds the maximum you will be charged a fee of about 20-30 CNY per kilogram.Â The carry-on allowance is about 5 kg per person and the size limit should not exceed 20 inches (tall?wide?). All domestic airlines are not very strict about the weight but put more restrictions on the size of the carry-on.
There is NO weight limit for luggage on trains since passengers donâ€™t check-in their luggage and rather carry the luggage themselves to their appropriate cabin or seat.
Most domestic flights offer First Class as an alternative to Business Class. The standard weight limit for First Class is about 40 kg (88 pounds) per passenger.
If you are a high end member of Sky Team or Star Alliance, we recommend checking their website for its special luggage policies.
- Should I tip local guides and drivers?
China is NOT a tipping country but we do tip local guides and drivers while traveling. Our recommended amount is about 20-30 USD a day to local guides and drivers.Â You can do higher or lower and it is all depends on how much you enjoy their services. You can tip them at the end of your visit, such as at the airport or on your last stop with them before your next departure. We pay our drivers and guides standard and fair labor wages from U China Travel Ltd. Any tips will be accepted as a bonus wage.
- Should I bring cash of CNY or USD to China? Are there ATMs in China?
The exchange rate is fixed in China and all hotel receptions offer money exchange services to their guests. As my recommendation, I donâ€™t think you need to take lots of cash since credit cards are widely used except in very small towns and villages. Most of the fees are paid already by us such as hotels, entrance fees and lunches (you need to pay drinks), so you will only need a small amount for personal use. You may bring more or less than 2000 USD in cash and the rest can be paid by credit card. There are also ATMs everywhere and our local guides and drivers will help you with any transactions.
- How often we need to use cash and credit? How can we exchange USD to CNY at a fair rate?
Most of the places in China DO NOT take USD, except for some vendors and tipping to local guides and drivers. Your hotels will provide special services to exchange USD to CNY and the rate will be the same as at the bank. They don’t accept any commission and it is a service for the guests.
Most of the restaurants take credit card except some small ones but they also prefer cash in CNY. All taxes in China only take CNY (Yuan). We recommend you exchange some Chinese cash and carry it with you when you are traveling.
- How you can help me with any shopping?
U China Travel promises NO tourist shops or traps for the tour we operate. Our local guides will help guests to shop at local markets, small handicraft stores and any places where our guests desire to shop. For handicrafts we recommend you buy at local markets or small stores and try to buy them from local people or small studios.
- What should I pack for the appropriate weather conditions during my visit?
China is a big country with a variety of climates and weather conditions. In general, the early spring and fall months are the most ideal and comfortable to visit any region in China. With a big itinerary and lots of time outdoors, we recommend a light sweater for the evening and a rain jacket in case of any bad weather conditions. Comfortable, cotton clothes and walking shoes are always appropriate for traveling.
Check the following links for the most accurate weather conditions in Beijing and the rest of China.