Don’t fly to China before reading this!
Have you received your work permit notification from your prospective employer and just submitted your visa application to the Chinese consulate? You are probably very excited and ready to book your flight to China. However, before purchasing your flights to China, please read this article carefully as we have compiled a list of valuable advice that will make your journey to China a lot more smooth.
When should I purchase my flight to China?
We strongly advise you not to purchase your ticket until you receive your passport with the Z visa from the Chinese consulate.
Although you will receive your passport within the time frame given by the Chinese consulate, there is a minor chance that your visa could be rejected, or there could be a few days delay. If there is a delay, you can always discuss with your recruiter or prospective employer to adjust the arrival date to China. Also, our recruiters will always advise our teachers to work ahead of schedule so that you will have a few days flexibility to purchase your one-way ticket to China so that you can purchase the least expensive flights without more than one connecting flight. Even if you purchased your flight ticket 2-3 days prior to your flight, your flight cost will be well under the reimbursement policy.
It seems like all the flights to China are connecting flights. Any advice on this matter?
Depending on where you are traveling from, most likely, you will have to take one connecting flight to Shenzhen. You may find that the least expensive flights are the ones with two connecting flights, but unless you are on a tight budget, we recommend no more than one connecting flight. Also, when you are scheduling a connecting flight in China, for example, if you are flying from Los Angeles to Shenzhen with a transfer in Beijing, we strongly recommend having a minimum 4-hour layover. Chinese airports are notorious for delays, and many teachers have missed their connecting flight due to a short layover time. If you missed a connecting flight, the airline company will give you a new flight, just let your employer know the updated flight info as soon as you can.
Also, if you are flying on a connecting flight, when you are purchasing the ticket, make note of whether your luggage will be “checked through” or not. If the luggage isn’t checked through the connecting flight, you will have to get your bags and then re-check it. This can be very inconvenient and we strongly suggest that you purchase the connecting flight with the luggage being “checked through.” Also, once you purchase the ticket with the “checked through” option, when you are checking your luggage in, mention to the check-in counter agent that you want to pick up your luggage at your final destination. It will make your life much easier.
What’s the risk of losing my luggage?
Although the risk of losing your luggage is low, it does happen. I was very fortunate enough to fly around 300,000 miles and I never lost my luggage. Ahem- “knock on wood.” However,
I do have a few friends who have lost their luggage, and a few of them never saw their lost luggage again. In order to minimize the risk of losing your luggage forever, we would recommend doing two things. First, tie a ribbon on the handle of your luggage in order to minimize the risk of another person “accidentally” taking your luggage from the baggage carousel. Second, put a name tag on your luggage, as well as a phone number of a person at your new school of employment and your e-mail address. I’ve always done the above two and I never lost my luggage, YET. With that said, carry your important papers and valuables in your carry-on luggage.
How many bags can I check in my flight?
For this matter, I would advise you to contact your airlines to check the luggage check-in policy. Generally, for a transcontinental international flight, you are usually allowed to check in 2 bags, with a maximum weight of 25KG per bag. In addition, you are allowed to carry on one luggage as well as a small personal bag. If you had to travel with a lot of things, it is much less expensive to prepay an extra checked bag than to go over the luggage weight limit. This is because a heavy bag will require more precaution for the airport staff. We at For Teach Recruiting always recommend our teachers to travel as light as possible. Just bring your favorite clothes, and the things you will really need here. Every teacher I’ve known that came with very little things usually had to throw away a bunch of stuff by the time they return home. Clothes are very inexpensive in China.
What am I allowed to have in my carry-on luggage? What am I not allowed to put in my checked baggage?
For this matter, we advise you to check with your airlines’ policy, but what we can tell you for sure is, you are allowed to carry 2 power banks, 2 cell phones, and 1 lithium-ion battery for your laptop in your carry-on bag. You are not allowed to put any power banks or electronics with a lithium-ion battery in your checked baggage. For liquid products, make sure to put any liquid bottles like aftershave, perfume, etc that are over 100ml in your checked baggage. In your carry-on, for all liquid items below 100 ml per bottle, you will need to put those in a re-sealable plastic bag before putting it in your carry-on luggage.
When should I exchange my money for Chinese RMB?
We recommend that for most of your money, exchange it to RMB once you arrive in China. That way, you will receive the best rates. Purchasing another country’s currency elsewhere will usually give you the worst exchange rates. However, upon arrival, you may need some petty cash so we do advise purchasing around 1000 RMB prior to arriving in China.
For Current Exchange Rates
When should I setup VPN for my computer and mobile phone?
We recommend downloading and subscribing to a VPN prior to departure for China because once you arrive in China, it is a bit more difficult, but NOT impossible to download the VPN. For example, if you use Apple products, you can probably manage to download a VPN for your phone, but for a Mac book, you may need to ask a friend who already has a VPN to download the software for you. For Teach Recruiting always recommends Express VPN- as that’s what we use and for the most part, it works well all year around. Express VPN is $99 US for one year subscription and you can use one subscription on up to 3 devices simultaneously.
Do you have any tips on minimizing the jet lag upon arrival in China?
If you have friends or family members who travelled a lot for business trips, you probably heard them say that it is easier to get out of a jet lag when they travel west. That is not a coincidence and it is scientifically proven that traveling west is easier on the jet lag than traveling east. However, we will give you a few pointers to minimize jet lag. If you are traveling west, start to sleep later prior to your travel date and this will ease the jet lag significantly. If you are traveling east, try to sleep earlier than usual. Another tip for those of you traveling west towards China is, if you can, we recommend you to arrive in China either late afternoon or early evening. Then go to bed no earlier than 9 PM.
Any other tips prior to traveling to China?
I think we have most things covered. If we wanted to give you one more travel tip, just know that all the international airports in China have free WIFI. Have safe travels and we will see you soon, in Shenzhen hopefully.
A few Other posts to help you prepare for your arrival in China.
10 Cultural Differences Between China and the West
10 Must-Have Apps for China!
If you have any questions send us a message or write a comment below.