China is a popular travel & expatriate destination; it has both spectacular natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. However, moving to China with children can be challenging for expats. If you are planning your first family moving to China or becoming an expat there, this article will give you 10 tips for moving or travelling with your family.
Tips for expat families moving to China
1. Learning Chinese Before You Arrive
Though many Chinese people can understand and speak English in urban cities, it is recommended that expats learn some Chinese before travelling. It also makes sense to use one of the many translation apps that you can download on your phone.
2. Book Ahead Before Travelling Within China
For expatriates planning to travel within China, it is very important to book hotels and transportation ahead. Hotels near tourist destinations are usually very popular, and it is almost impossible to find another local comfortable hotel room after 9 pm during peak travel seasons. The same goes for transportation tickets, so remember to book everything in advance.
3. Know The Local Climate
China is a big country, so the weather in China varies drastically from place to place. In the Southern area of China, the climate is usually hot, mild and humid. Hainan Island, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Yunnan all have a tropical climate. The Northern part of China, however, has a subarctic climate. For example, Heilongjiang has an average temperature of – 30°C during the winter season.
Generally speaking, the best time to travel to China is around Autumn. Starting in October, most of the tourist attractions have cooled down and the summer holiday travel crowds have gone, and the weather in many places are comfortable and mild. You should also keep updated on the pollution levels, especially in big cities such as Beijing.
4. Tell Your Children About Your Travel Plan Before Departure
To ensure a successful trip to China, it is recommended to discuss your travel plan with your older kids. You can design interesting activities for your family, visit lovely giant pandas in Chengdu, enjoy the beautiful natural scene by cruise and hiking, go to the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, and learn paper-cutting and opera face mask painting.
5. Medical Check-Ups Before Travelling
Don’t forget to schedule medical check-ups before departure. Especially when you are traveling with children. Talk to your doctor about your travel plan as early as possible. You don’t want to put you and your family’s health at risk of some communicable diseases.
6. Travel Medical Insurance versus International Health Insurance
Travel medical insurance is designed to provide emergency-only protection while you are overseas. Unlike travel insurance that generally only covers emergency healthcare, international health insurance will not only cover routine medical care but also allow expats to receive medical treatment anywhere with their region of the cover, including emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Our most popular international health plan for expats in China is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. Contact us to discuss your situation. To obtain a travel medical insurance plan, please click here.
7. Bring Medicine
Do remember to prepare some drugs for emergency care, as well as a copy of your family’s medical history. This is very helpful in the event you need to see a doctor in China. Make sure you bring some information on your current health from your doctor along with clearly labeled prescriptions.
8. Encourage Your Children to try Chinese Food
It is recommended to encourage your children to taste Chinese food. Chinese cuisine has diverse styles in different regions. For example, in Si Chuan and Chongqing, due to the cool climate, local people favour dishes with a lot of garlic and chili, with heavy spices on top. In Shanghai, local people would prefer braising and stewing dishes. And because of different sauce, the appearance of Shanghai cuisine is usually of dark colour. Peking duck and Cantonese dim-sum are popular dishes throughout China.
9. Avoid Non-Recommended Areas
When traveling with children, you should pay close attention to safety and health risks. Though kids are generally safe from crime in China, there are still a few areas you would definitely want to avoid, such as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In China, most big and middle-sized cities are safe for tourists.
10. Engage Yourself in Local Festivals
It is recommended that expats immerse themselves into Chinese culture by participating in local festivals. The major festivals are China National Day, Mid Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year, May Day holiday, and the Qing Ming Festival. Some expats tend to take the opportunity to return back to their hometown during the Chinese holidays. However, it is a great time for expats to make friends with local Chinese who will also assist you to overcome homesickness and culture shock. If your colleagues invite you to go to the local party during Chinese holidays, it is best to join for the fun.
Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates in China and around much of the world. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.