International travel is always complicated, especially if your destination is China. First, you need to apply for an entry VISA for mainland tour and another special entry permit to Travel to Tibet. Secondly, you may be refused by some low-cost China Hotels if you just show up at the counter, because several hotels are not available for foreigners. Thirdly, most of the time you need to join a travel agency that provides services for international travelers, as people are speaking Chinese rather than English. So this article is going to introduce some information about these concerns.

Apply for the VISA. The exceptions are Hong Kong and Macao, otherwise you need to apply for the entry VISA before entering China. You can apply for the VISA in local Chinese consulates and your passport should be valid for at least 6 months. The type of VISA is usually L, the travel VISA, which is valid for 3 months. The process duration is usually a week. Moreover, you need to get Tibet Travel Permit, or Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) for entering Tibet area. You will need an additional transit permit to go to certain cities in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest Base camp. These two permits can only be applied through travel agencies, excluding the government officers, diplomats and journalists. It generally takes 1-10 business days. If you travel to Tibet by air, you need to show these document when check in.

Hotels. Some of the hotels are not available for foreigners. One of the reasons is that they do not have the system to check your passport information. There are many motels or express hotels popular among

Chinese and their prices are relatively low. However, some branches in sensitive areas cannot accept foreigners. Such as Shanghai Home Inn in Railway station is not available for foreigners, while other branches in Shanghai can accept foreigners. This is because the railway station is sensitive and restricted by the government. My suggestion is to book your reservation through the online agencies. For example, you can go to tripadviser.com and search the hotel information, reviews, and the online providers. Chinatraveldepot.com is run by China Youth Travel Service company, and this website provides service mainly for foreigners. Therefore, they have already screened those improper hotels and information for you.

Travel Agencies. If you are not a backpacker type of traveler, then the quality of your vacation in China largely depends on the travel agency you have chosen. The professional level of guide, the arrangement of tour

packages, the vehicles and restaurants provided are all essential part of choosing a travel agency. On chinatraveldepot.com, you can get these things customized. You can just pick the general 7-day or 2-week tour package, then replace some of the items with your own interests. You can also rent cars on this website like you do in your own place. The difference is that renting a car through this website, you will get a driver and translator as well. So it is more like a private tour. If you decide to follow a travel agency, you do not need to worry about the domestic flights, the hotels, places, schedules. But you still need to get your VISA to enter China at first.

International travel needs much more preparation than domestic travels, especially the china travel where you speak completely different language, and you need VISA to get in. Despite some sensitive issues, it is still worthy once you start your journey in this ancient cultural land. If you are interested, please go to the travel section for more details.

Jack Li

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