China’s civilisation has been around since 1700 BCE. Before taking in 3700 years of culture, a little preparation can save a lot of time and money.


Vaccines for China:

Check with your doctor about what vaccinations you may need to get or update. Some may require an incubation period of a few weeks, so check early. Commonly recommended jabs include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, Japanese B encephalitis, annual and bird flu, tetanus, measles and a polio booster. Remember, you’re about to go to one of the most densely populated places in the world. Get your shots. Asthmatics, bring enough huffers to get you through the trip. The same goes for any other medications, and ask your doctor to write you a note for them.

Pollution is a big problem in the big cities. If the locals are wearing masks, you may want to follow suit. For those who don’t read Chinese, mistaking flea medicine for eye drops could be a very painful lesson. Should something go terribly wrong, Western-style clinics dot the big cities. The care won’t be cheap, but will be covered by a good China travel insurance plan.

Bring your own wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Outside of better restaurants and hotels, most of the toilets don’t provide these amenities. Be prepared to roll up your pants and squat.

If it gets too bad, head to the hills using China’s excellent train system. Though Chinese people speak loudly, and push a lot, this isn’t violence, it’s just part of their exuberant culture.

Technophiles, note that you can download smart phone apps that translate characters as well as phrases. SIM cards are available at airports and train stations. Use your smart phone for all those great travel apps, but beware roaming charges. Back up your data before you leave, and include technology in your travel insurance.