There’s no question that travel with kids to China is an adventure, full of many challenges, but many goods things. Here are some of my tips:
1. Be prepared to spend a lot of time walking or in taxis (and be prepared for it to take some time to get a taxi, and one that will take kids!). This means an easily portable stroller for young ones. Try the ever-expanding subway system, or even buses.
2. Take advantage of the cheap food and wide variety of it, whether snacks, drinks, or a bowl of noodles at a simple restaurant. Read my tips on street food.
3. Bring an open mind. You’ll encounter your share of rude and impolite behavior but many will go out of their way to help even if they can’t understand you. Luckily, kids especially seem to get special treatment.
4. Bring tissues everywhere. And hand sanitizer/wipes.
5. Practice squatting. The kid whose parents got fined for him peeing in the yard? Yeah, won’t happen in China. Ready, aim…
6. It’s a cash society. Carry plenty, but safely.
7. Prepare to smile for the cameras. Or be prepared to chase them off if you’re more safety conscious.
8. If you need, “stuff” (toys…), find your local market and practice haggling.
9. If you or your kids have special needs, everything will require careful planning.
Do you have any tips to add, or what tips are you looking for?
Jenny Lin is raising 3 boys in Beijing while working as a writer/editor. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her sporadically updated cross-cultural familial adventures at beijingmom.blogspot.com