beijingsmogThere are many things you need to think about when traveling with your family to Beijing, China. Traffic, language, food, mobility – but a growing concern for many parents in the city is the environment. Many hazards can be avoided, but smog, well, it’s in the air you breathe. If you have the luxury of picking the time to visit, there are brief windows in Spring and Fall when both the air and the weather are suitable.
Spring – Some time in March or April the weather warms and the spring sand storms, which we used to fear, blow much of the bad air away.

Fall – my favorite season. September and October can be gorgeous, and the air fresh, and make the best time to head to the hills.

Spring Festival week – so most of the city will be shut down, but this also means the roads, a major source of pollution, will be clear.

How to prepare for the bad air in Beijing? Purchase particulate masks, they even make them kid friendly. Many these days are buying air purifiers for their homes. A Beijing doctor runs a popular blog with detailed info on both these items.

Monitor the air quality – there are websites that update readings and the most popular app, which compares the US embassy reading with the Chinese government reading.

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