Traveling to China

I think the biggest piece of advice anyone out of college would give is to travel while you’re young (and in college). I’ve heard it a number of times. From friends, family, family friends, professors, etc. Having seen my friends study abroad for months at a time and knowing that my elders are wiser than I, I’ve realized that it’s time for me to travel. So, I’m going to China…

I’ve been out of the country a few times. Twice to New Zealand and a number of times to Canada. It had been a while since I’d traveled though so here’s my first lesson before I even left:

Passports take many weeks to be renewed

Mom constantly reminded me and I constantly put if off. I then realized I needed my passport back in less than a month and the processing can take up to 8 weeks. Oops. That mistake cost me a few extra bucks to have it expedited.

You can’t really do your own photo

The guidelines for passport photos are all online and very easy to follow. But, little did I know, this is really just a joke. You can’t take your own passport photos. They laugh at whatever you bring in. I printed the right size, perfect quality, but nope… don’t bother. Pay the extra $15 at the Post Office to get it done.

You have to be invited to China

I knew that you had to have permission (and good reason) to move to India but I didn’t realize you needed an invitation to visit China. I’ll be traveling with a tour group so that was obviously taken care of. In any case, I didn’t realize a Visa was needed to visit China.

Credit cards don’t work in China

I can leave the Visa, MasterCard and AmEx at home. Despite what the commercials say, these guys are not accepted everywhere. Lots of Traveler’s Checks are to be purchased today. As they say, Cash is king.

So, any last minute advice, tips, anything? I get on the plane early tomorrow morning and I plan to return with great pictures, stories and lessons. Of course, I’ll share them all. See you in April…