Erica Fairchild

When you accept a position with EF English First in China, we know you'll want time to travel and explore this side of the world! Click the video below as we answer the most frequently asked questions about how to travel in China.

Q1. How do you find the best place to go?

A. Travel APPs are your best friend. For transportation, we recommend Trip.Com or via WeChat. For accommodation, the most highly recommended APPs are Agoda, Booking.com, Kayak, and Hostelworld.com. It depends on where you want to go and how long you want to stay, then you can choose the platform that best works for you. Our preference is to book train and plane tickets through Trip.com, but you can find better promotions and options for accommodation through Agoda.

Q2. How to book trains through Trip.com?

A. First, open the Trip.com APP. Click on the train icon, choose your departure city and select your final destination. You'll also want to select your departure date and then hit the ‘search' button. The left hand side will filter the results by departure times, and the right hand side will show the ticket price. You should note the railway station you're departing from. If you live in a big city like Shanghai, there's more than one railway station and you don't want to go to the wrong one! However, you can filter by departure station to show only the results you'd like.

Once you select the ticket you want to purchase, go onto the confirmation page where you can either log into your account for faster payment, or enter your name, passport number, and credit/debit card information to complete the payment. Once you've paid for your ticket, you can go to any train station to pick up your ticket before your departure day!

Q3. When should I travel?

A. As a new EF teacher, the company gives you 10 annual leave days for the year. A good tip to maximize your holiday is to combine your annual leave days with major holidays. There are two major Chinese holidays. Around January or February, you'll have about 5-7 days off for Chinese New Year (depending on when the holiday falls that calendar year). Then in early October, you'll have about 4-6 days off for the National Holiday or Golden Week. Throughout the year, you'll also have 1-2 days off for New Year's Day in January, Tomb Sweeping Day in April, Labor Day in May, Dragon Boat Festival in June and Mid-Autumn Festival in September. Be sure to look at the calendar when you arrive and plan your year in advanced!

Q4. How do most people travel in China?

A. The most popular mode of transportation within China is high speed train. Especially if you're located in a bigger city, there are many train stations to pick to depart from, and is very convenient in getting around to surrounding towns or other bigger cities. The next most popular transportation is via airplane. It's no secret that China is a huge country, so taking a train might not be most time efficient for your travel plans. Good news is that China has a variety of different plane carriers that fly at many different times, so you have lots of options for flying.

Q5. Do you recommend travelling solo or with a group of friends?

A. There are pros and cons for travelling by yourself and travelling with friends. If you go by yourself, the good news is China is quite a safe country. You have the opportunity to explore on your own and adhere to your own schedule. You also have an opportunity to meet new friends at the hostel you're staying at and go on tours to meet other solo travelers. If you prefer travelling with your friends or coworkers, you're able to experience different things with people you know and it's nice to talk about things you've been through together.

Q6. Is there a major language barrier?

A. You do not need to know mandarin to get around and travel in China. Most major cities will have street signs, metro stops, and menus in both Chinese and English. Smaller, tier two or three cities will not have English as readily available, but you can use WeChat translation. Simply take a photo of the characters you're trying to translate and WeChat will provide the English translation in the matter of seconds. We also recommend Pleco and Google translate for typed words or verbal translations.

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