If you are looking to start a new adventure, then watch the video below to learn more about travelling outside of China.
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International teacher recruiters, Jennifer Beevers and Lindy Gemmell, have both been living and working in China for three years and two years respectively. They gave us a little bit of insight on what it’s like to travel outside of China. The recruiters also opened up the floor to questions from the live Instagram audience which we’ve recapped here:
Q1: Is it safe to travel by yourself?
JB: With any type of travel, make sure you do your research and have your wits when going around to different countries.
LG: If you don’t want to travel by yourself, you always have the option of travelling with a group. Either with friends from EF or with a guided tour group.
Q2: Chinese New Year and National Week are quite busy travel weeks. Is it recommended to have a stay-cation, or should we try to travel during these breaks?
JB: I’ve done both, so I’ll give you a little bit of insight into what you can expect. During national week, I’ve stayed in Shanghai, checked into a hotel on the Bund and spent a few days there. It was nice because the city was relatively quiet as most people went back to their hometowns for the holiday. On the flip side, if you’re organized enough and plan well in advanced, I’d say you’re here in China, why not use those days to travel and explore another country!
Q3: Is it recommended to plan your itinerary when travelling abroad or can I just “wing it”?
LG: Do your research beforehand. Things like downloading a city metro map can be handly, you might need to look into a visa for some countries, and also some countries are a little pricier, so you’ll need to save a bit of money. When in the country, you can rely on people like AirBnb hosts and receptionists to give you some guidance regarding activities you’d like to do. But having a little bit of a plan and having done your research about the country isn’t a bad idea to do beforehand.
Q4: What websites do you use to book your accommodation?
LG: Ctrip is the most common way of finding plane and train tickets and accommodation. It’s also linked to your Chinese bank account so you can use Alipay and WeChat wallet to pay for your tickets or hotel reservations.
Q5: Which Chinese airlines are best to travel with?
JB: There’s quite a few airlines; AirAsia, China Eastern, China Southern to name a few. And I’ve had satisfactory experiences with all of them. I’d say the say the main focus when I look at plane tickets is getting the best deal and figuring out what time of day or month is best to fly out/in.
Q6: Would you recommend exchanging your money before or after you’ve arrived in the new country?
JB: I exchange my money beforehand. You’ll get a better exchange rate if you exchange money at the bank in China before going abroad. Also, it’s good security to have cash on hand for transportation, food if you’re hungry after the flight, and maybe visa on arrival.
Q7: How affordable is it to travel around Southeast Asia from China?
JB: It’s really affordable! Most places are within 6 hours of China (depending on where in China you are). With the 6 hour flights, it’s cheaper than flying for example 12 hours from your home country.
LG: Also, we’ve both been to multiple Southeast Asian countries during our two and three years in China, so it’s affordable enough to make a few international trips in your time in China.
Q8: Are a lot of the Southeast Asian countries similar, or are they all quite different and worth exploring?
LG: There are similarities, but they’re definitely worth exploring. Each country has something they’re known for; whether it’s the beaches in the Philippines, or volcanoes in Indonesia, food in Thailand, or shopping in Japan; we’re recommend you explore all countries if you can!
Q9: How far in advanced do you have to apply for leave before a trip?
JB: Check with the recruiter you’re working with, and with your line manager when you arrive in China. There’s a teacher calendar in most centers where you can apply for leave. In my center, I believe it was about a month in advanced that you need to ask for time off.
Q10: What’s the difference in Chinese cities?
JB: It’s such a big country, so there’s going to be climate differences. If you’re up north let’s say in Beijing, the weather is going to be colder and very chilly in the winter time. If you’re down south in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, the climate will be sub-tropical weather for the majority of the year. Somewhere like Shanghai, you’ll see some really modern buildings and cool architecture. So if you have the opportunity to travel within China too, I’d say go for it!
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