5 Tips for Traveling During Chinese New Year

Untitled-8The Chinese New Year often seems like a great time to plan a trip as schools are off and companies close. But be warned! Hundreds of millions of locals will also travel in what is known as the world’s largest annual human migration.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 2.4 billion road trips, 295 million train journeys and 47.5 million voyages by air have been projected by the Chinese government.

In order to help you out during this frenzy ICL would like to share a few travel tips with you:

1. Consider Staying Home:

Nothing says stay home and relax more than Chinese New Year period. Not only do cities like Shanghai and Beijing become relatively empty during  this period but you will avoid the crowds and can follow the frenzy from the comfort of your sofa by checking your friends Wechat photo’s of the great wall.

2. Consider Somewhere else in Asia:

Some of the best Chinese New Year parties are thrown in unexpected places such as Boracay in the Philippines or Bangkok in Thailand. People always like a good reason to party and bars and clubs always love a new occasion to promote special events so you might find out you can have a lot of fun in other countries in South East Asia.

3. Plan, Book Ahead & Find alternatives

If you decide you must travel in Mainland China during this period, prepare as much as you can in advance and be aware of where, when and how you will get your tickets for traveling. Some examples are, if you decide to travel by train and book your ticket in a ticketing office, you will only be able to book your ticket precisely 10 days before your trip. If you plan to buy plane tickets online make sure you have the appropriate means of payment as all website don’t accept your usual credit card.

This is not the time to show up unannounced to a hostel and hope for a spare bed. Make sure you know where you will be staying and book in advance. Also avoid the big tourist attractions as much as possible. Try to find activities or places to go that are outside the guidebooks and organized trips.

4. Don’t Except New Year Eve to be like the in the West

Family reunions are a part of the Chinese tradition when it comes to celebrating the Chinese New Year. Get-togethers of relatives from huge clans are common during the festivities, with the first day of the New Year dedicated to honoring the family’s elders. This is why so many people are traveling away from the big cities back to their home provinces and transportation networks are overwhelmed.

5. Pack a Picnic and as much patience as you have

Make sure you always have emergency snacks and drinks with you while traveling and don’t hesitate to pack a book or some game cards as you never know when you will get stuck or have to change your plan to avoid the masses and you will be happy to be prepared for anything.