Flying to China from the US is like having to know a lot many things before you actually hit the land. The American citizen has to know the tradition, culture, rules, and regulations before traveling to a place like China. In case you are getting to China for the first time, here are the things that you must ponder upon:

China is a beautiful country. There are a lot of things to see and experience in this country. Although it’s modernization made it have some western affinities, some are not covered. And also China’s culture is different from that of the west’s. So many people coming from the US to visit China must know a few things so that they won’t get into problems or be embarrassed.

1. Before traveling to China Inform Bank about your visit 

This not only refers to traveling to China but also any country you visit in general. Informing your bank that you are going to visit a foreign country because it may detect your activities there as unusual transactions and then block your card as a safety measure.

2. Book your Flight smartly

The first thing while traveling is the mode of transport and your reservation. Book your air flight beforehand with promo codes and cashback offers. There are several offers and discounts available on each airline. Check for your route and avail of the discount on travel fares.

3. Cash is Preferred in China for Travellers

Even though more and more Chinese people and businesses are going online in transactions, cash is the most common payment method for travelers and is accepted everywhere in the country especially in rural areas where it is the main way to pay. Although mobile payments are popular in Chinese cities, due to processes involved before you pay, it might not be worth it if you are making a short trip.

4. Only Yuan is accepted 

Chinese businesses only accept their official currency Yuan, which is also called RMB’s and does not accept the US dollar or HongKong dollar.

The different notes which are available for RMB are 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. There are also 1RMB coins and also smaller fractions that are called “Mao”.

5. ATM’s can provide currency exchanges in China

Large chain banks like HSBC accepts your cards and can be used to withdraw local currency for use. They usually offer a better exchange rate than other services. But the only problem is that while international ATM’s are available in all major cities, it might be hard to find them in less tourist-friendly areas.

6. Apply for Visa in advance

It is important to know that China does not offer Visas on arrival. So you must arrange your visa in advance. You will need to provide either a letter of invitation from a friend or relative in China or provide a detailed itinerary of your trip. This itinerary should include return flights and confirmed reservations for hotel bookings.

7. Bring toilet paper

It is always a good idea to carry a box of tissues or a roll of toilet paper while traveling to China as Chinese toilets do not provide it. While Hotels and some restaurants will have it available, it is nevertheless important to carry it yourself just in case.

8. Do not drink tap water in china

One must not drink tap water in China because most of the tap water is not drinkable. Instead, drink bottled water which can be purchased very cheaply at most restaurants and stores.

9. Do not tip

While tipping is generally a good sign in the US, it is uncommon in China because China and in fact, most of Asia do not have a history of tipping. It might be even considered offensive as though they interpret that you feel they need an additional charity to get by.

But there are exceptions too, the staff in luxurious hotels and restaurants have grown accustomed to receiving tips from western travelers. But it is not generally recommended to spread a new cultural norm.