12 Tips to Plan a Worry-Free China Trip for Senior Travelers
Travel has been a great part of seniors' life. With convenient transportation connecting everywhere in the world, to discover the long history, diverse culture, beautiful landscape and fun local life is only an air ticket away. Most anxieties that limit the trip plan of senior travelers may come from their personal health conditions, safety problems and constraint of energy. These 12 smart tips will help you obtain a comfortable, leisurely and safe journey in China.
Elderly travelers particularly the retired seniors could travel all year round, and China offers countless views and sights varied in seasons. Generally, spring and autumn are the two most comfortable seasons with nice weather and great sceneries. Yet you need avoid the peak holiday time like the 7-day Golden Week from Oct. 1st to Oct. 7th for the National Holiday when everywhere is over packed with tourists. Besides, July and August are the hot period in China in many areas but gorgeous Yunnan and Guizhou with the amazing scenery and minority culture are nice during this time. Tibet and north part of China also enjoys comfortable weather for senior travelers to explore. Meanwhile, traveling to China in winter is also a nice choice and you could keep your budget when flights and hotels are both cheaper, especially without any crowds at all.
To make smart destination choices is the first step to have a worry-free China tour. Not only should you consider your interests and needs, but also think over the comfort level and accessibility of the destination, especially for senior travelers with walking issues. Cities like Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou as well as Chengdu are perfect for a walking-friendly tour. And your professional travel consultant will offer great suggestions to ensure you could enjoy the highlights that need some hiking, like the Great Wall. Meanwhile, destinations with harsh climate or high altitudes, such as Tibet, Qinghai and the Silk Road might be a bit of adventure, and elderly trekking fans should make choices based on their own health conditions.
Travel itself is an energy-consuming activity. If the itinerary is too tight and pressed for time, the elderly travelers may find it hard to deal with it. Therefore, you are suggested to select a slow-paced and relaxing tour to ensure your comfort during the trip. Comfort has been our prime consideration to design tours for senior travelers and when traveling with us, you never have to rush from one site to another. We do understand some people's preferences to see as much as possible on a trip, thus clear activity level will be indicated to help make each day's schedule.
Travel insurance is essential for travelers of any age, and senior travelers should take precautions against unexpected situations where you may get injured or sick. Trip cancellation and interruption could also ruin your meticulously planned tour, while travel insurance at least could provide you with financial assistance to minimize your loss. What's more, you are suggested to select a travel insurance with wide coverage including the pre-existing conditions, emergency accident and sickness, travel delays, baggage loss, etc.
Before departure, senior travelers should pack enough medications labeled with prescriptions for their pre-existing conditions or potential emergencies within their carry-on luggage. Please also ask your doctor for the chemical names of your medications as in China they might have different names in case you need get some. In addition, do carry some meds for allergies and prepare some medicine for common diseases, such as cold, pain, fever, diarrhea, etc. Meanwhile, you shall pack loose layers and comfortable shoes based on the weather. Bring a telescopic walking stick for an easier moving if it is necessary for you.
Relatively, Chinese food is a bit heavier, spicier and greasier than western ones, and most dishes on the menu may be high in fat, calories and sodium. For seniors with more sensitive and vulnerable tummies, they could choose some light dishes and skip spicy food in case of digestive discomfort. When having meals by oneself, please remember to take an allergy list written in Chinese with the help of your guide. Street food experience is quite a culture in China and you could enjoy it in many local snack streets like the famous Wangfujing Snack Street in Beijing, Muslim Quarter in Xian and Jinli Old Street as well as Wide and Narrow Alley in Chengdu. While there are great varieties of local tapas, you need to watch what you eat carefully with the help of your guide since some might not be clean enough. Your guide will always be glad to help check out the best western restaurants if you cannot get along with Chinese food.
China has very different traffic. With a huge population, the country now encounters heavy traffic in all the big cities. Pedestrians at this stage do not work so well though some cities have started to enforce the policy that vehicles should stop for people while in other cities, people still have to cope with the heavy traffic while crossing the roads. For senior travelers, the principle is simple and works best so far is to follow the traffic lights or the local crowds and cross the road together.
A well-balanced tour will give travelers free time to enjoy an in-depth exploration of the destinations on their own. You are suggested to keep your local guide's phone number and hotel card with you in case you need communication help or taking a taxi to get back to your hotel.
In China, major places are now better equipped for convenience of travelers. Many attractions are accessible by wheelchairs with well-built ramps and airports offer wheel chair service upon requests. Meanwhile, cable cars and shuttle buses are facilitated in popular attractions for people to easily approach and save some energy from long walks, which are usually included in our tour for an energy-saving exploration.
Before traveling to China, you could download some popular apps like Wechat and Skype to easily keep in touch with families or your tour operator and local guides. Please do not rely on Facebook and Twitter since they are both banned in China. You might also need use other email address if your frequently used one is Gmail as it is also not accessible.
Generally, China is a safe country to travel. However, there one possible safety problem you should take into consideration, which is the theft threats especially when you are hanging out at crowded shopping streets and markets, or when queuing up long for something. Never should you put your phones or money belt out of your sight and remember to keep your valuables in front always.
Seniors are more vulnerable to scams and frauds when traveling in China, and there are several common scams you should particularly be aware of. First of all, choose a reliable No-Shopping Tour operator to avoid the compulsory shopping and hidden commissions from overpriced goods you purchase. Secondly, avoid purchasing some high-priced souvenirs such as antiques and jade wares inside the scenic spots or the markets, as most of them might be counterfeits. Thirdly, do not take the illegal taxis which could be distinguished from their colors and taxi signs. A common and popular scam often met by tourists is that you might be approached and invited to a tea house by a friendly stranger with a good command of English who usually get commission from the high-priced tea that you pay for. At last, do not accept any small gifts like bracelet or pendants given by strangers.