10 Easy Steps to Plan Your China Travel 2025

Planning a trip to China seems to be daunting. Well, China may really be long from your country. It has an entirely different system of society and culture. There are too many things to worry, food, hotels, tourist, flights, train… But here we want to say: take it easy. Planning a trip to China easy and raveling in China is easy either. Looking at it from another angle, it is wonderful that you're thinking of coming to China, a majestic country full of culture, history and natural wonders. You won’t regret a moment of your time in China because it will be a trip of once in a lifetime. Most importantly, you are not alone in China! You will be well taken care of by us from airport pickup, hotels to food, tour guide, etc.

Well there are some things you can do and learn about before your trip. The more prepared you are, the greater your chances of a memorable China trip that lives up to your expectations. Read following simple 10 easy steps which will help you organize a well-planned trip to China.

1. Decide Where to Go in China

China is one of the largest countries in the world with diverse options for travel. Classic culture tour, adventure, landscape sweeping, food tour…, which means you can travel to classic destinations, such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai in an enjoyable way, or travel pretty far to experience exotic culture and nature in western China destinations, such as Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, etc., or go to spend several leisure day exploring romantic southern China destinations, such as Guilin, Hangzhou, etc. There may be certain things to do which is quite famous, and absolutely should be planned in your trip, such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Giant Panda, Li River, etc. You can browse the Top 15 Things to do in China. A another good way to check the Top 10 Most Popular Destinations in China to get inspirations. If you are interested in Chinese history and culture, you can also find out more sites in China UNESCO Site List.

Useful links

Top 10 China Destinations You can't Miss in 2025
Most Popular China City Tours 2025 Top 15 Things to Do for Your China Vacation 2025

How to plan China tour

Beijing Tian'anmen

How to plan China tour

Chengdu Giant Panda

2. Traveling Independently or with a Tour Package

Traveling independently is not very difficult in tourism-developed destinations, such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, but not recommended if you want to explore remote southwestern, southern and northeastern destinations. Well, you should know visiting China independently will cost a lot of time because you have to spend much time for mapping, looking for hotels and navigating location. Sometimes it is more expensive than a tour package.

Traveling with a travel agency is strongly recommended if you want to explore the very essence of China with a comfortable and worry-free way. A good local tour operator, like China Discovery, usually provides valuable group tours as well as tailor-made tour packages. You will be saved from the cumbersome jobs of online researching of hotels, destinations, foods, etc.

Useful links

Top 10 China Tour Packages
Classic China Tours Rated by Real Travelers Recommended China Tours from Beijing Recommended China Tours from Shanghai

How to plan China tour

Our tour guide with clients

How to plan China tour

Non-smoking vehicle

3. Decide When to Go

Since China has four very distinct seasons, and the popular destinations are located in different regions of the territory, it is very important to travel destinations in different seasons. Since China is so large and diverse, you can always find suitable destinations to visit in each season, or each month. In the big metropolis, such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Chengdu, the season doesn't matter as much as visiting natural destinations, because their best highlights are all conveniently located in or near the city downtown, and it is always very easy to book flights, trains and hotels. But some destinations are only recommended to be visited in specific seasons.

Generally speaking, Autumn is the best season to travel China when the weather is pleasant and scenery is finest. But it is also the busiest tourism peak season. To avoid the crowds, you can avoid traveling during the festivals, such as National Holiday, Middle Autumn Festival, etc. Find out your destinations here in Recommended Destinations to Visit in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Useful links

China Seasonal Destinations
China Weather and Climate Best Time to Visit China

How to plan China tour

Great Wall in Autumn

How to plan China tour

Guilin in Summer

4. Get Your Travel Documents Ready

Before leaving for China, you have to get your passport and Chinese visa prepared in advance. Some cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, etc, have released visa-free policies, but they only allow a stay less 72 hours, and there are a lot of complicated procedures to deal with.

You’d better apply for Chinese visa at least six months before your trip. A multiple entry visa is recommended which allows you to enter China for many times. It is also useful for trips to Hong Kong or Macau with returns to China. You also have to have a valid passport with you. If you don’t have a passport, it usually will take at least four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one. Make sure your passport won’t get expired while you’re in China. If you want to visit Tibet, you will have to obtain a Tibet Entry Permit.

Useful links

Chinese Visa Types
Chinese Visa Application Chinese Visa Exemptions

How to plan China tour

Chinese Visa

How to plan China tour


5. Decide Your Trip Length and Create a Rough Itinerary

A China trip can be as short as a day tour, or as long as a panoramic trip of months. You decide the trip length, and the destinations decide how many days needed. A classic China tour, which covers Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin and Shanghai, will cost about 15~16 days. These destinations are usually visited by the first-timers. You can also add Yangtze River Cruise (4~5 days), Tibet (4~8days), Zhangjiajie (3~4days), Yellow Mountain (3~4days) to your trip if you have more days in China.

It is suggested to arrange the itinerary at a leisure pace so that you can have enough time to experience all the best highlights, and won’t get exhausted. If you already have done a lot of researches, you can create a rough itinerary on your own, then send to your travel agency to check availabilities. If you have no idea how to organize the destinations into an itinerary, you can feel free to let your travel consultant offer you a recommended itinerary.

Useful links

Beijing Xian Tours
Beijing Shanghai Tours Hong Kong Guilin Tours

How to plan China tour

Beijing Forbidden City

How to plan China tour

Ask us to tailor-make your tour

6. Book Your Flights and Hotels

Once you work out an ideal itinerary and confirm with your travel agency, you can start to book flights and hotels. Early booking is recommended because the fares for flights and hotels are not fixed. The earlier you book, the greater prices you will enjoy. In some popular destinations, such as Huangshan, Lhasa, etc., the demands for hotels are quite high during the peak season. If you are flexible, you can arrange the flights and hotels on your own. But we suggest you let your travel agency book flights and hotels for you because they know which flights match your itinerary well, and which hotels have great service and amenities. Besides, the agencies always have better prices of flights and hotels.

Useful links

China flights guide and tips
Major Airports in China Major Airlines in China

How to plan China tour

We can book flights for you

How to plan China tour

We can book hotels for you

7. Traveling with Children

You can definitely travel in China with your kids, which can be fun, entertaining and educational. The profound culture, great history, amazing natural landscape, unique food and budget shopping make the Middle Kingdom the perfect destination for family travel. Besides, it is safe and easy to travel with children in China because most destinations are connected by fast flights, train or bus. There are many things to do for your family vacation - visiting the cute Giant Panda or even having a volunteering job, leisurely hiking the Great Wall, making new friends with local kids in the custom parks, entertaining in the amusement parks, taking Kungfu class, enjoying acrobatic show, etc. At the same time, don’t worry about the accommodation, dinning, transportation in China. Comfort, fun, experiences… all are acquirable if you plan the trip in advance well. Before leaving for China, make sure you have everything you absolutely need but haven’t over-packed, because you can find many of the necessary stuffs for kids or infants in China.

Useful links

Top China tours for family with kids
Family Friendly Activities in China Destinations for Family Travel

How to plan China tour

Visiting Terracotta Warriors in Xian

How to plan China tour

Hong Kong Disney Resort

8. Money and Currency in China

Renminbi (人民币) or RMB is the official currency of China. Chinese people often call yuan as “kuai”, both of the two pronunciations are used among China. For example, 1 yuan = 1 kuai. Notes are available for 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB.

Most businesses in China only accept Chinese currency. But your travel agency usually accepts USD, EURO, GBP and AUD. You can change Chinese currency at airports, banks, ATMs, hotels and exchangers. During your travel in China, you are suggested to bring some cashes for daily payments of food, taxi, shopping, etc. Most ATMs in China allow you to withdraw Chinese money in big cities, such as Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, etc.

Useful links

Chinese Currency & Money Exchange
Shopping in China How to make payment to China Discovery

How to plan China tour

RMB (100 Yuan)

How to plan China tour

Withdraw money at ATM

9. Start Packing and Review Your Medical Checklist

Pack light and only bring necessary stuffs because you can get most stuffs you want to buy in China. Besides, your baggage will definitely get fuller and heavier as there are too many interesting things you can shop in China.

Bring and keep your passport and Chinese visa well. Getting any of them will be a very serious problem in China. Just in case, you can duplicate several copies of them and keep the originals and the copies separately. Also remember to bring your bank card, credit card and confirmations of your bookings of flights, hotels, trains.

As for clothing, you should wear accordingly to specific season and destination. Check China Weather or ask your travel consultant for recommendations. Bring different sizes of bags to make a classified packing: large bags for clothing and some rarely used stuff before stepping off the plane; small bag for frequently used stuff and carry with you.

Before packing, you should understand there are some luggage restrictions entering China by air. Varying from different airlines, the restrictions can be hard to tell one by one.

Useful links

What to Pack for China Travel
Baggage Allowance for Entry & Exit China

How to plan China tour

Pack light

How to plan China tour

Pack only necessary stuffs

10. Learn More about China

China is a quite different country from America, Australia, and Europe. There are many interesting things to read about China, such as festivals, food, history, facts, etc. Learning about Chinese culture will help you understand well about the things your tour guides explain to you during your trip.

Useful links

Chinese Culture and History Tours 2025

How to plan China tour

Learn Chinese culture

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

CD-BXS-08 8 Days Best of China Tour

8 Days Best of China Tour (Flight/Bullet Train Covered)

Beijing / Xian / Shanghai

Mutianyu Great Wall Shot by Our Customer Kim

10 Days Classic China Tour from Beijing - First Touch of China

Beijing / Xian / Guilin / Yangshuo / Shanghai

Our customer Heidy visited Mutianyu Great Wall

17 Days China Yangtze Tour with Tibet & Giant Panda Visit

Shanghai / Yangtze Cruise / Chengdu / Lhasa / Xian / Beijing

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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