and have now been able to check The Great Wall off my list with our recent three-week adventure touring China with my family.
So now I would like to share with you my China travel tips for visiting the Great Wall of China.
Great Wall of China Travel Tips
The Great Wall was an incredible experience; not just because it’s in such a culturally rich country on the other side of the world, but it seems to be so iconic of China and it’s history.
Over 5500 miles long and almost a thousand years in the making it did not disappoint in it’s majestic and harsh beauty.
“The Great Wall is the building project with the longest duration and greatest cost in human lives, blood, sweat and tears.”
There are many places to see the great wall along it’s 5500 miles and we chose to see he Great Wall at fully restored Badaling – the most popular and easily accessible section of the Great Wall. It was a short comfortable bus trip from Beijing through some beautiful, remote countryside.
If you are planning a trip to The Great Wall here are my top five tips to make your experience more enjoyable.
1) Go the RIGHT Season
Go in the spring or fall when the weather is nice and there are less people. Summer can be too hot, and winter can be dangerously and brutally cold. We were there in January and it was one of the coldest times of the year. I would have liked to stay longer and do a little hiking, but the temperatures were so severe on the wall we could only last a couple of hours. You know it’s cold when your iPhone keeps cutting off unless you hold it close to your body.
2) Day Tour
Do a day tour with your hotel with english speaking drivers and not the local bus tours. We were on a day long tour to multiple locations which included The Ming Tombs, but were asked to pay more or they wouldn’t transport us back to our hotel and didn’t realize we signed up for some hard sell tactics at some shopping centers .
3) Come Get Physical
Be prepared for how high the steps are. It’s a hike. I am a workout fanatic and I was sore for two days after climbing 3 sections of the wall ( about an hour).
4) Careful… It’s High Up
Be careful it’s very steep at the very top and when we were there we experienced some strong winds. Hang on to avoid trips slips or falls especially when taking pictures.
If you choose to buy souvenirs at the kiosks on the wall, haggle for the price. They will jack up the price for foreigners. We were able to pay less than half of the original price just by being aware of this.
Seeing The Great Wall was an experience of a lifetime I will never forget. It’s well worth the trip and these five tips will help keep you comfortable and safe.
“When we get to the mountain, there’ll be a way through” …. 车到山前必有路 [車到山前必有路] Chē dào shān qián bì yǒu lù.
Stay tuned for a blog from the next tow locations on my bucket list Machu Picchu and Christ The Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro.
I hope these tips help and you enjoy your stay in this beautiful country as much as we did. Enjoy!
“Top 12 Travel Tips for China | My China Travel Tips” written by Bren Koger.
We were fortunate to be able to spend three amazing weeks in January/February of this year touring China from Beijing to Shanghai.
After my son and daughter-in-law celebrated their traditional Chinese wedding on January 28th on an island off the coast of Zhuhai they gave us a guided tour of several cities throughout China.
If you want to check out some of the pictures please visit my Facebook page and send me a friend request.
If you’re planning a trip to China, I would like to share a few things with you that I learned along the way in the hopes that this will make your stay a little more comfortable and enjoyable.
My Travel Tips for China
We were told before we left to bring toilet paper, so we were prepared. You will want to bring LOTS of small rolls of toilet paper or small tissues that you can put in your pocket or purse. Enough for the entire trip. a lot of the hotels had toilet paper, but when you’re out and about not all stalls in restaurants and public areas have toilet paper. (They don’t flush toilet paper) In fact, most don’t and they are not western toilets. They are squat toilets and look like this…
Bring hand sanitizer and hand wipes. The sinks in the bathrooms mostly only have cold water and do not usually have paper towels or hand driers. The hand sanitizer will definitely come in handy. Bath and Body sells the little ones for very cheap.
Bring enough clean clothes. Don’t expect to find cheap easy ways to launder your clothes. There are no Laundromats and the Chinese laundry service is expensive. We paid $75 to launder just a few items. It might be cheaper just to buy new underwear and t-shirts. We ended up washing things in our hotel sink and made due with what we had.
Bring enough Chinese and Hong Kong currency. Bring double what you think you are going to need. Many places do not take American credit cards. Some restaurants and shops will take Visa but it’s easier if you have this one with a Union Pay symbol from a Chinese bank
5) Guided Tours
Be careful of the tours. They can be scams that will require more money for your return fare once they get you to your destination. They are also tourist traps that take you to a presentations to encourage you to buy their products. We were taken on a tour that led us through several winding rooms with people aggressively selling us their snacks and products several times.
6) Winter Vacation
If you go in the winter months, make sure your hotel has heat. Heated rooms are not a given. They may provide a radiator for your room if you ask.
You may get a hard bed. Chinese beds are not all soft mattresses. About 1/3 of the hotel beds we stayed in were board-hard mattresses. You may want to consider bringing an air mattress.
Be prepared to drink a lot of bottled water. Most restaurants don’t serve water with the meal unless it’s hot or in a tea. Try the different kinds of hot teas. They are amazing!
You may have to wear a mask when you are outside for pollution in some of the bigger cities like Beijing. It was very noticeable in the air at first. An acrid scent and noticeable smog but for us dissipated with the cold temperatures. It was not noticeable in the other cities like Hong Kong or Shanghai. I would bring a mask just to be prepared.
10) Sticker Price
Be prepared to haggle. You do not need to pay full price for things like taxi rides or souvenirs at most of the shops. The malls have department stores where you will pay full price.
11) Vegetarian Food
If you are a vegetarian be prepared to be selective with your food choices. They eat a lot of pork and meat dishes where no part of the animal is spared. They have AMAZING pastries, tofu, buns, dumplings and vegetables..you will not go hungry.
12) The Language
Learn a few Chinese phrases. Many people do not speak english. Knowing a few phrases to get around will be helpful.
Final Words on My Travel Tips for China
China is breathtakingly beautiful mix of the preserved ancient culture and the modern fast growing cities. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know my new Chinese family.
The food was a wonderful smorgasbord of different tastes and textures.
There are photo opportunities everywhere you look.
The people were kind and helpful.
We can’t wait to plan our next trip back.
I hope these tips help and you enjoy your stay in this beautiful country as much as we did.
Well, today I’m going to talk about how to get around in China and share a cool tip if you’re carrying a lot of luggage.
My China Travel Tips on Transportation
On our recent 3 week tour of China, we flew from Hong Kong to Shanghai with a lot of luggage. At least three large pieces of luggage for each of the four of us on the trip.
GoGoVan in China
Instead of trying to find a van or two taxies to take us to the airport we found a really cool app called GoGoVan that is similar to Uber.
It’s for people who need to move large items such as furniture and supplies or, as in our case, a large amount of luggage.
GoGoVan has been around since 2013 and is the first ap for transporting goods in Asia. It’s similar to Uber in that you get to pick from thousands of drivers and vehicles and they charge your credit card on file when you reach your destination. There is no need to use cash.
Since its successful July 2013 launch in Hong Kong, GoGoVan has expanded to Singapore, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
The drivers are English speaking which is not always the case with taxi’s and Uber in China.
Speaking of Uber. We were able to use this service a couple of times too. It was cheaper than a taxi and more convenient. If you’re not familiar with Uber, It’s also an ap that you download and then you get to choose your ride from thousands of drivers and set your location. You’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, and can track their arrival on the map.
When you arrive at your destination, they automatically charge your credit card on file. And there’s no need to tip. This was so much easier and cheaper than a taxi especially if you’re trying to conserve on cash. (not a lot of places take American credit cards).
Other China Transportation Options
There are multiple choices to get form point A to point B in China. The metro in the cities, buses and high speed train are all great options. They are clean and many have maps and signs in english.
If you need the convenience of a taxi and have a lot of luggage to transport I would download The GoGoVan and Uber ap. Chances are it will be your cheapest most convenient option.
Final Thoughts on Getting Around China Travel Tips
China is a breathtakingly beautiful mix of the preserved ancient culture and the modern fast growing cities. Getting around this beautiful country and enjoying your stay isn’t too hard as long as you follow a few basic China travel tips.
I hope you Enjoy your stay in this beautiful country as much as we did.
“How to Create a Travel Blog Successfully and Profitably” written by Mike Marko.
Do you like to travel and have finally decided you want to learn how to create a travel blog?
I understand completely. Travelling is fun, and why not create a travel blog.
Lots of people plan on starting a travel blog just to keep their family and friends updated on their travels. That’s a pretty cool idea for a lot of travelers. And if that’s the only reason why you want to learn how to create a travel blog, there’s nothing wrong with that! I recommend creating a free WordPress.com blog. That will certainly do the trick for you.
But, if you want to learn how to create a travel blog so that more than just your friends and family read your blog… if you want complete strangers to find your travel blog and thank you for it… AND if you want the opportunity of possibly making money with your travel blog someday: I’m going to talk about how to do this today.
So let’s get started.
How to Start a Travel Blog With Some Basic Steps
Time to roll up your sleeves, get a note pad and a pen: it’s time to come up with a game plan.
In the following video Bren and I talk about how to start a travel blog.
[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”17099″]
Here are some more ideas to consider on how to create a travel blog.
Read Other Travel Blogs
The first step when you start a travel blog is to do some reconnaissance. See what others are doing and see what you can model.
See what is working for other travel bloggers, and what you can even improve on. This will help in making a travel blog easier in the beginning and help you be more successful faster.
Check out travel magazines because they often recommend travel blogs that they feel are worth checking out. Check out at least five travel blogs and take notes. See what elements you like and can borrow for your own… just be sure not to take copyrighted ideas.
Choose a Travel Topic
Ok, I know we are talking about how to create a travel blog, but that doesn’t mean you should be too general. You should try and choose a specific topic that will give you more focus when you write.
Narrowing your niche (or scope) allows you to combine other interests with travel. For example you could combine your blog with your interest in rock climbing, cooking, or photography.
Some examples of travel blog topics may be rock climbing places around the world, foreign restaurants, or older architecture.
Choose a Blogging Platform
There are a lot of blogging platforms you can choose from. There are several considerations to weigh, including how easy the platform is to use from either at home or while travelling.
You also need to consider having a hosted site vs. a self-hosted site. A hosted site means that your blog is created by someone else, and is hosted and the site maintenance managed by someone else with many other blogs. A self-hosted site means that you can use the blogging themes, fonts and other applications. Both blogs may have your own custom URL mapped to the blog platform. A self-hosted blog may incur much more start-up costs.
The most commonly used sites are WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr, plus many more.
Alternately, you can select a specific travel blogging platform. These platforms are often simpler to use and have specific features like mapping your post or itinerary creation.
If your goal is to monetize your travel blog, and you want to be maximize your organic blog traffic (people that find your blog through search, etc) then I recommend this marketing platform. We have used it for several years and it is the best value for the cost.
Don’t bother to take too much time to familiarize yourself with your blogging platform before you write your first post. I recommend “building your airplane while it’s flying”… meaning that you customize it as you start to add content. Too many people wait until everything is perfect before they start creating content… and that is a huge mistake. It often leads to paralysis by analysis because you may feel that you are never ready.
As you are adding content to your blog, pick a “theme” for your blog that highlights it is a travel blog. A theme is a template for the overall appearance of your blog. The blogging platform we recommend has hundreds of themes to choose from.
Choose a Blog Name
Take the time to give your blog a name that will stand the test of time. As you build up your blog and create links to it, you’ll be building up your network of links to your blog and help build your travel blog’s “reputation”.
Once you have your blog setup, it’s time to get your social media up and running.
Be sure to create user names on each of the big social media platforms that reflect your travel blog domain — Twitter, Facebook (business page), Instagram, and Google+. Try to keep your name the same across all domains, with the exception of Google+ which requires your full name.
Create Your Bio Page
Take time to upload an appropriate picture of yourself to your travel blog. Be sure to create a static page and write information about yourself, including what you enjoy doing and why you love travel.
You can also create a contact me section and list your social big social media platforms.
Then add your bio static page to your menu options.
Start an Email List
You may be thinking, “Do I really need an email list?”
The answer is YES!
Your email list is the single most valuable thing that your site can have. PERIOD. In my opinion the main purpose of a website is to collect emails so you can later email them newsletters, updates, links to new blog posts, and even sell to them.
People are far more likely to see your content via email than they are by any other social network. Social media networks come and go… you may even have some accounts shut down on you, but your email list is there to stay (and nurture).
All too often people make the mistake of not starting to build an email list at the very beginning. Or when they do start, they start with a free autoresponder like Mailchimp. The problem is when you are ready to switch to a premium service that gave more options, you can lose a huge portion of your email list in the process because you can’t just add all your names on a list — they need to confirm it yet again.
Bren and I use GetResponse as our primary autoresponder. It’s one of the best email service out there.
How to Write a Travel Blog
Now that you have your travel blog setup, it’s time to start getting content created. Let me give you a few tips on how to get rolling.
How Frequent Should You Post To Your Travel Blog?
I recommend writing weekly posts (at a minimum) once you get going, but initially I recommend writing at least four posts a week until you get at least fifty blog posts complete. Your audience will want to explore a blog with a reasonable amount of content otherwise they will have no reason to return.
Bren and I actually do our best to blog daily… the idea is that with a lot of content it not only gives visitors a reason to stay on the blog for a while, but it also increases the chances of being found by Google (especially if you follow some basic SEO techniques).
Staying connected and consistent with your audience is both important and difficult. Writing at least weekly will help people to get to know you and your travels. Large breaks between posts will discourage readers from returning.
Make a posting schedule outside your trip posting. Decide a time every week that you will write. I recommend then scheduling your post to publish early morning on Monday to help get the maximum number of readers, but you can do your own research to find a better time.
If you are traveling, plan blogging into your trip…. And make additional posts (above the weekly) if you can to keep your audience up to date with your travels.
How to Prepare For Your Travel Blog Posts
Write in a journal daily as you travel. This will help you remember the specific details like food, weather and culture when you sit down to write your blog. Bren and I also took a lot of pictures and shot video to help us remember the experience. You can even do a selfie video (for about 2-3 minutes) and talk about your experience on site. This will help your audience share in your adventure.
What Happens if S&%$ Hits the Fan?
Be sure to stay positive.
It doesn’t matter if your wallet was stolen, you ran into an unfriendly stranger, or were “taken for a ride” by an unscrupulous tour group, a travel blog is not a good place to rant. You want to stay as positive as possible. Besides, you may come to regret any angry comments in the future… and your readers will be put off by your negativity.
Instead take the time to reflect.
Your more well-thought out post can turn your misadventure into a great topic for discussion and can help future travelers.
Watch Out For Non-Descriptive Words
Avoid hyperbole, like “awesome”, “awe inspiring”, “fabulous”, and similar words. Sure that may be the first words that come to mind when you see something but they are not that descriptive and actually detract from your blog.
Instead write using the 5 senses. For example, instead of saying you had an amazing chocolate truffle, you might say, “The chocolate truffle you had in the afternoon from the non-assuming shop was light and had a hint of strawberry.”
You want the reader to crave what you ate. Include a picture and possibly a recipe…
Build Up Your Comment Interaction
Encourage people to comment on your posts. This is actually a great tip no matter what type of blog you have.
You can start a discussion as simply as by encouraging comments at the bottom of your articles. You can also ask a question to your readers, or create a poll.
Readers may also share their own experiences, or give their own travel advice that can help you and others to plan future trips.
Final Words on How to Create a Travel Blog
As you can see, learning how to create a travel blog isn’t that difficult. With the right blogging platform, and a little planning, you can be well on your way to creating your own travel blog.
If you get started (and create at least a dozen posts first) and you want to learn more about how to make your blog even more effective, check out this article about how to get leads from your blog.
Thank you checking out my article, and happy blogging!
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