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Questions on DIY trip (w or w/out guide) and with kids
Feb 5, 2015 18:44
guestGuestx4 First off, this sight appears to be a great resource! Will keep reviewing.

This mid April I am looking at taking a trip to China, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Independant travel on our own using train system or inland flights within China. Family of 4 including 2 four and a half year old girls. Do not speak the local language. We are US citizens.

Before I book, have several questions.

visa - same price for child as adult? can i obtain without an invitation? any reason our visa would be denied?

wanting to travel independently and without a specific tour company. Will this be issue? With authorities? With transportation? With language?

Another option is to hire a guide. Are there guides we can hire for 5-6 full days, hitting Beijing, Xian and Yangshuo. If so, approx cost we'd be looking at? Can you recommend a professional and responsible company that provides them?

Hiring a local guide in each destination is an option as well.

Traveling on our own, will we have problem leaving China and going to Hong Kong by train/air?

Our children. Should we be concerned if travelling without tour? Safety issues? Crime? Any tips on family travelling w kids in China?

This is my ideal. Sorry if some or all sounds naive to ask. I traveled europe where a passport was sufficient. So unfamiliar with China and it's requirements, customs and perceptions. Hence my desire to travel there!

Any help and advice with the above trip and questions is welcomed. Thanks!
Feb 5, 2015 19:55
#1  
GUEST6775 1. the visa price is the same to every US applicant. In your situation, you need to apply for a L type visa. It’s ok if you don’t have the invitation letter. You just need to provide your round-trip air tickets and hotel booking, your passports, application forms and recent passport photos.

According to what I know, it’s easy for US citizens to acquire the L type. They are seldom refused.

2. It’s ok for you to travel independently. I am not sure what kind of transportation means you will use mostly. Anyway, you won’t have a problem if you take a plane. For trains and buses, I am afraid that you may have some language barriers. But it shouldn’t be a problem. I see many foreigners travel alone even though they don’t speak Chinese.

Yes, it's more convenient if you hire a guide. I think you may hire a local guide when you reach your destination. It’s too expensive to hire one to help you finish your whole journey because you may be asked to burden all her/his accommodation and meals.

3. As long as you enter with valid visas and leave before your visas expire, you won’t have any problem when you fly to HK.

Generally speaking, it’s safe for you to travel in China. However, you may take good care of your belongs, especially your wallet.

I don’t know how old your kids are. If they are very young, you may pay attention to food hygiene. Don’t let them eat randomly. And you shouldn’t let them disappear from your sight.
Feb 7, 2015 19:46
#2  
GUEST25163 Thank you! Much appreciated!
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