Today we’re very happy to feature this guest post, written by Geneva Bell, a solo traveler, digital nomad and business coach. If you’d like to contribute a guest post to Teacup Chinese, then be sure to write to us.

A new life in China could be one of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever come to have. Especially if you’re moving to China to improve your fluency with the Mandarin Chinese language. However, travelling to China, like any foreign country, can be quite scary and overwhelming if you’re not prepared and don’t know what to expect. In this article, I’ll share some practical things you should know before moving to China.

1. Do Your Research

researching china

The first thing you should do before moving to China is your research. In order to prepare for your move, you need to search for helpful and informative resources. These can come in the form of YouTube videos, blog articles, podcasts, and books. The fact that you’re reading this article now demonstrates your willingness to educate yourself.

One great resource that I recommend to anyone travelling to China is a highly rated China travel guidebook called Travel to China: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go. This China guide is different from others in that it doesn’t share ‘what’ you should see or ‘where’ you should go but rather ‘how’ to do the practical things that are necessary once you’re in the country.

2. Learn About The Culture

chinese lucky cat

China is rich with culture and heritage. In fact, there are many ethnic groups each with their own cultures in China. That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about the ethnic groups and cultures of the area that you will be residing. Learning about the culture will help you understand the people better and it will ensure that you get along well with them. There’s nothing worse than causing great offense by your actions simply because you didn’t know any better.

For example, when it comes to greetings in China, you must always greet people according to their seniority. This means the oldest person should be addressed first when saying hi or goodbye, this shows a sign of respect. In order to avoid embarrassing moments, it’s always a good idea to do your research and learn as much as you can about the culture

3. Make Sure You Pack What You Need

china travel suitcase

Packing for a destination that you’ve never been before can be quite daunting. After all, how can you be sure to pack only the necessary things so that you won’t be carrying too much?

Well first of all, consider your needs. You should definitely always pack any medications you need and a plug converter for your electronic devices. Once you’ve determined your needs, do your research to learn what things are readily available in China and what things are not. This will help you figure out exactly what you should pack for China. And if you’re still unsure, you can always do a quick Google search for recommended packing lists for China.

4. Be Sure To Travel At a Good Time

China great wall

China, just like with any country, has peak seasons and low seasons. Travelling to China during high season means there will be a lot more crowds. If you’re coming for just a vacation, it may not be such a big deal but if you’re moving, it may be something you want to think about carefully. Moving internationally is already stressful enough, it may be infinitely more difficult when there are tons of people around.

For example, during the Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival), you’ll not only have the crowds but ticket prices will be higher and if you’re not quick enough, they will sell out. Additionally, most shops, grocery stores and even a few tourist attractions will be closed during the Spring Festival. Not very convenient for someone who just moved there and needs to fill their fridge with food.

5. Learn Some Basic Chinese

Chinese characters

While it is possible to travel to China without speaking the language, your life will be so much better if you arrive already knowing at least the basics of the language. Even if your purpose of moving to China is to learn Mandarin, it’s still a good idea to give yourself a head start. With all of the useful resources available on the Internet today, learning Chinese as a beginner can be fun and rewarding.


Moving to a new country can really be an amazing experience if you prepare well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you don’t prepare well, moving internationally can potentially turn out to be a disaster.

When moving to China, you want to make sure that you do as much research as you possibly can. You want to research the area you’re going to be living in and you want to research the ethnic groups and cultures of that area. China will likely have just about everything you can ever want to make your transition into the Chinese society comfortable. But make sure! Find out what items will be necessary for you to bring and what items won’t.

The time of year you travel or move to China will also be something that you should take into consideration. You don’t want to go when it’s high season because it will certainly cause you unnecessary additional stress. And learn some basic Chinese before you go, it will make all the difference in the world.

About the Author:

Geneva Bell is a solo traveler, digital nomad and business coach. When she’s not traveling, she’s helping others build their online businesses.

Connect with Geneva through her websites or social media:

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