Travel to China is more common and less expensive than a decade ago, but travelers need to know some important information before booking flights and hotels.
As of 2006, China was the fourth most popular tourist destination with 46.8 million visitors, behind France, Spain and the US, according to the World Tourism Organization. About 1.7 million of them were American, up 10 percent from the previous year, according to the China National Tourist Office.
U.S. travelers to China need a valid passport and visa. If you arrive without either, you will be sent home. Visas must be obtained from Chinese Embassies and Consulates before traveling to the country. An individual visa costs $100.
Applications cannot be done by mail, so make sure to check the holiday schedule of the government offices, as they observe both U.S. and Chinese national holidays. For more information on the visa, check the website of the Chinese Embassy.
On the health front, no particular vaccinations are required, according to the China National Tourist Office, but the following are recommended, depending on your itinerary: Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies;Typhoid.
Boosters are recommended for Tetanus-diphtheria and Measles and anti-Malaria drugs are also recommended in certain areas of the country.
Check the Centers For Disease Control section on China for more information.
At the end of your trip, be prepared to pay a departure tax of 90 Yuan (about $11). You must pay in Chinese currency at a tax desk at the airport before check in.