It is almost time for the big day! The grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland is next week and it’s time to prepare! If you’ve been following along (here and here) then you know this is quite the task to get to Shanghai Disneyland. This is going to be the last post about prepping for the trip (single tear) because the next posts will be while I’m out there and covering Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai’s big opening!
But, how am I getting ready? Here’s how…
Your Guide To Foreign Countries
I will have some extra days in between park venturing, so I get to explore the cities of Hong Kong and Shanghai. I could take the roam around and look at random things approach. I could just get there and ask the hotel clerks what there is to do. But, I have a different way in mind: plan those days with guide books.
Ok! Great! Guide books! Which guide books?
That’s a great question (yeah, I’m kinda talking to myself). There are many travel books out there. They are all differing in their approach to laying out travel tips and the like. Choosing one is a matter of preference. It’s best to pick one that you will be comfortable with using. And the best way to go about it is to visit some book stores to browse through the copies. Another way of sampling is online at Amazon.com. There’s a sample of the ebook format that gives an idea of what to expect from the full book.
You might be thinking, wouldn’t you just get an ebook version?
No. No I would not. The reason is that electronics will run out of battery. If you need info while you’re walking around doing the tourist thing you’ll be out of luck if the device is dead. Real paper books will be handy to take. As bulky as it is, it’ll pay off.
Now you may be wondering which books I chose. I went with the Lonely Planet guides to Hong Kong and Shanghai. The main reasons were the trip planning sections that laid out sample budgets. The other reason is many of the sights and other recommended places had a pinyin address listed. Pinyin is one of the written languages in China, and having that written out means I can point to it to a taxi driver and the driver will know where to go exactly. The runner ups were the Rough Guides. They had almost equal info regarding sight recommendations and getting around the cities. But, the pinyin address and trip preparation parts won me over for Lonely Planet. If you’re a little worried about bulkiness with the books, both offer pocket guides too.
International travel lesson #7 – Pick a physical guide book you like, and that you can take with you.
Making The Dough
As I went through the books and even researched the parks, I picked out things I wanted to do…and eat. But, that means making a budget of the trip. Again, Lonely Planet’s guides help by giving ideas of a budget, but it’s good to think through how much to spend. I recommend exchanging money before taking off for the trip. It’s true that sometimes exchange rates are a bit better at the hotels you may stay at, but you’re going to want to have money at hand when you land. I have been stranded with friends at an airport (Beijing, actually) without knowing where I was going at first. It was late at night there and desks were closed to exchange money. Fortunately we already exchanged the money and were able to get to where we needed to go because of that. Don’t worry about exchange rates, just get the dough!
International travel lesson #8 – Exchange currency before going to the country
Pack It Up
I can remember 99% of what I need to pack without a list. I’m fairly good at getting it all together. But, a trip like this means I will make a big, extensive list to make sure I take everything. There’s no guarantee I can get what I need over there. Make a list. Check it twice. Find out who’s naughty and nice…wait, wrong list.
The big things are if you need medication, make sure you have enough to cover a day after you get back from your trip. Why that much time? You may run out on the last day on that flight. It means you must get a refill when you get back, but if you run out where you don’t have a pill that day of refill you’re out of luck until it gets refilled. One last pill makes for a buffer for that refill.
Other packing tips in no particular order are to pack a change of clothes in your carry on. Airline could lose your checked luggage at first.
Get a travel wallet to keep the very important documents and items, like passport and credit card. It’s something that goes around your neck and can hide under your shirt. It’s for safety where there could be pickpockets where you travel to. Not to scare you, but it is very possible. Having something that is much closer to your body will serve well.
Bring necessities that don’t seem like something you would normally take on a trip, like a roll of toilet paper. It’s a foreign country. You never know.
Bring a few things to do on the plane. It’s a long flight. As much as there is in-flight entertainment, it’s all movies. Books are good. Portable video game systems, sure. And bring some snacks too. Your body isn’t acclimated to the time yet. You could get hungry at midnight because it’s really 6 pm.
Well, that’s all I have as I make my way to China. It’s exciting and epic! And, as you can tell from the posts, the more prepared the better the trip!