Is this the year to finally take that trip to China? One of the big findings from TripAdvisor’s 2015 TripBarometer study, the world’s largest traveler and accommodation survey, is that China will see the greatest reductions in hotel prices this year—a year when most countries will be hiking their prices. Half of all properties worldwide—and 59% of U.S. hotels—plan to up their room rates this year (with the biggest increases expected in South Africa, Austria, and Brazil).
There’s value for your dollar in China, for sure, but only if you’re careful. As someone who has spent six weeks of her life road-testing China every which way, I am here to tell you that China is one of those countries where, if you want to avoid unexpected hassles that eat up significant time and money, you’re better off having a China travel specialist orchestrate and book your itinerary. Factors that can foil the best-laid plans include:
* Places that were charming a year or two ago have been overbuilt and overrun with domestic Chinese tourists.
* Things in China change overnight, which means it’s tough to get reliable logistical information or accurate opinions as to which places are still worth seeing and which have been spoiled.
* The ingrained tourism infrastructure inflicts a mass-market agenda that will turn off sophisticated travelers. Without help from the right sources, you can easily get trapped at mediocre sights, with detours for forced shopping, tasteless meals at tourist restaurants, and layers of middlemen extracting cash from you at every turn.
The solution is a stellar China travel specialist with up-to-date intel, reliable taste, special access, and well-trained, flexible English-speaking guides who can get you past the lines and crowds and who understand the difference between authentic, photogenic experiences and tourist traps. My Trusted Travel Experts for China fit the bill. They know this year’s must-dos and must-skips, and they’ve shared that intelligence in their Insider’s Guides (for example, Mei Zhang’s Insider’s Guide to Beijing or Yunnan Province). So, if you’re thinking about China, reach out to me, via Ask Wendy, to find the one who best suits your needs.
I’d love to know: Do you want to travel to China this year? Why or why not?