How To Balance Work and Travel When Living in China
For many people who choose to find a job in China, being able to travel and explore the country is an important aspect. Whether you have lived here for ten years or only a month, there is always more to explore. As China is such a huge territory and there is so much to see, it can be difficult to balance your work and travel life.
Working in China is very different than simply coming to visit, and it can be easy to get sucked into the everyday tasks of living. Some people may find themselves in a city for two years and realize they have never even been to the basic tourist destinations. It is good to have a healthy balance between dedicating time to your job and career and also taking advantage of this opportunity by travelling to places.
Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind to help you better balance your work and travel plans.
Time of Year and Destination
Depending on the time of year you are travelling, there are plenty of destinations to choose from in China. From the warm, tropical beaches of Hainan to the icy cold snow and ice festival of Harbin, you will want to take advantage of what the weather offers. Some locations in the south of China may be a comfortable relief after long and dreary winters of living in a city such as Beijing and can be a great escape from the pollution that overtakes the city.
Other places are more fit to visit during the summer, such as areas in Inner Mongolia and destinations in the north. Spring and fall are good times to visit places with flower festivals or where the turning of trees is a sight to see in itself. Also, the pollution nationwide tends to be down during the spring and fall, making it a better time to visit the larger cities.
If you are working in China, you will also probably only have a certain amount of vacation days to take off. This can be discouraging, but the good thing is there are plenty of places you can experience within a weekend. It only takes a little planning and energy to take advantage of the weekends and travel to various destinations. You will be able to get a good idea of the general feel of many cities and see the main attractions within a weekend.
The great thing about travelling in China is you have plenty of options of the way of transportation. Whether you decide to take a plane, a train or a bus, you can compare the prices and value in time as well. Travelling by plane may seem to be the most convenient for a weekend trip, but remember that flights can often get delayed in China due to strict air regulations. Depending on where you decide to go, you might find it more convenient to take a train there. With the high-speed trains, it has allowed for a huge cut in travel time. Night trains are also a good option as it can also save on the budget for a hotel.
Taking advantage of the weekends can be the best way to get in all your bucket list destinations while balancing your career advancement as well. You may also find some hidden treasure locations that are close to the home city that you otherwise might have ignored. Most tourists who come to China will hit the top cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’an, etc. but there are plenty of smaller cities that also have historical or cultural significance.
Most companies will give at least ten vacation days to their employees, and depending on your individual situation, you may decide that you want to spend these days travelling within China. Planning these days in advance is not only helpful for securing the best deals but also to let your boss know ahead of time to expect for your absence. It can also help to the layout which places you intend to visit, which will allow you to know which locations you could save for a weekend trip instead. Depending on your field of work, your boss may be lenient and allow you to work from your computer or even give you a few extra days since they realize the unique opportunity you have to be travelling and working in China.
Working in China will mean that you will have different holidays off than you would back home. The two main ones where you will get a long time off include Chinese New Year, usually in February, and National Day, which falls on the first week of October. Planning these travel dates in advance will be extremely important as this is when everyone in China will be travelling as well.
Chinese New Year may be a good time to venture outside of China to nearby countries. Since almost everyone will be heading home to their families at this time, it will be near impossible to buy plane or train tickets within China. Travelling at this time within China will also prove to be extremely stressful as everywhere will be crowded and full of people heading home.
During Chinese New Year itself, most public transportation will also be closed, making it difficult to travel from one location to the next. National Day may be slightly better, however, this is also when most people living in China will choose to travel as well, meaning that the major tourist destinations will be overcrowded and could result in an unpleasant situation.
Travelling is just one of the many perks of working in China. There is so much to see and a never-ending place to visit. Of course, do not forget to take advantage of your own city that you live in before you leave. Specifically planning some weekends to just stay at home and explore your local area can be even more important to truly enjoy your time. Sometimes work can get stressful and travelling may add to this. Balancing work and travel so that you can enjoy both is key to making the most of the bountiful opportunities that await.