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3 Travel Lessons I Learned During My Trip to China

Have you ever been on one of those trips that teaches you lessons that you’ll apply to all of your upcoming travels? That’s what my recent trip to China did for me. My mom and I traveled from Japan to Hong Kong a few weeks ago for a mother-daughter getaway while my husband was out of town for an away game. China has always been a country that I was eager to explore. From the Great Wall in Beijing to the Las Vegas like feel of Macau, it’s a very interesting country, and although my trip didn’t go exactly as planned, I learned 3 important travel lessons that I will carry with me as I continue to explore the world.

Travel is the only thing we buy that actually makes us richer! Check out these 3 important travel lessons I learned during my recent trip to Hong Kong!

3 Travel Lessons I Learned During My Trip to China

Flexibility is key

If you’ve been keeping up with LiveLifeWell, you might recall that in an earlier post I shared that my mom and I would be traveling to Beijing and Shanghai. In fact, although it was definitely a destination on my travel bucket list, Hong Kong was not part of our itinerary at all. We had to make a VERY last minute change once we arrived to the airport in Tokyo when we were informed by airline staff that we didn’t have the necessary visas to travel to mainland China. When I looked up visa requirements for Americans traveling to China, I read that tourists did not need visas to enter Hong Kong and could stay up to 90 days. I wrongly assumed that this rule applied to ALL of China, when in fact, there are different rules for Hong Kong and Macau that do not apply to the mainland (PLEASE don’t make the same mistake if you’re planning a trip to China! You DO need a visa if you’re going anywhere else besides Hong Kong and Macau). We were unable to travel to Beijing and Shanghai as originally planned, so we cancelled our tickets, found some wifi in the airport, and booked ourselves on a different flight going to Hong Kong instead. I am not the most world’s most flexible person. I am a serious planner and usually wouldn’t have wanted to change plans at the last minute but, since we were already in the airport with bags packed, we figured we might as well go somewhere and I am so glad that we did! Because of this trip, I learned that sometimes, when it comes to travel, you have to roll with the punches and be flexible.

Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for

We flew to Hong Kong on Hong Kong Express, a fairly new budget airline that provides direct flights to Hong Kong from a few different cities in Asia. I am usually not a fan of budget airlines, but due to the last minute nature of our trip, it was the best we could do. We paid for priority boarding and an exit row seat, and it made our travel experience way more comfortable and enjoyable. Paying a little extra for comfort and convenience was probably the best decision we could have made.

There are obviously a lot of hotels in Hong Kong and we decided to stay at the Ritz Carlton. Although it was pricey, to say the least, it was single handedly the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at (besides probably Jade Mountain in St. Lucia, which has a totally different feel since it’s a beach resort as opposed to a metropolitan hotel). Everyone’s all about traveling for less nowadays, and I would never turn down a discount or a travel deal, but our experience at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong showed me that sometimes, you really do get what you pay for. The views, the service, the location, our gorgeous suite, and the overall experience was worth every penny.

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Initially, the reason we chose to travel to Beijing and Shanghai instead of Hong Kong is because we read over and over again that Hong Kong is overrated. People seemed really disappointed and said that the city lacked culture. We had a completely different experience and it showed me that, when it comes to travel, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just because one person (or even a few different people on the internet) don’t like a particular destination doesn’t at all mean that you won’t and I’m so glad we were open to giving Hong Kong a chance despite the negative reviews. Ideas of “culture” and “fun” are relative, and we absolutely LOVED Hong Kong. The food was great, the shopping was phenomenal, and although it may not have quite as much traditional cultural as somewhere like Beijing, there are definitely a plethora of cultural experiences. This trip taught me not to be so quick to write places off just because of what other people say. I do value other people’s travel experiences, but I also now realize that I may love a place that someone else hates, and vice versa.

Hong Kong
Travel Lessons

All in all, even with the last minute change of plans, I had a great experience in Hong Kong and I’m eager to go back and experience other areas of China (Macau is definitely on my list, as are Beijing and Shanghai, obviously). Everything happens for a reason, and I think I needed this trip to teach me these travel lessons that I will carry with me from now on. Be sure to check back on Wednesday for my picks on where to stay, dine, shop, and play in Hong Kong!

What travel lessons have you learned during your trips? I would love to hear from you!

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