Happy Chinese New Year!
Gong Xi Fa Cài (Mandarin) and Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese) everyone!
Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year for 2015 – The Year of the Goat (or Sheep). Celebrated in many countries (not just China), the fun lasts for 15 days and is a time to honour ancestors and deities. We’ve travelled during Chinese New Year (CNY) before but last year, we were fortunate enough to be in Beijing, China… A complete fluke on our part. Despite our usual thoroughness, we overlooked this huge celebration, mostly because it doesn’t fall on the same date every year (Like Christmas, or New Year’s Eve) and in mainstream Australian culture, CNY isn’t celebrated as a two week-long event (Personally, I think we should, imagine all the great food and traditions we are missing out on?!) Being in China during CNY has its pros and cons. We partook in New Year festivities, ate super delicious food and watched families send their lanterns into the night sky. However, unlike Australia, this time of the year is actually full of public holidays and locals leaves town and those from smaller towns venture into the big city for their family holidays. Meaning many businesses are closed for the two-week period, and trains (the main mode of intercity transport) are sold out.
Here are our list of tips for travelling during the holidays.
Things to consider when travelling during holiday periods:
- Google your destination’s public holidays and festivals – chase them or run in the opposite direction, depending what experience/s you’re looking for
- Book accommodation and intercity transport (trains, buses, etc..) in advance; especially if you are determined to go somewhere specific (i.e.. you want to be AT the celebration on purpose)
- Consider alternative accommodation, such as AirBnB, home stays and house swaps. If travelling with a companion, hostels can get booked out really quickly, therefore bumping up the price of last-minute beds! – consider hotels, as it might be cheaper than a hostel’s per-bed price
- Be ready to fly last-minute
- Consider organised (packaged) travel – take all the stress and hassle of organising everything yourself
- If your holiday dates are set in stone, but the destination is not, consider going somewhere else!
- Be patient and tolerant (poker face at all times) – there will be crowds, there will be pushing, there will be shoving.
- Allow yourself more time using airports and public transport. More people = slower security checks = hangry (Bring your snacks!)
- Forgot to Google public holidays and festivals (like we did!)? Breathe deeply and enjoy the unexpected experiences that will happen! You’ll be surprised, it might be the best story you have for your trip!