With more than 3 billion trips expected on roads, trains, planes and ships at peak between now and 5 Feb, good preparation is key to ensuring a healthy, safe and happy Chinese New Year.
Huge crowds can cause travel delays and pose potential security risks.
With over a billion people, including over 800,0001 business travellers and international assignees, about to enjoy the celebrations of the lunar New Year festival to welcome in in Year of the Rooster, International SOS and Control Risks offer tips to keep both travellers and those staying at home in China safe, secure and healthy.
Top tips to keep in mind:
- Preparation is essential – plan your schedule, book tickets, check local news and security alerts and leave plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Stay alert in crowds – where possible, avoid crowded places and if you do find yourself in a crowd, remain vigilant, with a planned exit route if necessary. Theft and petty crimes can be prevalent in crowds so be on your guard and make sure your possessions and valuables are in a safe place.
- Pollution – during bad air days, avoid doing physical activities outdoors and, whilst indoors, keep windows and doors close with air condition in 'recirculate' mode. Consider using a respirator (N95 mask) while outdoors, which are available in convenience stores in major cities in China.
- Keep copies – copy essential travel documents including your passport, insurance documents and details of any medication.
Medical services - during the holiday season, hospitals and clinics in China will have reduced staff and services, so it’s prudent to check the schedule of available services in your local hospital.
- Watch out for fireworks – fireworks are very popular so make sure you’re following instructions if using fireworks and stay alert in public places where fireworks may be used.
- Be careful on the roads – every year over 1.24 million people die globally in traffic accidents. During the Chinese New Year the numbers of cars and people on the roads will dramatically increase at the beginning and end of the festival, and at popular tourist spots so additional vigilance is advised.
- Be vigilant of taxis – even for locals, taxis in China can be a problem. Generally, it is more convenient for foreign visitors to pre-arrange a pick-up. If you must take a taxi, ensure that you have the destination address written down and tell others about your journey. Always insist that the driver uses a meter and never use an unlicensed taxi.
- Healthy – Chinese New Year is in the midst of the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season. Ensure you see your travel health doctor a few weeks before departure, and get a flu shot as well as other pre-travel vaccinations recommended for your destination. While travelling, pay attention to routine hygiene - regularly wash your hands and minimise touching your face. Although the risk of bird flu is low, avoid poultry markets, and contact with birds and other animals.
Article courtesy of International SOS. MedAire is an International SOS company.
1Annual Report on Chinese International Migration (2015) issued by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG).