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FAQ

Our extensive experience as China tour operators has helped us identify the types of questions you may have before embarking on your China travel adventure. The information below addresses many of the common inquiries we receive from people considering travel to China including those considering a Yangtze River Cruise, Beijing, Tibet, and/or Shanghai tour.

  GENERAL QUESTIONS  

What's the relationship between China Spree and Tour Beyond?
What is the best season to embark on a China Tour?
Does China Spree work with travel agents?
How many shopping stops are we going to make during this China tour?
What's the average group size on a China Spree China Tour?

  RESERVATION  

I have a couple of friends want to travel to China with me, how can China Spree help?
How far in advance do I need to make a reservation for my China Tour?
Why do I have to provide my name as it appears on my passport?
What do I expect after placing my online reservation?
We are interested in a custom china tour, how can China Spree help us?
Can I purchase land only from chinatravelguide.freechinalink.com?
If I travel with a scheduled China Tour group departure, can I choose to arrive China early or/and depart later than scheduled date?
Do you offer pre/post China Tour accommodation in LAX or SFO?
Do we earn any mileage credit when flying with Air China?
We have UA Frequent Flyer Mileage credit, can we use it towards Air China flights?
Why your air taxes seem higher than most other tour operators?

  PAYMENTS  

What are the acceptable forms of payment for a China Spree China Tour?
What's your Cancellation and Refund policy?
Can I make payment with more than one credit card?
What is additional on top of the listed China Tour fare?
Is there any hidden cost that I should be aware of?

  PRE TOUR  

Do I need a passport or a visa to visit P.R.China?
My China Tour is paid in full, when do I expect to receive my travel documents?
I received my travel documents but cannot locate all airline segments, do I miss anything?
What are the physical requirements for a Tibet adventure?
If I would like to bring some gifts on my China Tour, what kind of gifts would you recommend?
Do I need any inoculations or medical attention prior to going to China?
I noticed that the baggage allowance differs on the transpacific and China internal segments, how can we handle that?
Can I rent a cell phone to use in China?

  WHILE ON TOUR  

Who's going to take care of us while we are on our China Tour?
What's your tipping policy?
What makes the best purchases in China?
Do our China Tour director and local guides speak good English?
How is seating determined on the motor coach travel?

  POST TOUR  

What do we do about the trip evaluation form?

  HOTELS  

How about the hotels we will stay in during our China Tour?
What facilities and services do our hotels normally provide?
Can we have non-smoking room?
Does our hotel have laundry service?
What is the voltage requirement in China?

  TRAVEL INSURANCE  

Should I purchase travel insurance?
Does the travel insurance cover my pre-existing medical condition?

  SPECIAL REQUEST  

What if I have special dietary needs?
Can we request a king size bed?


  GENERAL QUESTIONS  

What's the relationship between China Spree and Tour Beyond?
China Spree is operated and wholly owned by Tour Beyond. Tour Beyond, Inc. is the corporate name that will appear on your tour invoice, receipt, and the credit card authorization form.

What is the best season to embark on a China Tour?
China has a hot and humid summer, and a dry and cold winter. However, all seasons are good for travel in China depending on what you want. Weather wise, spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October) are the best season to make a visit when the weather is mild throughout most of China. Summer, however, is the best season only to visit certain areas like Tibet, when oxygen content of summer's warmer air is greater. Winter (November to early March) will see the best prices of the year. Many experienced travelers choose to take a China Tour in late October and early November to take advantage of the huge seasonal discount while the weather is not yet that cold. No matter when to travel, China Spree guarantees you a memorable China Tour at the best value.

Does China Spree work with travel agents?
Yes. Travel Agents can benefit from recommending clients to our scheduled China Tour departures. Agents can also customize personal itinerary for their clients with our Tailor-Made Programs. Please contact our office for complete information.

How many shopping stops are we going to make during this China tour?
Unlike some of the "big brands", who use your shopping to compensate the tour cost, China Spree will never involve in any type of shopping in which you would possibly participate, therefore, we strive to limit the shopping stops to the minimum to avoid any unnecessary waste of your traveling time. As opposite to at least one mandatory shopping stop per day, performed by most tour operators, our China Tours are limited to a maximum one shopping stop in each destination city and the shopping time is limited to max. 40 minutes. Please join us in fighting this practice of arranged shopping that cost you a valuable time.

What's the average group size on a China Spree China Tour?
China Spree is committed to small group travel. Only small groups can give clients the full individual attention and maximize their exposure to the local culture.

Our average group size is 10-18 travelers; the maximum group size is 20 plus except for the low season special promotion tours. For people who travel with a private party and prefer all members to travel together, we will do whatever the group size they are comfortable with. You deserve and have our respect.

  RESERVATION  

I have a couple of friends want to travel to China with me, how can China Spree help?
China Spree welcomes individual travelers as well as private parties for its China Tours. You may join our scheduled China Tour departures or customize a private China Tour for your party. If you can recommend as few as 15 paying passengers to us, we will be more than glad to provide you with a free trip! It’s our way of saying thank you for recommending us to your friends.

How far in advance do I need to make a reservation for my China Tour?
Our China Tours are based on "first come, first serve". We recommend that you make reservations as far in advance as possible thus ensuring the best air and hotel available. Reservations made within 45 days prior to departure date require payment in full at the time of the booking.

Why do I have to provide my name as it appears on my passport?
Internationally introduced security measures (USA included) dictate that any name change including minor spelling corrections may require airline reservations to be canceled and rebooked. Once full payment is received, airline tickets will be issued. Subsequent name corrections will be subject to air space availability at the time of rebooking and airline imposed penalties. China Spree is not responsible for the denial of boarding by a carrier or denial of entry into China due to any name discrepancy.

What do I expect after placing my online reservation?
Upon receipt of your online reservation, our agent will contact you, usually, within 24 hours to confirm the availability of your reservation, answer your questions regarding the trip, and provide you with payment instructions.

We are interested in a custom china tour, how can China Spree help us?
Unlike most other group travel operators that only focus on "per packaged group travel", China Spree specializes in both group travel and individually tailor-made tours to China. We boast the best China travel planners in the business and "craft" personal itinerary to suit your needs. For more information, please visit our Customized Tours.

Can I purchase land only from chinatravelguide.freechinalink.com?
Yes, you may purchase only the land portion of any All-Inclusive packages, or simply choose from China Land Only programs.

If I travel with a scheduled China Tour group departure, can I choose to arrive China early or/and depart later than scheduled date?
Yes, you may, but not at same group rate. Our scheduled China Tour departures reflect deep discounted group rates based on the condition that all group members arrive and depart China on the same flight.

Do you offer pre/post China Tour accommodation in LAX or SFO?
Yes, we do. We have contract with Radisson Hotel San Francisco Airport and the Radisson Los Angeles Aiport. Both of these hotels provide 4-star accommodations with complimentary shuttle services to the airport at a very affordable prices. Please contact us for details. Please be advised that if your layover time in the designated gateway is more than 24 hours, a $30 stopover tax for each way may apply to your add-on airfare.

Do we earn any mileage credit when flying with Air China?
Not for now. Effective July 1st, 2007, Air China group tickets (class: T, E) cannot collect United Airlines mileage. Only individual air tickets can collect partial to full mileage with UA depending on Air China ticket booking class. L class can collect 50% of UA mileage, K class and up collect 100% mileage. Business class 130% mileage; First class: 150% mileage.

Per Air China, they are on the way to join Star Alliance, the largest and most awarded airline alliance in the world (Currently UA, US Airways, Air Canada, etc are all active members of Star Alliance) . So please request Air China membership card at airport check-in so your China flight mileage can be credited to Star Alliance points as soon as Air China becomes the member.

We have UA Frequent Flyer Mileage credit, can we use it towards Air China flights?
Currently, United Airlines is code-sharing partner with Air China. If you have enough UA mileage, you can earn a free Air China ticket by dealing with UA only. However you cannot use UA mileage to upgrade with Air China.

Why your air taxes seem higher than most other tour operators?
China Spree use Air China, China’s national airline, for almost all of your China tour flights including both transpacific and China domestic flights. By doing so China Spree travelers enjoy the huge discount they save on China domestic flights. Also when we issue Air China tickets (for both international and China domestic segments) from U.S. we know how much the tax is for each individual segment and that amounts are clearly specified on our website.

As opposite, the tour operators that use other air carriers rather than Air China cannot issue China domestic air ticket in conjunction with the transpacific ticket and therefore don’t know the exact air taxes for China domestic flights. They must categorize those taxes as part of the tour fare rather than list them separately as taxes .

  PAYMENTS  

What are the acceptable forms of payment for a China Spree China Tour?
Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover, Check and Money Order are all acceptable forms of payment. Third-party credit cards are not acceptable. Check or money order should be made payable to "Tour Beyond, Inc". If you resides outside U.S. & Canada, bank wire and international money order are the only two acceptable methods of payment. Please read complete details on Payment & Cancellation.

What's your Cancellation and Refund policy?
We have some of the best cancellation policy on the market. If you cancel any time for whatever reason outside 45 days, you only loose $100 per person. For complete details please read Payment & Cancellation.

Can I make payment with more than one credit card?
Yes, you may. Please specify desired payment options when you make a reservation. Detailed information is required for each credit card. Please note: Third party credit card is not acceptable.

What is additional on top of the listed China Tour fare?
All listed tour fares exclude U.S. imposed fees & Air taxes and China domestic airport taxes. Peoples’ Republic of China Visa processing fee is also additional. Please refer to specific program for detailed air taxes and visa fees.

Is there any hidden cost that I should be aware of?
No, not with China Spree.

  PRE TOUR  

Do I need a passport or a visa to visit P.R.China?
Yes, please read complete details about Passport & Visa.

My China Tour is paid in full, when do I expect to receive my travel documents?
Usually, the packet containing air tickets, passport & Visa (if applicable), final itinerary, luggage tags, credential holder, contact information and other travel essentials will be sent out to you approximately two weeks prior to departure.

I received my travel documents but cannot locate all airline segments, do I miss anything?
Air tickets for China domestic portions (where applicable) are either attached to the transpacific segments, or will be presented to you when you are in China.

What are the physical requirements for a Tibet adventure?
Generally speaking, you need to be in a sound physical condition to visit Tibet. The altitude at Lhasa is 12,000 feet. Summer is the most desirable time to make a visit. Summer's warmer air means greater oxygen content. People may experience light-headedness, shortness of breath and may tire a little more easily. We recommend you consult your family physician for advice.

If I would like to bring some gifts on my China Tour, what kind of gifts would you recommend?
Many travelers choose to bring small gifts for those they meet in China. If you choose to do so, suggested items include commemorative stamps, pins, pens, hometown souvenirs, English reading material, T-Shirt, instant Polaroid photos etc. Whatever the gift you choose to present the recipient will be most grateful.

Do I need any inoculations or medical attention prior to going to China?
No shots are mandatory per Chinese Customs. However, we recommend Hepatitis A & B and Tetanus. Traveling to any exotic destinations like China may cause diarrhea; Imodium is a must for all China travel. If your proposed tour including Tibet (at 11,000 feet), you are strongly recommended to visit your family doctor for their professional advice.

I noticed that the baggage allowance differs on the transpacific and China internal segments, how can we handle that?
As a general practice in the air transportation industry worldwide, international baggage allowance is usually more than that could be possibly allowed for the domestic flight due to the difference on the aircrafts operated for these duties. Currently, you can have two pieces of checked baggage, each one up to 50 lbs, when flying with Air China on the transpacific portion. As opposite, all air carriers on China internal flights require only one piece of checked baggage, not over 44 lbs. We strongly recommend you travel light!.

Nevertheless, in practice, while you are in China, your checked baggage will be handled on a group basis, if your group has 10 passengers or more, on the transportation between the cities. Some airports in China are not very strict with group baggage while few like Guilin, is very fussy about it. Ironically, despite the fact that tourism is Guilin's top industry, when you fly out of Guilin, the local airport is very strict on the regulation of one piece at 44 lbs. As a compromise, they are not strict at all on the carry-ons; in most cases, you can have multiple carry-ons aboard.

On the transit from Shanghai to Beijing where your international flight departs for U.S., you are allowed to have two pieces of checked baggage because of the same day connection to the international flight.

Most of the times, China's internal airports are not very strict on the carry-ons. Passengers taking a carry-on plus a backpack find no problem aboard.

The reason why we, here, provide so many specifications on your baggage is based on the general concern about what gears you have to bring on your trip. China is a country with many regulations; meanwhile flexibility does exist. Many of the regulations are carried out in the manner of the Chinese characteristics, that, combined with its unique culture and splendid sceneries make visiting China travel so appealing to all of us. Please remember those who travel happily must travel light. Our observation may not be correct. It's your decision that matters.

Can I rent a cell phone to use in China?
Yes, We would strongly advise our customers to get an unlocked tri-band (multi-band) mobile phone from the States and buy a local SIM card as soon as they arrive in China. The cards are prepaid -- e.g. RMB100 will get you quite a bit of talk time and at lower cost than the hotel IDD service...About two weeks prior to departure date, we will mail a booklet to you with more information about cell phone rental.

  WHILE ON TOUR  

Who's going to take care of us while we are on our China Tour?
We use double guiding system to ensure your maximum safety and convenience while you are in China. For a tour group with 10 travelers or more, a professional China tour director will be assigned to accompany the group throughout mainland China, supervising the works performed by local agencies and smoothing over any possible difficulties along the trip. Your China Tour director is a licensed professional who gives you a personal care and is accessible 24 hours a day throughout your trip.

In addition to your national guide, on a local level, local guides are assigned along the program to provide local arrangements and insights on local attractions. For a party less than 10 travelers, local guides will be assigned in each destination city, meeting you from your arrival on their cities, guiding you through local arrangements and seeing you safely leave for the next destination; Tour director is arranged only upon request; additional charges will apply.

To maintain the highest standard of service, your China Tour director's cell phone number will be given to you before your departure. Using this number your relatives or friends at home can easily reach you if an emergency arises. To keep live connection with our clients, our staff in U.S. office will keep track of your group and phone some of the clients to ensure that your journey is updated and your experience is satisfactory. For an immediate feedback while you are on tour, you can email us at tellus@chinatravelguide.freechinalink.com, we will try to contact you within 48 hours. Whenever and wherever you travel in China, you can rest assured that China Spree and our reputable China partners are all with you every step of the way.

What's your tipping policy?
Gratuities have become customary in the sector of China's inbound foreign tours. Many travel magazines and web sites debate openly on tipping your China tour guides. Back to the early 90's, tipping in China is officially forbidden; even today, it's at least not publicly encouraging. Nevertheless, the existing fact is, tips have already been widely accepted for more than 15 years among the tour guides and hotel porters serving western travelers. As a result of China's opening up to the world and the growing influence of foreign cultures especially from U.S., your Chinese tour guides do expect gratuities as a reward for their hard works. It's not realistic to see KFC and McDonalds overall the places in China but your Chinese guides are still refusing your tips. It's a cultural contact, and something is always accepted fast than something else. To keep your guides loyal and conscientious, tipping is advised. However, if you are NOT satisfied with the services your guide provide, DON'T TIP, besides, we encourage you to report any mediocre services, in your opinion, performed by your guides. We will treat this matter VERY seriously.

On the other hand, the amount of tipping is completely dependent on the satisfactory nature of the services you receive. A general Gratuity Guideline is outlined for the convenience of our travelers. The recommended amount of gratuities is calculated using the length of your China Tour and will be clearly marked in the travel documents you will send to you about two week prior to departure. If you have any comment on this policy, you are more than welcome to contact us.

What makes the best purchases in China?
China is known as a "shopper’s paradise". There are marvelous selections of arts and crafts, luxurious silk, embroidered linens, carpets, jade carvings, chops (ink seals), cloisonne, wood-block prints, patent medicines, reproductions of old art, hand-painted snuff bottles, etc. Your experienced China Tour director knows the best buys in each city.

Do our China Tour director and local guides speak good English?
Yes, each China Tour professional selected is highly educated, licensed and chosen for the ability and talent to relate to English speakers.

How is seating determined on the motor coach travel?
We suggest daily rotation of seating. This allows everyone a variety of views. If you require special seating for medical reasons, your tour director will be glad to help you in making arrangements.

  POST TOUR  

What do we do about the trip evaluation form?
At China Spree, we are eager to know your feeling about your just finished trip to China. Clients are the best source for our information. Please spare some time and log into your Member Area at chinatravelguide.freechinalink.com, to fill out our Evaluation Form. We value your comment!

  HOTELS  

How about the hotels we will stay in during our China Tour?
All hotels we select offer first class accommodation with private facilities. Each hotel is visited regularly by our staff to insure the uncompromising quality that China Spree is known to provide. The same attention is equally true for all the dinning establishments we utilize.

What facilities and services do our hotels normally provide?
All hotels on your China trip have Foreign Currency Exchange Service, business center with access to Internet and fax, postal service, gym, International Direct Dialing telephone in your room. You may also find a hair dryer, iron, converter and adaptor (subject to limited supplies) with housekeeping. Many hotels have swimming pools.

Can we have non-smoking room?
Yes, we always book non-smoking rooms unless otherwise requested by the client.

Does our hotel have laundry service?
Yes, all our hotels offer same day laundry service. Prices are fairly reasonable.

What is the voltage requirement in China?
China's electrical current is 220V, 50 cycles AC. Plugs and Outlets come in a variety of shapes. You are advised to bring along adapters and converters for your U.S. purchased appliances. Hair dryers and irons are readily available at most hotels, simply contact hotel housekeeping when you need them.

  TRAVEL INSURANCE  

Should I purchase travel insurance?
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself and your investment in case you must cancel or interrupt your vacation. Please read more details about Travel Insurance.

Does the travel insurance cover my pre-existing medical condition?
Yes. In order to waive your pre-existing medical conditions, you must enroll in Travelex Insurance within 21 days (14 days for Washington State residents) of your initial trip deposit made to chinatravelguide.freechinalink.com.

  SPECIAL REQUEST  

What if I have special dietary needs?
If you are vegetarian or have allergies to certain foods, please list all details on our Online Reservation Form. We will forward your needs to our China land operator. They will make every effort to accommodate your requirements.

Can we request a king size bed?
Hotel rooms in China are usually standard rooms with two twin beds. We don't accept request for king-size bed at the time of reservation. However you may talk to the hotel directly or seek assistance from your tour director when you are in China.


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