As most everyone knows, the city of Beijing, China, will be hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. Travelers from around the world will converge on the city, many arriving at Beijing’s Capital Airport. Many travelers however, are unaware of what to expect when arriving in and departing from China, and the language barrier presents additional problems. How to avoid the stress of uncertainty? Passports and Visa’s for sure, but then what?
Traveling to China need not be difficult. Preparation is the key to a pleasant and stress free journey. Still, finding information on how to navigate Beijing’s Capital Airport brings disappointing results in internet search bars, hence the reason for this article, which is intended to take the stress out of at least one aspect of a cross-continental journey to the Far East.
Now I know how difficult it is while travelling in foreign countries where not only the language but the script is completely alien to any person and Chinese too understand the problem as some of them ask where is Seattle airport whenever they travel to the city or any other state for that matter.
While on the airplane, travelers will be given a Chinese Customs Form to fill out, in addition to a Quarantine Health Information card and a Entry Form. Forms are offered in Chinese or English. Make sure to keep passports accessible while traveling, as passport numbers will be asked for. Upon arrival at the airport, a traveler first hands over the Quarantine Health Information form and then enters a line to go through Immigration. Passports and Entry forms are checked here. Passengers proceed downstairs to collect luggage from the baggage claims area. If you have goods to declare, head for checkpoints displaying a large, red square. If you have nothing to declare, head for the checkpoints sporting the large, green circle. Either way, this is where the Customs Forms are handed over. Immediately following Customs checkpoints, follow directions to the Waiting Area.
Then, enjoy your visit to Beijing!
Leaving China, passengers must first go through a Customs checkpoint. Passengers are not allowed through the checkpoint without first filling out a Customs form, which are available in Chinese and English at a number of points within the general lobby area. Again, passengers will either present luggage to be checked at the points designated with a large, red square, or if not carrying any items to declare, proceed through the checkpoint sporting the large, green circle. Only then will a passenger then check in at the appropriate airline check-in counter. If uncertain where to find your airline, ask someone. Most of the airport employees speak at least some English.
After checking your bags, fill out a Departure Card, which can be found in the area preceding the airline gates. After filling out the card, head for one of the lines and be prepared to once again show your passport, boarding pass and Departure card. After passing through that checkpoint, you may locate your departure gate. Once on the airplane, you will be given another Customs Declaration Form to fill out. Be honest! Fines for not claiming foods or other items marked on your form may cost hundreds of dollars! Better safe than sorry – don’t attempt to bring back any foodstuffs.
If you are re-entering the United States, you will have to go through Immigration and Customs again. Citizens and Visitors are directed to two separate lines. Again, your passport will be asked for. Next, head for Baggage Claim, pick up your luggage, and then again prepare to show your Customs Declaration at the Customs checkpoint. After that, you’re free to go, really.
Knowing what to expect can ease the stress of traveling to a foreign country where your native language may not be spoken. Allow plenty of time for plane transfers and delays. Most importantly, use common sense when packing. Don’t take things that aren’t essential on your trip. The less you have, the easier it will be to move around. Taxis are small, as are storage spaces in most city busses. Many hotels use stairways, and rooms can be quite small compared to American hotels.
The best way to avoid difficulties when traveling to China is to research your itinerary as much as possible before you leave the comfort of your own home. Oh, and most importantly, don’t forget to pack extra travel size tissue packs – many of the public restrooms in Beijing aren’t stocked with rolls of toilet tissue! Beijing is a wonderful and exciting city, but it pays to plan ahead.