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FAQ

Our extensive experience as a dedicated China tour operator has helped us identify the types of questions you may have before embarking on your China vacations. The information below addresses many of the common inquiries we receive from people considering travel to China.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
General Questions

Who is China Spree Travel?
Based in Washington State, China Spree Travel is America's leading China tour operator. China Spree Tours feature "First Class Travel at Bargain Prices", and we do guarantee the BEST VALUE package tours to China. Tour Beyond, Inc. is China Spree's corporate name and China Spree is dba (doing business as) Tour Beyond, Inc.

What is the best season to embark on a China Tour?
China has a hot and humid summer (June, July and August), and a dry and cold winter (December, January and February).

Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, first two weeks of November) are good seasons to visit China because the weather is mild throughout most of China. Summer, however, is the best season to visit Tibet because the oxygen content of the summer air is greater.

Note, the weather from the third week of October to the mid of November is usually pleasant (15-18 c, except in 2009 when the first snow fall came in one month earlier, making it the coldest November in 50 years); but many travelers overlook this window. It is less crowded compared to the first three weeks in October but the tour fare is cheaper. We recommend you consider this period of time for your vacations to China. The winter months are cold but are much less crowded; and the tour fare is the least expensive.

October 1-7 is the Chinese National Day "Golden Week". During this holiday time, shops still remain open, but may be crowded, particularly in Beijing.

What is the demographic of China Spree tours?
China Spree customers are dynamic and seasoned travelers with mixed age group, who are looking for an active learning experience and would like to visit more of China in a limited time frame.

What is the group size of China Spree tours?
Please click here for information about China Spree tour group size.

What's the cancellation policy for China Spree Travel?
If China Spree has to cancel a tour due to low participants, travelers will receive a full refund for any money you paid to China Spree, or you may opt to reschedule a different tour/departure.

If a traveler has to cancel a tour because of his/her personal reason, our tour penalty applies as follows:

Notification of tour cancellation for any reason must be in writing. Verbal cancellation by phone is not acceptable. Any cancellation refunds will be calculated from the date the written cancellation is received in our offices.

Traveler(s) unable to complete the vacation for any reason acknowledge that any and all unused portion(s) of the vacation package is neither refundable nor exchangeable.

Should the traveler(s) cancellation change the room configuration and thereby incur a single supplement charge to a roommate the amount of the charge will be deducted from the travelers' refund. This is in addition to any other cancellation fees that may apply.

To receive any refund, all air tickets and all other travel documents must be returned to China Spree Travel. Applicable refunds will be processed promptly following receipt of the written cancellation and documents.

Cancellation Policy (Cancellation penalty is assessed according to the number of days prior to departure date)

75 days or more-------------------------$200 per person
74 days to 31 days---------------------$400 per person
30 days to 15 days---------------------50% tour fare per person
14 days or less--------------------------100% tour fare per person

China visa handling fee is non-refundable once the visa application is submitted to the China consulate and will be added to the above penalty. Once the tour starts, any unused tour features are neither refundable nor transferable.

Trip cancellation policy for private tours may be different from the above and will be provided separately.

What is your policy on tipping?
Tipping can be confusing for group travelers to China. Tips, as a prime motivator for tour guides, are their main source of income, and therefore are expected in China's booming foreign inbound travel segment.

China Spree considers gratuities from our patrons to our service staff as a rewarding system. It means if you are not completely satisfied with the services you received, DON'T TIP. Furthermore, please report any services and behaviors that you think do not live up to China Spree's standard to our office immediately so we can make the correction promptly. It is crucial for us to maintain a high level of quality services.

We recommend USD$10 per traveler per day to cover all tour guides, bus drivers, and porters. The detailed information about gratuities will be available to you in the final travel documents. This gratuity guideline is introduced solely for the convenience of our travelers so you can include it in your total travel budget. Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion.

Do I need any inoculations or medical attention prior to going to China, or Tibet?
No inoculation is mandatory for your China travel. However, we remind you that traveling in China does require certain precautions. Most seasoned travelers get immunized for Hepatitis A&B and Tetanus. Note we are not in the position to tell you that you should or should not take certain inoculations. We, therefore, highly recommend that you consult your family doctor to verify your particular needs, or contact your local Travel Clinic for their professional advice. You can locate a Travel Clinic in your area by a Google search using keyword "Travel Clinic" or look at your local Yellow Pages. Some shots need to be taken well in advance. For the latest overseas travel health information, please contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting www.cdc.gov/travel or by calling toll-free 1-888-232-3228.

If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring enough to last the entire trip. Keep these medications with you and do not pack them in checked baggage.

Long-term travel overseas might cause tourists to develop stomach upset; a change in water, food, sleep habits and/or climate may all cause discomfort. Bring anti-diarrhea medications such as Imodium and Lomotil just in case.

If your China tour includes Tibet (elevation of 12,000 feet), you are strongly recommended to visit your doctor or a travel clinic for their professional advice about traveling at high altitudes. People may experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) with symptoms like light-headedness, shortness of breath and may tire a little more easily at that high elevation. Medication to reduce mountain sickness may be advised by your physician.

How about the hotels we will stay in during our China Tour?
Hotels on your China trip are your home away from home, you need a sense of safety and comfort, with convenient locations allowing you to explore with ease. That is the principal guideline for hotel selection for our China Spree tours. Comfort of room, central location, quality of breakfast, service and amenities are the four key criteria we use to pick hotels.

Can we request a king/queen sized bed on our China tour?
Yes, you may request a king/queen sized bed at Item #2 "Traveler Information and Rooming Selection" section of your online tour reservation form.

Hotels in China mainly cater to business and conference travelers, and most hotel rooms are equipped with two twin-sized beds. Hotels in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong usually have more king/queen bed rooms than hotels in China's inland cities such as Xian and Guilin. We will try our best to satisfy your request, but please note that such requests cannot be guaranteed.

Is there arranged shopping on China Spree tours?
China is the world's factory and bargain shoppers' paradise. We are aware of the fact that shopping is an integral part of international travel, particularly to countries like China. However, your valuable travel time in China is limited and therefore China Spree tours features the minimum arranged shopping stops compared to all other tours.

For tours under "Specials", "Deluxe" and "Luxury", we allow only one arranged shopping opportunity in each major city (no arranged shopping in Tibet, Hong Kong or on the Yangtze Cruise), and that shopping stop must be related to a learning experience. The shopping time must be strictly limited to 40 minutes.

For "Special" tours, we allow 2 shopping stops (visits to workshops of Jade and fresh water pearl) in Beijing, one in Xian for 12-day The Middle Kingdom tour (visit the factory making replica terra-cotta warriors), and one to Suzhou's silk spinning mill (9-day China's Two Great Cities tour). All these shopping stops are strictly limited to one hour.

Forced shopping is prohibited with China Spree tours. We appreciate your input and feedback on this matter.

What are the meals like on China Spree tours?
We choose hotels that provide good American buffet breakfasts, which is important for most Westerners, while traveling on a busy itinerary, and also for those whose appetite cannot take in too many Chinese foods.

Lunch and dinner are mostly Chinese meals representing the local flavor of the places you visit. It is usually arranged in a local Chinese restaurant and is served in a family style with 6-10 people sharing one table. China Spree will keep improving the quality and variety of our meal arrangements, despite of the fact that China Spree meals are already much better than all other competitors.

Does China Spree accommodate special dietary requests?
Air portion
Call Air China at 1-800-882-8122 if you have a special dietary request for transpacific or China internal flights. Air China Call Center Hours: Monday- Friday, 6:00AM to 9:00PM, PST; Saturday & Sunday: 7:30AM to 4:00PM, PST (including holidays)

Land portion
Please advice your dietary request at the "Special Request" section on Item #9 on the Online Reservation Form when you book this tour.

Vegetarian meals
We accept vegetarian meal requests for both individuals on our scheduled departures and for private groups. We often have vegetarians on China Spree tours, and we will try our best to accommodate you. Note: Unlike in North America, the meal arrangements for vegetarians on your China trip may be of limited variety.

Indian Vegetarian meals
We can arrange Indian vegetarian meals in big cities like Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, etc. for private group travel only. On the Yangtze cruise portion Indian vegetarian meals are not available but we are able to arrange Chinese vegetarian meals for you.

Other meal requests
We regret that we cannot arrange kosher, Hindu, and Muslim meals for your China trip. Nor are we able to arrange for diabetic meals on your China tour. This is mainly because sprouted whole grain food is rarely available in China.

Food allergies
If you are allergic to peanuts, or have gluten intolerance you need to think seriously about your plan to visit China. In China food is usually prepared using peanut oil. For those with gluten intolerance, there is no way to remove gluten from all the foods you might possibly eat on your China trip.

We always request that restaurants not use too much MSG in our group meals; but there is no guarantee on that because using MSG is a general practice in preparing food in Chinese restaurants.

How can China Spree accommodate travelers needing walking assistance?
China Spree regrets that we cannot provide individual assistance to a guest for walking, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and other personal needs. Guest needing such assistance must be accompanied by an able companion who will assist them without causing problems for the rest of the group members. If you have mobility difficulties you should notify China Spree when booking our tour. In some cases we may be able to offer you an alternative private tour at additional expense. We regret that some itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters.

China Spree tour is fully packed and fast paced. It includes days where long periods of driving, sightseeing on foot and climbing of steps may be necessary. To fully participate in this tour, you must be able to:

1) Walk, sometimes for long distances, and sometimes over uneven surfaces without assistance;

2) Complete some long days of touring with minimal breaks;

3) Climb steps sometimes without handrails;

4) Disembark and embark between moving pontoons, docks and boats, sometimes without handrails or assistance (if your tour includes the Yangtze River cruise).

You may hire a wheelchair with an attendant to assist for approx. $70 per day in most of China’s tourist cities. Your tour guide can help to secure this service. Please note that China is a country with a total lack of facilities for the disabled. Inside China gardens, temples, and museums, there are usually many stairs without ramps or lifts, big thresholds, and uneven surfaces, which make wheelchair and motorized scooters impassable.

Does China Spree work with travel agents?
Yes. Travel Agents can benefit from recommending clients to China Spree's scheduled departure tours between April 1 and October 31. We can also customize a tour itinerary for your clients with a net rate so you can decide your mark-up. Please call 866-652-5656 for further information or submit an online Group Travel Request.

We booked the flight to China on our own. Can you include airport-hotel transfer?
Generally transfers are not included in our land only packages. We can offer you the free transfer as long as it does not affect group arrivals and departures in any way.

Same flights as the group:
If you arrive and depart on the same flights as the group, you can use the transfers free of charge.

Same and/or different arrival/departure times:
The group transfer cannot alter their schedule. If your flight arrives before the group flight, you can meet the transfer where the group arrives. If you arrive in a different terminal, you will need to get to the group's terminal. You can also use the departure transfer as long as your flight is after the group departure. You will be dropped off at the same terminal as the group. If your flight is at a different terminal, you will need to make sure you have enough time to get to the other terminal before your flight.

Why have some of the meals been taken out of tours?
It is very important to us to ensure that you get the best value for your dollar without sacrificing service or convenience. Most of the meals that were taken out of the itineraries were "in-flight" meals. We have found that recently many of the airlines, in an effort to save money, no longer offer meals and are only offering a snack. In order for us to maintain the included meals for clients, we are required to give up precious time out of touring to ensure the group has a meal. The best answer to that was to give clients the opportunity to decide what they would like to eat on those days, giving you flexibility without taking time away from your touring. Also, we received feedback from past clients who said that after many days eating with the group some people would prefer to eat on their own. Clients now have a choice on those days as to where and what to eat and whether they would like to eat alone or with fellow travelers. For your first day arriving in Shanghai, the hotel is only blocks from a main shopping area (Nanjing Road and People's Square) so that clients can shop and dine with many options. We have ensured that when meals are not offered, the guide will suggest a place to eat that will satisfy the individual client’s needs for that day. This also allows us to put your money toward improved included meals, ensuring you get the best experience for your money.

 
 
Tour Reservations

How far in advance should we book our China vacation?
Our China tours are based on "first come, first serve". We recommend that you make reservations as far in advance as possible because China Spree tours feature small group travel with limited reserved air seats. Reservations made within 70 days prior to departure date require payment in full at the time of the booking.

What is China Spree's tour booking procedure?
1) Select the China tour you are interested in, and visit our "Dates & Pricing" page to view the departures and tour fares.
2) Select your departure date and gateway (or "land only"), and click the tour fare to complete the online booking form.
3) A China Spree agent will then contact you by email within 24-48 business hours to confirm your tour booking and send you an online payment link for the initial deposit payment ($200 per person).
4) Upon receipt of the email, please print out and complete the credit card form and send it back to China Spree so we can secure your tour reservation.
5) A confirmation email will be sent to you with your tour receipt, travel insurance registration, and other information about your China trip.
6) Make the balance payment to China Spree along with your China visa application kit (if applicable) 75 days prior to departure date, so China Spree agents will finalize your tour reservation by issuing the airline tickets, handling your China visa application, and coordinating your tour payment and booking with our China local offices.
7) The final tour packet will be emailed or couriered to you about 2 weeks prior to departure.

Please read more about our China tour booking procedure.

How does the China Spree Early-bird booking discount work?
From time to time, we run special promotions (or Early-bird discount) for our China tours. Depending on the tour and the time you book, additional savings (as specified on top of the Dates & Pricing table) may be available if your tour booking and deposit are received by the specific booking deadline. Due to the popularity of our China tours and the limited inventory of group seats, the tour fare and promotion discount are subject to change and will be assessed and adjusted at the middle and the end of each month.

How does your "Cash Discount" work?
A USD$200 per person deposit is required to secure a reservation and is payable by credit card or personal check. To take advantage of the cash discount rate, you must pay the balance due by personal/company check or money order. The balance payment is due 75 days prior to the departure date. The cash discount is not affected by how you pay the initial deposit.

Unless otherwise stated you will be billed for the "Cash Discount Rate" as specified in your tour invoice. The "Non-cash Discount Rate adds $200 on top of "Cash Discount Rate" per person. Please contact us at least one week prior to the balance payment due date if you would like to make the balance payment by a credit card, by doing so you are NOT eligible for the cash discount rate.

Can we add Hong Kong, Tibet or other places of interest to our China tour?
Yes, you may do so at additional cost. China Spree does offer tours that include Hong Kong and Tibet. Cost-wise, it is better to take the tours that include the places of interest to you than to add an extension tour. Please contact us for details.

Can we incorporate our China Spree tour with other destinations?
Yes, you may. You can take advantage of Air China's flight routing and extend your vacations to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India, or Philippines. Note: If you don't return with the main group on the same day or your routing is changed for tour extension/deviations, extra charges may apply on the airfare. Please contact us for details.

Do we save money if we place three in one room for a triple occupancy?
Not really, each of you will have to pay the same price listed on our website. It means the same rate applies for double and triple occupancy. It sounds unreasonable, but that's how the tour operators are charged by the hotels in China. They are charged extra for both the third bed and for the breakfast. Therefore, the charge for the third person is actually more than 50% of the room rate because of the included buffet breakfast.

Triple occupancy refers to a standard room with two twin-sized beds adding a rollaway bed; it is tight for three adults because the room for triple occupancy is just a regular standard room. Alternatively, you may pay the single room supplement to get a second room.

We are a family of 4 with two young kids. What type of room we will get for our China tour?
Hotels in China can accommodate a maximum of 3 in one room due to local fire codes. We will get two separate rooms for your family based on two double occupancy rooms. We will request adjoining rooms, which has limited availability in China hotels, or rooms next to each other.

What is your child discount?
Children of 11 years and under may have an airfare discount depending on the tour and departure dates. Children under 2 years are considered infants, and may travel in a parent's lap. Airlines do not usually offer a seat for infants and further discounts may apply. Children 12 years and older are considered adults for fare purposes and the adult rate applies.

Do you offer a discount for seniors and AAA members?
China Spree tours feature an early booking discount available to the general public. We don't offer further discount for seniors and AAA members. But China Spree guarantees the BEST VALUE China tours on the market.

Why do we have to provide our names exactly as they appear on our passport?
U.S. and Canadian Transportation agencies require that all passengers' names on the airline ticket must exactly match the name on your passport and in the airline booking system. Even the smallest discrepancy will result in denied boarding. China Spree requires all travelers to provide their full passport names (including full middle names, etc.) appearing exactly as on their passports at the time of online booking. You are solely responsible for the accuracy of the names you provide to us when you book your tour.

Internationally introduced security measures (USA included) dictate that any name change including minor spelling corrections may require airline reservations to be canceled and rebooked. 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.

Can China Spree customize a tour for us?
Yes. As a leading China tour specialist, China Spree specializes in group travel and custom tour itineraries to the People's Republic. Every year thousands of Americans travel to China on a private journey custom-made by China Spree Tours. Simply complete our online Group Travel Enquiry, or call our toll free number at 1-866-652-5656. We do guarantee the BEST VALUE package tour for your private party.

What is the benefit as a tour organizer?
For every 15 paying adults (12 years and older with air inclusive package using Air China for the transpacific flight), you, the tour organizer, as the 16th person will travel for free (based on twin-sharing room) from SFO or JFK, and will only be subject to the airline fuel surcharge, taxes and fees. This applies to all tours under regular season (April 1 to October 31), except tours listed as "Special" tours.

Can I make a tour payment with more than one credit card, or with installments?
Yes, you may. Please specify desired payment options when you make a reservation.

 
 
Air Travel

Why does China Spree use Air China?
Per our customers' feedback, Air China needs to make serious improvements with staff training, customer service, the variety of meals, and onboard entertainment.

Honestly, we think the current aviation industry in general leaves much to be desired for the seasoned air traveler. We don't think any airline in North America can be called "great". Air travel experience has now deteriorated to a mass transit operation where the only goal is to get a passenger from point A to point B. Economic constraints are now playing the primary role in international air travel.

This being the case, China Spree has chosen Air China based on the following criteria:

1) Safety: Air China is China's only National Flag carrier and is commonly regarded as China's national airline. Since it was established in 1988, Air China has a very good safety record on international flights (impeccable until a crash in 2002). Air China is a member of Star Alliance.

2) Non-stop service to Beijing: Air China operates non-stop flights from San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH), and Vancouver, BC (YVR) to Beijing, the capital of PRC.

3) Networks for intra-China flights: As China's major airline, Air China has one of the largest fleets in the world with over 200 aircraft, most of which were purchased from Boeing and Airbus in recent years. As the oldest air carrier in China, Air China has an extensive network of air routes serving over 80 China domestic destinations and 40 international and regional destinations. Air China is the best choice, among all the China internal air carriers, that we can use for intra-China flights in terms of the air route coverage, aircrafts, facilities, and services. Read more

4) Economy: The airfare for Air China transpacific flights is substantially lower than all major U.S. carriers. Further, when China Spree uses Air China for transpacific flights, we can book and get a considerable discount for intra-China flights provided we issue all segments on one Air China conjunction ticket. We pass on that savings to our customers, which is one reason that China Spree tours are reasonably priced.

Of course, you can always choose whichever airline you prefer, and book your flights to China on your own. China Spree offers a reasonable "Land only" option for all our tour itineraries, excluding international air to China. Please refer to "Dates & Pricing" page of each tour for "Land only" option.

Can we change the travel date and/or air routing of our China flight?
The airfare we use with Air China for China Spree tours is a contracted group fare. One of the restrictions of this special group fare requires all group members travel on the same date with the same routing. Changing travel dates and air routing may disqualify you from the group airfare and would incur air supplement, and the amount of which sometimes could be substantial, depending on the booking class on your actual travel date.

However, the above rule may vary for San Francisco (SFO) and New York (JFK) departures on a case by case basis. Usually, this rule (of changing travel date and air routing) applies more strictly for San Francisco departures. This means:

  1. Changing the return date is allowed and will incur an air supplement. It usually costs about $150-$200 in the regular season, but could be substantially more depending on the booking class of your actually return date. The fees related to the date/routing change involves the fare difference between airline booking classes, and service fees from ticketing agencies. Please note your hotel/airport transfer will be on your own if you are not returning with the main group on the original return date.

  2. Changing the departure date from SFO to China, and/or, changing air routing will completely disqualify you from the group airfare. China Spree then has to use the published airfare for your booking, and the air supplement could be substantial. Note, your airport/hotel transfer on arrival date is on your own if you do not arrive with the main group on the original scheduled arrival date.

Changing the travel date and/or air routing for a New York (JFK) departure may incur an air supplement, and the amount is dependent on your fare class. Please contact China Spree for details.

Seat assignment & Dietary Request for Air China flights
The effects of the current economy and recession have greatly impacted international travel vacation trends, with people booking closer to their departure date. This has affected the timeline we use to accommodate these travelers, and also when to issue the airline tickets. Thus, Air China group ticketing has adopted the ticketing date of about 2-3 weeks prior to departure date. The airline booking system (GDS) does not allow China Spree to pre-assign seats for group bookings. Once the tickets are issued, you will receive a confirmation email with your electronic ticket numbers and the airline contact information. You can then call the airlines directly to pre-assign seating and advise any special diet requests. Your final travel documents, including a hardcopy ticket itinerary, will be sent to you about 2 weeks prior to your departure date.

We do understand and share your concern about the short lead time available for your request for seat assignments. This is part of the group travel process. You may always consider booking your own transpacific flights, and purchase our "Land Only" package.

Pre-seating arrangements and special diet requests will be the traveler's responsibility. China Spree regrets we cannot handle this on your behalf. Air China can be reached at 1-800-882-8122.

Why do we have a connection via Beijing when returning to the U.S. / Canada from
Shanghai or Hong Kong?


Currently, the Air China hub is in Beijing, and its competitor China Eastern, is in Shanghai. The reason is historical and political, as both airlines were ‘advised' by the Chinese government to use their own hub gateway for non-stop flights to the U.S. Thus, Air China was not allowed to fly to the U.S. from Shanghai, and China Eastern was not allowed to fly to the U.S. from Beijing. We hope to see changes on this restriction.

Why do we have to connect via SFO, when Air China flies out of LAX?
Our Air China group contract is from the SFO Airport. This airport has the best air schedule from the West Coast for your timely arrival into Beijing. Your baggage is checked from LAX all the way to Beijing. Air China’s non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Beijing is a ‘redeye' flight leaving at 1:40AM, and arriving at 5:20AM which is not appropriate for your hotel check in. The second non-stop flight is a daytime arrival, but this flight is often cancelled without notice.

If your party has a minimum of 10 passengers from LAX, you are eligible for a group airfare and we can request group seats to fly you directly from LAX. We can also try even if you don't have 10 but do have between 4 and 6 passengers.

Can we join a China Spree tour without the international flights?
Yes, you can join our "Land only" package, which excludes the transpacific flights to China, but includes all intra-China flights. As a matter of fact, more travelers opt to take care of their transpacific flight to China on their own and join our "Land only" package. Please find the pricing for "Land only" option at the "Dates & Pricing" page of the each tour.

Can we earn mileage from Air China on our China tours?
Yes, please read Air China mileage accumulation policy at the All About Flights section.

Can we use our mileage to upgrade an Air China flight?
No. This is a contracted air fare that does not allow for mileage upgrades. If you purchase a business class upgrade, we will check to see if a mileage accumulation is available.

Does China Spree have an emergency plan if our flight to China is delayed or cancelled?
Yes, we have prepared a detailed Emergency Plan—please read our "What If" page in your China tour booklet, which is sent to you about 2 weeks prior to travel date.

Can we do web check-in?
You can do web check in for Air China flights only — this can be done from 3 to 24 hours prior to your flight departure time. You will still have to check in for this international flight at the airport, and show your passport, visa, and check your bags. You can call all airlines to pre-assign seats once the tickets are issued, you will be given the electronic ticket numbers.

Can we book a one way flight from U.S. to China if we have other travel plans after our China
tour?


Yes, we can book a one way fare. Our group airline contract is based on roundtrip travel, so there is not much fare difference between a one way and a round trip ticket.

What is the baggage allowance for your China tour?
Please click here for information on baggage allowance of your China flight.

What is the Air China flight schedule for our China trip?
Please click here for Air China flight schedule of your China tour.

Can China Spree arrange a flight from our home city to the Air China gateway?
Yes, China Spree can arrange an optional add-on airfare from your home city airport to the Air China gateway within the provisions of our Air China contract with US carriers. For price and airport availability, please refer to our "Date & Pricing" page of each individual tour. Select the gateway city of SFO or JFK and use the drop down box to select your departure city for a price quote.

When will we know the schedule for our add-on flights to JFK or SFO?
Upon receipt of your tour deposit payment, your booking status will become active in our Air China reservation system. We will then start to work with the airline to get the add-on flights to connect from your home city to the Air China gateway city (San Francisco, New York JFK, Vancouver, BC, or Los Angeles). Add-on flights are specially contracted between Air China and the various U.S. carriers. Arrangements for add-on flights generally take about two weeks, but the time frame can vary, depending on the airline schedule. As soon as your flights are confirmed, the flight information will be sent to you via email directly from the airline booking system (Sabre VirtuallyThere). Contact China Spree if the flight schedule does not work for you so we can look for other options. Please read our Add-on Flight Disclaimer for further details.

If China Spree arranges our flight from Denver to San Francisco with a United Airlines add-on,
connecting to the Air China flight to Beijing, can we check our bag all the way through to
Beijing?


Yes, if China Spree issues the ticket from your home city to San Francisco with a connection to Beijing, you can check your baggage all the way through to Beijing. As a general rule, this only applies to through fares where the U.S. flights are ticketed together with the Air China Trans-Pacific flight.

Does China Spree have a specially contracted hotel in San Francisco if we choose to overnight
there?



Yes, China Spree has a contract with the Radisson San Francisco Airport including free airport shuttle. Please contact us for availability and pricing. You can book this hotel in the Optional Features section of our online tour reservation form.

Air China & China Air
Air China is based on mainland China, in PRC. Since it was established in 1988, Air China has a good safety record on international flights (impeccable until a crash in 2002).

China Air is a different carrier based in Taiwan, China Air has the poorest safety record of any international long-haul airline in Asia.

Can a passenger bring their own wheelchair with them to China?
Yes, if you have a companion to assist you, otherwise you will have to pay for an assistant which is about $70.00 per day. Air China does have a free baggage allowance for wheelchairs on their transpacific flights only. For travel on intra-China flights the regulations vary from airport to airport and excess baggage fees may be charged. Some intra-China flights are not operated by Air China, and their policy on wheelchairs may vary greatly. Some places are not easily accessible for a wheelchair. Please read more about China Spree's policy on travelers needing walking assistance.

 
 
Accommodations

What facilities and services do our hotels normally provide?
All hotels on your China trip have a Foreign Currency Exchange Service, a business center with access to the Internet and fax, postal service, gym, and 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 a non-smoking room?
Yes, China Spree always requests non-smoking rooms for our China tours.

Does our hotel have laundry service?
Yes, all our hotels offer same day laundry service.

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.

 
 
Pre Trip

What gift would you recommend us to bring to China?
Our China tour includes Culture Insite Programmes designed to enhance your learning, discovery, and people to people experience. For instance, many China Spree tours include a home visit in Beijing, and a visit to a cave-dwelling in Xian. If you would like to bring some gifts to China, suggested items include commemorative stamps, pins, pens, hometown souvenirs, English reading material, T-Shirts, instant Polaroid photos etc. Whatever gift you choose to present, the recipient will be most grateful.

Can I bring my laptop, iPad, or iPhone to China?
Internet access is available at almost all hotels on your China Spree travel itinerary. You can use the computers in the business center at your hotel for a fee. Internet access is usually charged by the minute and may be expensive. Many hotels offer free internet access in your hotel room, so you may want to bring your own laptop. Some hotels do charge for internet access and it could be expensive (up to $15-18 per day). Wi-Fi is not commonly available in China hotels. Most hotels in China either do not have WiFi at all or only have WiFi in a public area. Usually you will not have access to WiFi from your hotel room. In order to use the iPad or iPhone in your hotel room, you may buy an AirPort Express from Apple to convert the internet access from the cable modem to wireless. Your iPhone can roam to China but data roaming could be expensive. For the most part, you will be very busy on your China Spree tour and you may not have much time to browse the internet.

Does the hotel in China have a hair dryer, adaptor and converter?
Hair dryers are readily available in your hotel room. Adapters and converters are available at housekeeping, but may be limited in number. If you require a power adapter or converter at every hotel, we suggest that you bring your own unit with you.

Can I rent a cell phone to use in China?
Both Blackberry and iPhone can roam to China, but data roaming could be expensive. Check with your phone carrier for their special international roaming plan. You may also buy a SIM card in China to use on your cell phone if your phone is unlocked. You may also get an unlocked tri-band (multi-band) mobile phone from the States (Canada), and buy a local SIM card as soon as you 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.

My China Tour is paid in full. When can 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. For our “Special” tours (except for The Mighty Yangtze), you will be emailed the documents within two weeks prior to departure.

I received my travel documents but cannot locate all airline segments, did I miss anything?
Air tickets for some of the China internal flights may be issued in China and will be given to you by your China tour guides.

 
 
On the Trip

Who will take care of us while we are on a China Spree Tour?
We use a 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 Spree National Guide (a Chinese national) will be assigned to accompany the group throughout mainland China, supervising the work performed by local agencies and smoothing over any possible difficulties along the trip.

Your National Guide is a licensed professional who will give you personal care and is accessible 24 hours a day throughout your trip in mainland China. For tours in Hong Kong you only have a Hong Kong local guide. For your convenience, your National guide will give his/her cell phone number to you at the beginning of your China tour.

In addition to your national guide, a local guide is assigned in each destination to provide in-depth tour services to you and offer assistance on local tour arrangements. Sometimes, your National Guide may also act as your local guide in the city where he/she is from, provided he/she has a local tour guide license and is eligible to do so.

If the group size is under 10, the tour will be locally guided, from arrival to departure, with a local guide in each destination area or city. Your local guide will offer professional services of local tour arrangements and will be at your service while you are in his/her city, taking care of your accommodation, sightseeing tours, meals, transportation and transfers. Your local guide will assist you with airport check-in at the conclusion of your local tour, and see you safely take off before he/she can go home. You will be flying on your own from city to city. Most airports in China are newly built, equipped with modern facilities with instructions in both Chinese and English including the airline boarding notice. You should have no confusion or difficulty during transit from city to city without an accompanying tour guide.

From time to time, our staff in the North American office may contact our customers while they are in China to ensure their China tour is progressing smoothly and satisfactorily.

China Spree tour guides are well trained and service oriented, and we strive to hire only the best. We know the success of your China trip largely depends on the quality of your tour guides.

What time do China Spree tours start and end everyday?
China Spree tours have more included features than any other tours and we keep you busy! Your travel day usually starts with a wake-up call arranged by your tour guide. Buffet breakfast is ready at 6:30 am or 7 am. Your tour starts about 8:30 am — 9 am depending on the tour schedule and local traffic conditions. Occasionally, you may have to rise earlier because of the flight schedule.

Do you offer optional tour excursions?
China Spree's inclusive travel packages have more included features than any competitor. Because we know you may visit China only once, we have featured a full schedule on our tours—from about 8:30 am to 7:30 pm on most days. However, we do have flexibility and offer optional features for those dynamic customers who would like to explore even more in the off hours. For instance, you may choose to see "Face-changing Opera" at Chengdu (Available to 16-Day Best of China & Hong Kong and 15-Day The Mighty Yangtze), or "Impression West Lake" (available to 12-Day The Middle Kingdom) at additional expense. You may also opt to experience a traditional Chinese full body massage or foot reflexology massage, as well.

We have included these evening shows and features as optional 'extras' for those travelers who want to expand their travel experience in China beyond what's included in your tour package. Please note that some of these evening shows may depend on the weather. The list of our optional features will be available in the packet to you before you leave, and you may pay directly to your tour guides while in China.

How can my family get hold of me while I am in China?

We will provide you the hotel contact information, including phone, fax and address in both English and Chinese, before you leave on your China trip. Meanwhile, the contact phone of our China office and the cell phone of our China manager will be available to you in case of emergency.

Your National guide will give you his/her cell phone number at the beginning of your China trip. Local guides along the trip will give you their cell phone numbers as well. In case of emergency, your relatives in the U.S. can contact the hotel to get hold of you, or call China Spree for assistance. They may even call our China manager or your tour guides if it is urgent. You may also email China Spree at info@worldspree.com and we will respond to you within 48 business hours. Staying connected is our priority.

In which language are China Spree tours operated?
China Spree customers are Americans and Canadians, so English is our official language on China Spree tours. All China Spree tour guides are university or college graduates and speak good English. English communication skills are one of the key criteria to choose and evaluate our tour guides.

Can China Spree tour be operated in Spanish or French?
Yes, only if you have a private group with a minimum of 10 Spanish or French speaking travelers. China Spree can arrange for a Spanish or French speaking tour guide for your private tour.

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

Do we have a chance to hold panda cub in Chengdu?
Usually you can hug the baby panda for a photo opportunity at Chengdu's Giant Panda Breeding Center for an additional fee (RMB2000, about USD$350 per person), charged by the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Foundation. But it may vary depending on the physical condition of the panda and the schedule of the panda facility. If it is the main purpose of your trip, please let us know when you book this tour so we can contact the Panda facility on your behalf in advance. We cannot guarantee such requests will be approved.

What are the best buys for a souvenir of our China trip?
China is known as a bargain hunter's paradise. There are marvelous selections of arts and crafts, luxurious silk, embroidered linens, carpets, jade carvings, chops (ink seals), cloisonné, wood-block prints, patent medicines, reproductions of old art, hand-painted snuff bottles, etc. Your experienced China tour guides know where to find the best buys in each city.