China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Guides With Car & Driver

After 25 years as a Tour Operator to China I understand why people question having a guide with car or van with driver. It sounds expensive. It is about the cost of renting a nice car or van in the U.S. or Europe per day. However you have a professional driver who is insured and a Professional Guide to take you around to the sites where you don't have to worry about parking or finding sites. In 25 years of travel in China I have yet to find a driver who speaks English. They are professional drivers with insurance when booked with a tour. Beware of the independent driver who is moonlighting with his company's car and tries to pick you up at the airport. Their insurance does not cover you. Guides who you meet on the street or by a hotel are also illegals. Qualified guides are registered by the government, have attended guide schools and must carry a certificate of authorization. They also are able to enter any site at no cost. If they are not legal, they can be taken away by the police and you are left. They usually only know where sites are and have little information to share with you. Guides make the tour as they can point out things of interest that you might just walk by and they have the history and background knowledge of the sites. They also work for the tour company who books your hotel, flights and is able to help you 24/7 should you have any problems. You will always be in good hands. Trying to save money in China without knowing the systems often costs more in the end with a great deal of frustrations. Professional Experienced Tour Operators, Guides and Drivers are your safest bet. For more information contact me, ChinaDave, at

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