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Travel during Golden Week 2013

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A couple friends and I bought plane tickets to China. It's for September 22 through October 6. October 1-7 is China's Golden Week for the National Day holiday. Obviously, we should have checked the dates better but the price was great and it's water under the bridge now.

I was hoping someone with first hand knowledge could tell me what the situation with Golden Week. I have seen other threads and forums, but I'm unclear on when travel is really feasible. I want to know what days the transit networks are likely to be most congested. Are they busy throughout the entire week? Are they busy in the couple of days before the Oct. 1-7 period? I have traveled in busy periods in other countries, but obviously this is on a different scale.

For an example, a sample itinerary I prepared has us travel from Xi'an to Shanghai on the evening of 9/29 (a Sunday) and go to Hong Kong on 10/3 (a Thursday). Is this even possible? I know things will be crowded in the actual destinations. Nothing can really prevent that now. I just want to hear some advice from the people who've seen it first hand. I do plan to buy hotel rooms in advance. Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.

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