which travel agency for a trip to china

Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:09 AM
  #1  
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which travel agency for a trip to china

hi, 10-12 of us are planning for china trip in sept for 12 days. we like private tour.any body used travelchinaguide.com?.they seem atleast $500 cheaper compared to american agents.we are from chicago.if there are satisfied customers we can save money....thanks
chilakapati is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:13 AM
  #2  
 
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We were very pleased with China Focus. Their office is in San Francisco. But it's a group tour.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:47 AM
  #3  
 
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Before booking any tour of China, whether with a US or in-country outfit, please read PeterN_H's posts on this thread: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ritz-tours.cfm

travelchinaguide.com is particularly given to spamming message boards. In fact, until I checked your profile I thought this post might be more spam.

Where do you want to go? The standard east coast cities visited on most tours are very doable on your own. If you want a tour instead, what is your budget? I have a friend who was happy with Pacific Delight. With that many people I would be inclined to go with a FIT outfit for a customized tour - if I had the money I'd look at Asia Transpacific.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 05:26 AM
  #4  
 
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Suggest you contact China Plus (located in Texas and owned and run by Chris and Ling Ping). They can probably arange a customized tour for only your group at a re4asonable and competitive rate.
JerryS is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 05:48 PM
  #5  
 
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It's probably worth noting that almost any China tour operator can offer a 'customized' tour but that 'reasonable and competitive' rates tend only to appear to be so from a distance and from a developed nation's idea of pricing, and before hidden extras are calculated. China Plus recommends bringing US dollars for use as tips, and rather a large quantity of them. This is daylight robbery and abuse of their clients.

It's also worth noting that most China travel companies are using the same very limited selection of ground handlers to run the trip within China, and there can be very little difference indeed between tours. When the ground handlers sell to foreign tour operators (be they 'american' or anywhere else) the latter simply bolt on a percentage to cover their own overheads and profit. The only benefit from paying the extra sum is that you can apply home country trading laws if anything goes wrong. If a Chinese company fails to perform there's next to zero chance of any compensation or refund.

The key questions to ask any travel company you are thinking of using for China are (in addition to those about group size, age range, etc., that you would ask any company):

How many shopping stops will there be? (You want to avoid these as you will be massively overcharged.)

What is the tipping policy? (There's shouldn't even be one. There's no tipping in China and advising you to pay so many dollars per day--stratospheric sums in terms of local incomes--is merely cheating you.)

Will there be a foreign tour director accompanying the group all the way? (Tends to help avoid shenanigans when in China).

In general the large Chinese tour operators are to be avoided as they are all running the same scams. There may be an honest one, but I have yet to come across it. The mass market foreign operators are often little better, since they simply purchase their ground handling services from the same people, and slap their name and a mark-up on it. In general the best tours are those run by truly specialist foreign-run companies, with a China expert accompanying the trip the whole way (which also means that there's some truth in the cultural and historical narrative supplied, free of the propaganda pumped out by the Chinese companies/guides). Shopping stops are limited or non-existent, and tipping avoided altogether or kept truly optional using a kitty system and managed carefully at levels relevant to the local economy by the tour manager.

If saving money really is the point, it's a lot cheaper to travel independently than to travel with any tour company to China. But if a fully escorted tour is required, it pays to ask a lot of questions before sending in your deposit.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #6  
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thank you for all those replied.thanks peter for the insight.i am doing my due delligence.
i need help about yangtzie cruise.is the vessel important.which are the days best vessels leave?....thank you
chilakapati is offline  
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