“I’ll Survive” —Newbie
Hey, first day landed in China and still getting your bearings. Besides your flight attendants who took your dinner and drink orders and your flight captain who saluted in English after a perfect landing, it doesn’t seem like people can understand you more than a simple “Hi.” No worries, we got you, here is your survival kit.
Yes, there is the worldwide miracle—Google translate, but in between picking up your luggage and ordering a taxi, or trying to walk out of the gigantic T-3 (Beijing International Airport), it’s hard to figure out how to connect to a WiFi with VPN then use Google services. Pleco is one of the best Chinese-English dictionaries to use WITHOUT VPN. Life saver. It offers an excess of features including handwriting recognition so you can draw characters (extra fun) you don’t know and voice recognition for those pronunciations that you don’t understand. Pleco saves your recent searches, which means you can always remember that at the awkward moment trying to remember “Thank you” in Chinese.
Here’s your VPN, because guess what, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and even Google are all blocked here. Onavo is free and it’s fast. This app will get you past the firewall and back to showing your China trip off to all your friends (#Wanderlust)
Mask or no mask, that’s a good question. With up to date air quality reports for 16 major cities in China, this app’s mission is to help you “survive & thrive in China.” It’s serious business, but this app is also colorful and funny! With a minimalistic design, Airpocalypse will not only tell you the air quality but also give you daily advice with fun icons.
“Time to have fun”—Settling-in
Now you are well rested and fully recovered from the jet-lag. It’s exciting, because you are ready for an adventure. These apps will help you to get to the right place and order the good things.
For all your foodies out there, this is a holy grail! When you see all the restaurants packed with dinner parties, you can’t help but wonder, what are they eating? And for sure, you want to try them. But what’s stopping you from exploring your gastronomic curiosity? Everything is in Chinese! Waygo is here to rescue you: point the camera and translate the Chinese menu items, it translates the item to English with Chinese pronunciations. This app absolutely adores foodies, have fun ordering!
Uber has come to China too! And it’s just as convenient as when you used it back at home. Taxis are not so easy to get in some cities in China, especially during rush hours. We reckon that this app, with localized car options and Chinese festival surprises, would be a good companion for urbanite travelers. They partner with juice cleanse companies and trendy city events all the time. Free perks available if you follow their social media. Some basic Chinese can be helpful but in general you can get by.
You may have heard, the public bathrooms can be tricky here. Charmin (yes, the toilet paper brand) was thoughtful enough to create this app. You can search for bathrooms based on your location, and filter by specific features such as free, handicap accessible, baby changing table or Sit-or-Squat Rating. Then rate this bathroom yourself: choose “Sit” (you enjoyed the bathroom) or “Squat” (it could be better)!
“HiMom” says, “we guarantee that you will make your parents happy and it just takes 3 minutes and it is free.” Hooked? I am. This app allows you to document your anecdotes and fun China discoveries and send postcards in digital form to your mom and dad. There is always a way to stay close to home while traveling thousand miles away, right?
It’s your third week in China, and you feel very at ease. Why? You had fun and made friends, explored the city and culture, tasted a variety of exotic cuisines, and now you’re ready for the deeper connection, more as a local and less as a tourist.
What you need now is a comprehensive city guide that takes you to all the favored local activities. It means that you are going to mingle and party with the locals, and feel just like home. With over 13,000 listings of good eats, fine wine, and captivating activities in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, you will never be bored in these cities, and sure you won’t feel like a stranger. Bonus, it works offline as well!