Last updated on August 19th, 2023 at 12:20 am
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For most people, visiting Hong Kong is an international vacation. Flying overseas means there’s a lot you need to consider before getting on the actual plane.
This blog post is a step-by-step process to ensure you have a smooth time planning all the details you need for your trip to Hong Kong.
Let’s get started!
1) Check Visa Requirements
Does your country’s passport need a visa to go to Hong Kong? U.S. and Canadian citizens don’t need a visa and can stay up to several months in the city but other countries have different visa requirements.
Before planning a trip to Hong Kong, you need to be clear on whether or not you need a visa to come to this Chinese city at all.
It would be a big whoopsie if you land without having one in place, not to mention a lot of trouble.
If you find out you do need a visa, keep in mind that visa approvals can take weeks or even months to apply.
2) Check Your Passport
The first step might not be for everyone. Many countries don’t need a visa to come to Hong Kong but the second step is something everyone needs to do.
Check your passport for the expiry date. In general, people don’t recommend travelling outside their country within 6 months of their passport expiring.
Just like a visa, it can take time to apply and get a new passport. Make sure there’s plenty of time left before your passport expires.
If you’re cutting it really close to the expiry date, you can take a chance and still fly overseas. Do bear in mind that if you apply for your country’s passport in Hong Kong, there are probably more steps to take. It would be more troublesome so save yourself the time and get a new passport in your own country.
3) Planning Time Off Work
As adults who have full-time jobs, taking time off requires planning in advance.
Depending on how long you stay in Hong Kong, you might need to hand over your work to a colleague during the time you’re not in the office.
This might take time to train them and also for your boss to approve of your holidays.
Also, you probably want to take advantage of a long weekend so you can get more time in the city without using up your vacation days. However, this does mean you need to submit your vacation request earlier. Your colleagues would likely have the same idea as you.
Your manager will see who asks for a vacation first and is likely to approve because not everyone on the team can take time off at the same time. It’s going to be a race test so don’t wait too long to take this step.
4) Look at Flights
Depending on when you come to Hong Kong, flights can get quite expensive.
If price is your priority, then you’ll want to be flexible with dates as the summer and long weekends are the time when the ticket prices are much higher.
Try a bunch of websites to compare prices as well as different airlines.
Do you have credit card points to exchange for a flight? Use them to save some money on flights.
5) Book Hotel
Other than your plane ticket, where you will be staying is the second most important thing to figure out when you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong.
Do some research to decide which area is more your vibe.
For the shopping districts, it’s going to be Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, or Causeway Bay. For fancier hotels, most of them are going to be in Central or Admiralty as they are the financial districts of the city.
If you prefer quieter areas, these might not be the places you want to stay at.
Thankfully, Hong Kong has hundreds, if not, thousands of hotels in the city for you to choose from for all sorts of budgets.
Something else important to keep in mind that is Hong Kong is pretty expensive when it comes to accommodation. The space is also smaller than some other Chinese cities so don’t be too surprised about the size of your hotel room unless you’re willing to pay up.
6) Travel Insurance
Do you have travel insurance? For in case something happens to you when you’re overseas? It’s something you might want to consider buying.
7) What Kind of Trip Do You Want?
Although Hong Kong is known for its shopping and eating, it’s not all about that. There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your time here.
Are you going to HK solo? With family? Friends? Kids?
Depending on who you go with, your itinerary in Hong Kong is going to vary.
Their schedule is not going to be the same as someone who wants to spend more time outdoors in Hong Kong like taking hikes and going to the beach.
You don’t need to plan your schedule down to the hour but it’s important to generally know how you want to spend your time here because you need to budget for it, which we’ll talk about in the next step.
8) Think About Your Budget
Now that you’ve figured out your flight, accommodation, and a rough idea of what your trip entails, you now need your budget for the city.
There are three major areas that you need to consider.
HK has great public transportation. It’s one of the places where you don’t need to drive at all. The public transportation here is affordable, convenient, and efficient. All you need is a contactless transportation card to hop around the city.
Even taking a cab in Hong Kong is cheaper than a lot of other regions in the world. So allocating your budget for transportation shouldn’t be too much unless you’re taking cabs every single time you’re going from one place to another.
When it comes to dining out in Hong Kong, there are a lot of things to eat for all kinds of budgets. There are street food, food courts, and HK cafes for those who don’t want to spend as much money on food. There are also luxury restaurants all over the city for tourists that are willing to splurge.
How much shopping will you do here? In the previous step, you figured out what kind of trip you want. Those who want to spend more time outdoors aren’t going to need as much money as someone who wants to shop till they drop in Hong Kong.
But you’ll probably buy at least a few things here and you’ll for sure be satisfied with the shopping culture.
What do you want to buy here?
Do you need to set aside some money to buy souvenirs?
Korean beauty products?
Whatever it is you want to buy, Hong Kong will have it. Just make sure you have enough money for it.
9) Exchange Cash
After planning your budget to know approximately how much you’ll spend on your trip, go to your nearest bank or currency exchange shop to exchange Hong Kong Dollars.
Hong Kong is still a cash-heavy society so it’s best to always have some cash on you. Although most stores accept other forms of payment, some stores (and cabs) only accept cash and nothing else.
10) Learning Cantonese
This step is optional but it’s an important one.
Learning simple phrases in Cantonese will make you feel closer to the culture. Hong Kongers will also deeply appreciate how you took time and effort to learn their language.
A mundane interaction can turn into a positive one once they hear you speaking Cantonese. They will be more than happy to communicate with you and you can connect more with locals!
As the time gets closer for you to board your flight, it’s time to think about what to pack.
What are your must-haves on a trip?
Is there anything you need to buy before leaving?
One tip is to buy the travel-size version of your toiletries. If you bring your full-sized bottles of skincare products, they can take up a lot of space. It’s better to bring fewer things to Hong Kong so you have more luggage space for shopping in the city.
12) Buy a SIM Card
Does your current phone plan in your home country allow using data overseas? If not, you might want to buy a temporary SIM card when you land in Hong Kong.
It’s frustrating going to a new city and figuring out where things are without data or WIFI. There is WIFI in a lot of places in Hong Kong but the connection can be spotty. Also, not all places have WIFI so buy a SIM card at a convenience store like 7/11 with a data plan when you arrive in the city.
Having mobile data means you have access to Google Maps. Following the directions on Google Maps can save you a lot of time as opposed to asking people on the streets or guessing which way to go.
Final Thoughts – Planning a Trip to Hong Kong
There are lots to think about when you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong. That’s why I created this easy-to-understand and follow checklist.
It’s a detailed breakdown of telling you what you need to consider for your vacation so you can fully enjoy your time in HK when you’re here!
Now to You – Planning a Trip to Hong Kong
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