5 reasons to travel during Chinese New Year

You don’t feel like spending on airfare and hotels. It’s exhausting to have to pack, schedule and plan. Everyone’s thinking of travelling. You just want to be with family and friends at home.

Sounds familiar? These may only be a few of the reasons why you choose not to travel overseas for Chinese New Year.

But there are pros and perks to going on vacation this season. Why not consider some of them?

1.  Revel in being a tourist
Yes, many shops and restaurants in China – and in cities with Chinese populations – may be closed for the first three days of the New Year. But most tourist sites and attractions – like the Forbidden City in Beijing or Hong Kong Disneyland – often remain open. (You just have to prepare yourself for a crowd.)

2. Everything’s bright and pretty
Cities in China celebrate the Lunar New Year in a big way – which means they’re lively, congested and brimming with energy. You’ll see plenty of decorations, rituals and local customs like temple fairs, dragon and lion dances, and the traditional Niuyangge dance in northern China that you won’t see any other time of the year. And there’ll be plenty of fireworks and firecracker displays to enjoy.

3. Lots of food and treats
Expect delicious Chinese New Year snacks that are unique and special this time of the year. Each city could offer a variety you won’t find at home.

4. Pick a new place
Instead of going to big cities like Beijing or Shanghai, head to rural, off-the-beaten-path destinations like Sanjiang. The picturesque forest county is located north of Guangxi.

5. Think about the deals

While airfare and hotels in China and many parts of Southeast Asia could be costly during Chinese New Year, the US and Europe are experiencing winter – hence a low or off-peak season for domestic travel.

Chinese New Year is also a good time to get good deals on plane tickets and accommodations in places like New York, Canada, Norway, Amsterdam, Spain, Israel or even Antarctica. And it is still possible to find cheaper flights and accommodations to destinations in Nepal, Thailand and Australia in February compared to other months.

Just remember:

• Trains are almost always crowded, so avoid them. Your best bet will be to rent a car.
• Make flight and hotel reservations in advance.
• If you want to catch the festivals, street fairs and celebrations, find out the dates, times and locations beforehand.
• Chinese New Year falls during China’s cold months, so bring plenty of warm clothing.