Advice on travelling to China for the Games

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Those risk-adverse people in insurance have issued these guidelines for Brits (but it applies to others) going to the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Having been in China for a few years, I would have to say that the advice regarding food is not correct. You are more likely to get food poisoning at home, or at a fancy Western style hotel in Beijing than from eating on the street.
Please don't bring your own food from your own country. The food here is bloody good.

Olympic dream or Olympic nightmare?
23 July 2008

With the long-awaited start of the Beijing Olympic games now in less than a fortnight's time and with over half a million international visitors expected in Beijing during the games, esure advises British travellers to prepare properly before they leave and buy suitable travel insurance for their trip.

According to research by esure travel insurance, Brits abroad are forgetting to check vital information before they travel with 15 per cent revealing that they do not look to see whether their passport is valid and 16 per cent do not even check to see whether or not they need a visa.

In order to enter China, Olympic supporters must check their passport has a validity of at least 6 months and a visa must be obtained in advance from the Chinese Embassy in London. If spectators are planning on travelling from mainland China to Hong Kong, they will need a double or multiple entry visa to get back onto the mainland.

esure has compiled some tips for Brits looking to travel to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic games:

Don't forget to buy travel insurance: surprisingly one in four Brits don't take out travel insurance with cancellation cover before they go on holiday but it's crucial to make sure you are covered should the unexpected happen. Cover may be provided if you become ill or get injured whilst you're out in China, are delayed at the airport or end up losing your luggage. Also, make sure you take your insurance documents with you to ensure you have telephone numbers and policy particulars at hand.

Check what's covered: when you book your flights, make sure you buy travel insurance cover with cancellation cover at the same time, to ensure you are covered in case you suddenly fall ill, are not fit to travel or have to cancel. Also read the small print for excesses and pay-out limits.

Think safety first: make sure you check the British foreign and commonwealth office ( for any warnings about travelling to Beijing before you fly.

Get the right vaccinations before you go: According to research by esure travel insurance, alarmingly almost a quarter of holidaymakers admit they don't always get the required jabs before going to an exotic country. But it's crucial to make sure that all of your vaccinations are up to date and that you find out about any other suggested medical advice by visiting your GP. Websites such as are a useful source of information. Some of the recommended vaccinations for Brits travelling to Beijing are:

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travellers to China

Typhoid: For travellers who may eat or drink in local restaurants rather than international and good quality hotels and restaurants

Japanese encephalitis: For those travelling to rural areas, in addition to Beijing

Hepatitis B: Recommended for travellers that extend their trip after the Olympic games for over 3 months

According to a recent poll of 3000 holidaymakers for esure travel insurance a third of British tourists may suffer from diarrhoea, while almost one in five will go down with food poisoning whilst on holiday abroad. That's why esure has compiled some food and drink related tips to help prevent holidaymakers from falling ill whilst abroad:

Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected.
Only buy bottled drinks.
Never order a drink with ice.
Do not eat fruit or vegetables unless peeled or cooked.
Avoid cooked foods that are no longer piping hot. Cooked foods that have been left at room temperature, particularly in hot and humid conditions, are particularly hazardous.
Avoid un-pasteurized milk and any products made from un-pasteurised milk, such as ice cream.
Avoid buying food and beverages from street vendors.
Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.

Mike Pickard, Head of Travel Insurance at esure, said: "A cancelled flight, lost luggage, a serious bout of illness - it wouldn't take much for an Olympic dream trip to turn into a nightmare. It's crucial to take out quality travel insurance cover and follow advice given on health and safety issues whilst in China. Being fully prepared will ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable time at the games."
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