Helpful Tips from Previous Students
- Withdraw large amounts of money from the ATM at one time to avoid countless transaction charges. Since there is limited availability to use debit/credit card, you spend tons of cash. You WILL spend everything you withdraw! I probably wasted at least $100 USD in transaction charges alone.
- Tipping isn’t customary. The only time we really tipped was in Beijing for our tour guide and driver.
- Always carry an umbrella. An entire day of blue skies is a rarity.
- Make sure to pack lightly before leaving the U.S. Some people packed one suitcase and brought an empty suitcase or left half of one suitcase empty. I, however, left the U.S. with a 48 lb bag and a 46 lb bag when the weight limit is 50 lbs/bag. Needless to say I had to pay $200 for overweight bags on my way back.
- Buy two towels when you get there. Towels are cheap in HK and they take up unnecessary space in your luggage anyway. They can be found at the University Park N Shop by the canteen. Buy two because things get gross quickly due to high humidity.
- Take lots of deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc. These items are difficult to find in normal American brands.
- City Super in Sha-Tin has everything that you forgot/miss, including Dr. Pepper!!
- Split a blow dryer and straightener with other girls on the trip. You will most likely have to buy them when in HK (most of our American blow dryers and straighteners didn’t work and some straighteners were ruined). The blow dryer is most worth it because there's nothing worse than hot and humid weather except having wet hair in hot and humid weather!
- Aim EXCESSIVELY low when extending the first offer in a bargain. You can usually win the bargain with your initial price, if not, you can always go up. For example, a woman told me HKD $1500 for a purse. I told her $300. I paid $375.
- Buy pearls if you can; it’s an incredible deal!!
- Be adventurous! Travel to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) early on just to get a feel of the entirety of Hong Kong. I thought we missed out on a lot in the beginning because we didn't make frequent trips to TST or Central until late in our trip.
- Get a guide book and hit all of the popular sites. Ride the Midlevel Escalators, go to SoHo, go to every market (Ladies, Temple Street, Jade, Stanley, etc.), go to Ocean Park, visit Big Buddha, go to the beach, take a hike, go on a bus tour...the list goes on and on.
- Bring a big bag/purse because you are usually gone all day and anything you buy you will have to carry.
- Bring a water bottle and filter; you'll save money not buying water.
- Bring stuff like cereal bars. The I-house is kind of far from any places for food(and imports are expensive) so you'll want them for breakfast or snacks.
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