The difficulty in getting bus, train and plane tickets during Spring Festival has forced many expatriates to avoid - or at least try to avoid - domestic travel.
"Traveling in China during Spring Festival - no way," says Australian Dave MacDougall.
"There's no guarantee of getting tickets, and the last thing I want is to get stranded somewhere," says the English teacher, who has lived in China for two years.
Since he doesn't have enough money to go abroad during the Spring Festival holiday, MacDougall says he will stay home "to enjoy all that Beijing has to offer but I can't usually enjoy because I'm busy with work".
Daniel Vander Have, brand manager of Jebsen & Co (China), too, will avoid traveling within China. The dual - American and Dutch - citizenship holder plans to visit the Philippines.
"There are so many travelers in China the main thing for me is to go abroad, but not too far, somewhere still in Asia," says Vander Have.
American Paul Cokeley would like to travel. But he says he will wait for three weeks because the rush would start waning by then.
"I would prefer to travel by train, but I know train tickets are probably the hardest to get," the university business instructor says. "I wouldn't normally fly, but flights are probably the only ones for which tickets could be got."
Cokeley says he has not yet chosen a destination, but it would depend largely on the places he could get tickets to.
Corbett Wall, another American, says arranging his trip "was a pain". A change in his work schedule forced him to book a one-way air ticket back to Shanghai from Taiwan, where he would celebrate the holiday with his wife's family, in addition to his roundtrip ticket.
The China director of Jade Dragon Development had an assistant spend an entire day on the phone trying to sort out the switch. In the end, the additional one-way ticket cost only 400 yuan less than the 4,000-yuan roundtrip ticket.
"But this particular trip has special meaning to us, because it'll be our last Chinese New Year in Taiwan," says Wall, who lived on the island for 20 years before relocating to Shanghai two years ago.
(China Daily January 20, 2009)