With the help of Air Canada, we’re flying halfway around the world to historic Hong Kong! We will be taking in the beautiful city, along with its history, art, music, people, and culture. I personally have never traveled Internationally, and I admit I’m a bit nervous…I mean, who wouldn’t be?!
Here is a roundup of what we are looking forward to, and some things I am a bit cautious about.
Let’s start with getting there!
This airline may have ‘Canada’ in their name, but don’t let that catch you off-guard. They’re headquartered in Canada, and are Canada’s largest airline, but they’re also your best shot between the Canada-US transborder market and international markets from Canada. So West Coasters, you’re in luck! This may be a great option for your next international flight, depending on where you are flying to. Air Canada has a variety of flight options to many international destinations like China, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Australia, and much more.
Upon arriving in Vancouver, we look forward to checking out the Maple Leaf Lounge. We only have a 2 hour layover, but having the opportunity to unwind and avoid that awkward airline crowd is an offer I will take any day! The Maple Leaf Lounge has complimentary food items, magazines and newspaper for reading, hotspot, computer access, printers and even a shower! It will be so nice to relax a bit before getting on our nearly 14 hour flight to Hong Kong.
Flying for any amount of time can be uncomfortable and difficult, but a 14 hour flight…that’s a bit much. Thankfully, we opted in for the Premium Economy upgrade because when you’re on a plane for 14 hours, every little bit counts.
Here are some perks about Premium Economy that we are excited about:
- Free wine and spirits: Being able to have a glass in hand, unwind and sip your anxiety away is by far the best. Wine is known to calm your nerves and free wine is a great perk when flying.
- Premium food: We’ve all had it… we all know it… airplane food just isn’t that good. However, most times when you pay for an upgraded class, you get high quality food. It’s like takeout vs filet mignon.
- Priority check in: One thing I hate the most about flying is waiting. You wait in line to get checked in, you wait in line through TSA, you wait in line to get on the plane; then you wait to get to your destination. It’s a bit much. When you upgrade to Premium Economy you get priority check in. That means avoid standing in line, getting a good spot for your bag and being able to unwind first!
- Complimentary bags: I swear, the price of traveling with luggage has gotten a little crazy these days. Thankfully, Air Canada offers their Premium Economy guests two free checked bags.
Arrival in Hong Kong
We have been to Disneyland California a handful of times and are beyond excited to see what Hong Kong Disneyland holds! It seems to have a very similar setup as Disneyland California, but things will definitely have its culture differences. For example, we are staying at the Disney Explorers Lodge and it is located right off the South China Sea. It boasts a travel-theme and features restaurants offering Cantonese and international cuisine.
Christmas week at Hong Kong Disneyland kicked off this week and we will be arriving a few days after the initial opening of the season, and are thrilled to see how it all comes together! Most of their Christmas events are held on Main Street. Here are some we are looking forward to!
- “We Love Mickey!” Projection Show Birthday Edition
- Make a Holiday Wish with Santa Goofy
- Mickey and Friends Christmastime Ball
- A Magical Twilight Snowfall
- ‘A Holiday Wish-Come-True’ Tree Lighting Ceremony
In addition to the Disney Explorers Lodge, we will be staying at a few different hotels to get the most out of seeing the different areas. Many of these hotels are 4- and 5-star hotels. They seem to be quite expansive and luxurious, but believe it or not, quite affordable. Being a travel blogger we often find ourselves in hotels around the world, some more luxurious than others. We are thrilled to see what differences the hotels in Hong Kong have versus America.
When doing several searches to find the best way to get around Hong Kong, we found that many recommended the Mass Transit Railway, or MTR. However, it shows that depending on where you are going it may take close to 2 hours to get where you need! Especially if you are arriving in the morning during the start of a work day. Public Transit may be the more affordable way, but getting a Taxi could take less than half the time. That seems like it’s worth my money, don’t you?
Hong Kong Dollars
Four days before we left for our trip to Hong Kong, I called my bank hoping to get Hong Kong currency. They said, “oh, it’s ‘premium currency’ and will take about 5 days to get it.” Ugh! So plan ahead, people! Luckily, we found a Currency Exchange International at our local mall, about 30 minutes away and they had some in stock. Apparently Hong Kong Dollars are a lot harder to get your hands on in the US than Euros, or British Pounds.
It’s still a bit crazy to me that I will be on the plane for 14 hours! Our flight leaves Seattle at 9am on Monday, we arrive in Vancouver at 10am and leave Vancouver at noon. When we arrive in Hong Kong, it will be Tuesday evening in Hong Kong! What happened to my day?! We ‘plan’ to arrive at our hotel, have dinner and get some rest, waking refreshed in the morning. Let’s see how that works…
Don’t forget to check out our What To Pack article!
With the outrageous fees cell phone companies offer these days for international roaming, we decided it just wasn’t worth it. We figured most of our family and friends have an Apple iPhone, so we can just iMessage when we are in internet areas, easy enough. I hear that the internet is pretty much everywhere in public places in Hong Kong, down to the MTR, but I also have had numerous problems with connection issues when it comes to free public internet.
Signage and language
Okay, lets be honest here… I know nothing about the Chinese language, and really hope I don’t need to for this trip. I heard that most tourist places in Hong Kong the signs are in both Catonese and English and many hotel workers know English, but I still worry we’ll get stuck somewhere. Thank goodness for the Google Translate app, which may come in handy if we are in a pinch!
All in all, we are beyond excited for our trip to Hong Kong. We have an amazing lineup and will be posting and sharing on social media all along the way. Seeing how China decks out for Christmas will be super cool, especially seeing it at Hong Kong Disneyland!
We all have fears upon traveling, but I know we will be fine. It may be a little difficult at first, and will take some patience and adjusting, but after all that’s what the joy of travel is.
If you want to visit someplace ordinary, then just go to another state; but if you want to explore a whole new culture and see the world; take the risk, feel a little uncomfortable and step out of your boundaries. Life is an adventure, and Hong Kong is a great place to start!