My fiancé Sean and I both subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights, a service that sends email alerts about flight deals. We didn’t end up using a flight deal from the service, but the emails helped to spark ideas for traveling and give a baseline on the average flight cost to certain areas. Because I work for a public school, I can only take long vacations over holidays. When we found an affordable flight to Beijing ($100 under the average cost) scheduled over Thanksgiving, we had to jump on it. We added Hong Kong to the itinerary for a few hundred more dollars. We spent $762.65 per person for the flights through JetBlue and its affiliates, Hainan and Hong Kong Airlines, which included two free checked bags and several meals. On the flight back, we ended up having to pay $15 each to sit together since our flight was changed and we didn’t know that we needed to re-assign our seats.
To visit China for more than three days as a U.S. citizen, you need a special visa, which you obtain by visiting the Chinese consulate in New York. Sean’s brother Dan lives in New York and went to pick these visas up for us, which cost $200 per person. The visas allow for multiple entries and last for 10 years; we are already planning a trip back!