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I'm traveling to Shanghai from New York (JFK) over the last few weeks of January, most likely during Chinese New Year. Ideally I would like to avoid crowds as well as buy flight tickets at a relatively cheap price.

Are there particular times (eg days of the week) I should avoid?

  • Are you looking to stay only in Shanghai? Are you concerned about the cost of the flight or rather the cost of staying (food, hotels, ...)? What type of program have you planned for yourself? Where are you traveling from? – mts Nov 6 '16 at 20:59
  • Traveling from JFK, mostly concerned as to cost of flight. – jps Nov 6 '16 at 21:02
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    I'll put in a full answer later but for the flight check the possible dates yourself and try to avoid the peak time of Chinese travellers, i.e. don't fly out of Shanghai at the onset of CNY or into Shanghai towards the end of it when tourists come back. Shanghai is mostly empty during that week regarding shops, restaurants and party, many places closed, but I cannot say so for more touristic places. CNY eve is one loud fireworks lasting all night, bring earplugs! – mts Nov 6 '16 at 21:07
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    @pnuts mostly domestic. Most people leave their workplaces in the cities to head home for the villages they come from, or travel abroad on vacation. Just checked prices and seem fairly stable around USD700 or a bit more for the whole period, not even much of a rise for end of CNY. CNY in China is not much of a spectacle to travel to IMHO. – mts Nov 6 '16 at 21:14
  • @mts CNY is also the currency. Confusing! – phoog Nov 7 '16 at 20:54
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Chinese New Year (CNY) is a major holiday of roughly a week (+ a weekend usually) and traditionally used by the millions of migrant workers in China to come home and visit their families, but also by many to go on a nice vacation abroad. Travel during this period can often be crowded as ...
So without any further input you will want to avoid to travel out of China at the onset of CNY or nor want to travel to China right when CNY ends. From Chinahighlights:

Most people will return to work on Sunday February 3 or Monday February 4 in 2017.

That being said it seems you are lucky as airfare from JFK to PVG looks pretty much normal around USD 700 right now over the whole period with only a slight increase around the end of CNY. Just choose your dates based on the prices you find in flight search.

Then be aware that many places (restaurants, bars and shops) in Shanghai will be closed for the holidays. I am not sure for tourist activities. Also expect mind-numbing fireworks for hours without end on CNY eve.

  • @pnuts regarding my re-tag? I re-added [china] since my A refers much to traveling during CNY in general and I found [jfk] pretty much irrelevant, but feel free to revert. – mts Nov 8 '16 at 17:18

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