* If you are a student, were, will be, can be...get yourself an international student card! almost all entrances are 50% of the price (ask for a "xuesheng" ticket).
* Almost nothing in China is labeled in English, not even at main tourist sites. If you want to know what you are looking at you should probably read about it beforehand or get yourself a guide.
* If you want a guide, generally it is better to get yourself one after you enter the site and not outside the gates where prices are inflated.
* Acquaint yourself with the characters for the directions (north, east, south, west). They are often found on street signs but only in Chinese. Ditto for the characters of male and female, so you know which toilet to go to.
* Learn the numbers, and more importantly the hand signals for the numbers; this is a must for bargaining and you must bargain.
* Get someone at your hotel to write for you in Chinese characters where you want to go. Then it will be easy to show this to taxis and bus drivers, especially when you move southward and the dialects are hard to understand.