Getting your tired, dazed, jet-lagged self, and all of your luggage, out of the airport: If you are staying at a hotel after arriving in Beijing, let's hope you've picked one that offers an airport shuttle service. We like the Citic Hotel Beijing Airport. Otherwise your first interaction with Chinese commerce will be an inflated taxi ride at the airport. Look for the taxi stand and don't go with the people lying in wait at the arrivals gate offering you a taxi. There is a rail service that connects with the subway service, for the adventurous. But I for one wouldn't take a large suitcase onto the Beijing subway system during rush hour.
Tips -- speaking of tips -- in Beijing and Shanghai and in the most Western-oriented hotels, we tip the bellboy and the chambermaid just as we would at home. But the local taxi drivers (here in a city in the middle of Shandong Province) are absolutely flummoxed when we try to tip them. And we do, especially if they have driven us out to our campus at night, because it's a long drive back into town with little prospect of picking up a fare. We don't tip at restaurants or at budget hotels. I've never noticed a tip jar at a coffee bar, either. So, no need to tip outside the major metropolitan centers or major tourist places.
Bring RMB. Get some Chinese currency before you arrive. I had been assured that my four digit PIN debit card from my credit union would work anywhere in China. Well, it didn't. I tried lots of ATM machines that couldn't cope with it and I couldn't access my Canadian bank account. China has a six digit PIN system. I finally found a machine that would give me some money, but not until I had had to borrow money from a colleague before payday.
The QQ penguin mascot sure reminds me of the M&M Meats mascot....