I’m going on my first escorted tour in May. I’m going to China, which requires a visa (except for the 72/144 hour visa waiver if you continue to a third country). I applied for the visa last Friday at the Chinese consulate in Houston (yes, I was actually in Houston) and picked up my passport with the new visa attached. The process was fairly easy… I attached my itinerary from the tour company and filled in their visa application form with a passport photo. The visa is ready in 4 days. I made sure the application was for a 10 year validity).