Chinese is really hard, especially (for me) the written part. Each person’s brain works in a different way though, and I know people who can easily write and read characters but speak like some bad text-to-speech program.
If you plan a long trip it may be useful to learn a minimum of basic communication skills, useful sentences and stuff like that. In some area of Taiwan the amount of people who can use English is close to 0 and I’d expect China to be the same. When I went to Qingdao I’ve only heard English from hotel staff.
North Chinese accent sounds dreadful, it’s as if they speak with a potato stuck in their mouth. South Chinese accent is more pleasant, and closer to Taiwanese accent. The written language is a bit different, traditional (in Taiwan) vs simplified (in China) Chinese.
If you only want to leArn Chinese for travelling, don’t worry too much about the accent, though