Using a proxy server like www.proxy-center.com is the absolutely easiest alternative but it is slow and usually only works for a short time at a time. The service lets you type in a webaddress and then an external server redirects you to the page you want to visit. This would be the best alternative if all you need is a quick check like for email and social media pages.
If you are surfing from a tablet or smartphone, it is possible to download an app that will set up a VPN server for you. I tried several ones while being in China, but VPN Express was the only free (trial that will work for just a few days) one I got to work. I have heard that there are a few other good alternatives out there like ibVPN and Faceless VPN but these seem like they have to be launched before going into China. Are you willing to pay a little for it, it is also possible to buy apps that will let you get through these firewalls without any restrictions so that you can surf these pages as long as you want. Just as if you were sitting in your favorite couch back at home.