Travel Forum

Our Travel Forum was created to provide you with the opportunity to connect with other travelers who share your passion for travel. Sign into "My Account" and you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. Not yet registered? It’s simple to create an account, membership is free, and it only takes a moment to join. Once you do, you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. If you have a specific customer service or quality assurance question, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814. We value the contributions of our travelers. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for participation before you begin.

Author: shermlev

Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

About 28 islands in Caribbean, Mexico, Egypt, Morroco, Spain, England, Wales, Germany, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Italy, Costa Rica, Peru, Gautemala, Belize, San Salvador, Honduras, Venzuela, Panama, China, Thailand, Viet Nam, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Canada. May have left out a few.

Traveler Since: 2002

March 07, 2011

HI, I am going on China Capital tour plus Hong Kong. Any suggestion  on proper amount of cash to bring on trip. Not a big shopper. Anyone run short ? Ballpark figure. A quick reply helpful for those already been there. Thanks 

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 133
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

March 07, 2011

Can't tell you how much $$$ to take to China but can give you a heads-up on debit cards at ATM.  We called our bank to let them know where we would be traveling and to make sure our cards could be used at Chinese ATM's.  They assured us they would work, so we only took $500 to $600.  Well, we tried our debit cards and our credit/debit cards at several ATMs with no luck.  We were panicking...me especially.  I AM A SHOPPER!!!  We were on the China & Yangtze River cruise.  The ATM in the smaller towns would not accept our cards even tho they should have.  Our PD said we'd have to go to a (larger) Bank of China branch in a bigger city.  He was successful in ONE branch to get us some cash.  In Shanghai, my husband went to get a larger amount of cash to last the rest of the trip, tips, etc.  It was unbelievable what he had to go through...not just in translating what he wanted to do...but showing passport, credit cards, license, all ID in wallet and even then he was told he had to go to the MAIN branch of the Bank of China located several blocks away.  It was an awful experience.  We never had trouble in any other country & our bank couldn't explain why China was such a problem.  It has made me paranoid for every trip since!   Our China trip was  WONDERFUL and may rate as our favorite.  Take ALOT of U.S. single dollar bills (in good shape).  You'll need them for tips and also the vendors are relentless.  You may be surprised at all you'll buy.  Of course you will need Chinese $$$ as not everyone takes U.S..  Have a GREAT trip.

Author: redheads2

Joined: 5/16/2010
Posts: 7
Trips Taken: 6
Countries Visited:

Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Spain, Italy, Central America, Hawaii, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Greek Islands, Israel, Canadian Rockies, Mexico, China

Traveler Since: 2000

March 08, 2011

When are you going to China?

Author: shermlev

Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

About 28 islands in Caribbean, Mexico, Egypt, Morroco, Spain, England, Wales, Germany, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Italy, Costa Rica, Peru, Gautemala, Belize, San Salvador, Honduras, Venzuela, Panama, China, Thailand, Viet Nam, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Canada. May have left out a few.

Traveler Since: 2002

March 08, 2011

The information from a past traveller on how much cash to bring was very helpful. I am one to always get money exchanged in states before leaving so I don't have the hassle of looking to find ATM or exchanging in hotel. Hotel safes very helpful. Bringing dollar bills for tips are a good idea but not all places accept them. I have though broken down larger country currency at hotels for smaller bills which works fine. Before leaving foreign country I always look for money exchange booth at airport as rates are always better because China is all bank regulated. I use credit card when I can though to save my cash to deal in more local areas. Hope other travellers will add their input. First hand experience always the best.  Thank you.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

March 08, 2011

I just returned from the China's Cultural Capitals trip, and it was wonderful!!! I hope you get Albert for your Program Director. He is an absolute gem and delight!

Anyway, about money. I took $500 in cash, but could have used more. If you don't shop, you will need less than that for sure, because nearly everything is covered under the cost of the trip except about 3 dinners and a lunch or so on your own. I exchanged for Chinese money at our hotels. It was easier than anywhere else, and the rate is set by the government, so don't think you have to "hunt" for the best rate. BE AWARE that your U.S. money needs to be as crisp and new as possible. They either refuse or are very reluctant to take old money, wrinkled, or with little rips or writing on it. They call that "broken money". I used the ATM at one of my hotels, and did not have a problem getting money at all. The vendors at some of the sites are very aggressive (not in a scary way), and will try to sell you anything. Be wary of what you buy from them. If you are looking for the "real thing", don't buy something from them that is supposed to be silk or jade or something like that. It's not. However, regular scarves and little souveniry things would be okay. Many of the museum shops and factory shops (like the jade one) will take credit cards with no problem. Be sure you have notified your credit card provider back home that you are going to China, so if a charge comes through, they won't reject it for security purposes.

I hope my input has been helpful. Write back if you have any other questions.

Author: aspengal

Joined: 9/1/2010
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

A partial list: Best of Kenya+Tanzania Safari(OAT), Peru(OAT), Canada(GCT), Thailand+Cambodia+Laos(OAT), Morocco(OAT), Egypt+Jordan(GCT), Australia(OAT), China(GCT), Ireland(GCT), Turkey, Tuscany+Amalfi Coast(GCT), Prague, Greece(sailing), the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Mexico (20+ visits), Martinique, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Jamaica (5 visits), Grenada + the Grenadines (w/Windjammer cruise), plus travel within the U.S.

Traveler Since: 1999

March 14, 2011

I was on the China & Yangtze River tour 2 years ago, & had no problems whatsoever using my checking account 'debit' card throughout China & Thailand (post-trip) from our small, western slope Colorado bank (it's a Visa card).  It was never refused.  I would pull out about $60-$75 in cash (US equivalent) approx. every 3-4 days.  Hong Kong is no problem at all using US credit or debit cards (at least, noone in our group had any issues), since it's a big shopping mecca still for both Chinese and Westerners.  I did NOT bring any US$1 or $5 bills for 'tips' - many people on various travel sites I consulted beforehand said most Chinese people (including hotel maids, tour guides, etc) don't want US$ - they would only accept Chinese yuan.  The only issue was getting hold of some 'smaller' denominations of yuan (I always kept my change, & used it as tipping money).

 

Author: bobandjudy1

Joined: 4/29/2010
Posts: 11
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2007

March 20, 2011

Nancy, glad to know you enjoyed your trip recently.  We leave for this trip on 4/1 with the pre-trip to Hong Kong.  Do the hotels provide washcloths?   hair dryers?  What type of converters will we need to use to charge items?  Also did they enforce the strict 11 pound carry on ?   Really trying to cut down on what I take, so that I will feel free to shop if I see anything I just have to have!   Did you mail anything home?  Wondering if that is very expensive.....................looking forward to your reply.  We are very excited about this trip, so any more suggestions are welcome!

Judy

Author: chpiep

Joined: 4/12/2010
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

Canada, Tanzania, Brazil, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos as well as various places in the States including Hawaii. I am interested in a trip to China and a bicycle tour somewhere in Europe.

Traveler Since: 2008

June 26, 2011

I just returned from the China/Tibet tour and once again found the tipping to be the largest budget and hassle item of all OAT trips.  In China it seems you MUST have a local guide for everything you do so just add that to the tips you've set aside for the leader.  We even had the leader, a local guide and then a specific area guide!  AND on the Yaghtze boat a "service fee" was automaitcally charged to your credit card and then envelopes appeared with outstretched hands for additional tips for service to show youre extra appreciation.  I am beginning to seriously question this practice and just wish OAT would pay its staff and eliminate some of the tipping.  You can always get money at ATM's but I dropped a bundle on tips that I wasn't expecting.

Author: uofmich77

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 43
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2005

June 26, 2011

 We spent 22 or 23 days in China in 2008 on GCT's China and the Yangtze. Fabulous trip and we had a wonderful time. We used our Bank of America debit card the whole time and had no problem. I would never carry cash for that length of time. Plus exchanging American dollars would be more difficult than asking the Tour Guide to assist with an ATM. Most of the time we found our own anyway. We only had one problem and that was in one of the airports on an internal flight . Our Guide was very helpful and found an ATM that worked. One problem a lot of people seem to run into is that they don't know their pin numbers. Enjoy your trip. It's a great one.

Author: murphcor

Joined: 1/29/2011
Posts: 9
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2011

June 26, 2011

Hi!  My husband and I are very excited about our upcoming trip to China.  I have dutifuuly been collecting "clean" US dollar bills after reading several of the posts in this travel forum.  However, I recently had an appointment with my Oncologist who happens to be from Beijing and we talked about my upcoming trip.  When I told him about bringing US dollar bills for the vendors, he gave me a very strange look and said, "They don't want US money.  The dollar has been devalued.  Only use Chinese money."  Has anyone been there within the last couple of months and have you used American currency?  Thanks!

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 27, 2011

I think people have to realize that the US dollar is no longer in as much demand elsewhere in the world.  People in the countries we travel in prefer to receive tips/payments in their own currencies.  That's the best reason why you should travel with an ATM card and notify your bank where you will be using it.

Author: dondaro

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 21
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 1999

July 06, 2011

I just returned from the China Culture Capital trip last week . I used ATM machines in Beijing and Shanghai and had no problems. All the machines I used gave the option to make transactions in English. The China Construction Bank is tied in with Bank of America. If you use thier ATMs with a BOA debit card you will get a lower exchange fee. Hope you get Michale as tour direct he was the best.

Author: dondaro

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 21
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 1999

July 06, 2011

The street vendors take both dollars and Chinese currency. You have to bargain for everything except in department stores used by the locals. The knockoff vendors expect you to bargain. They take both currencies

Author: waitman

Joined: 3/26/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2003

November 27, 2011

I would take just enough local currency to cover an unforeseen situation like taking a taxi to the hotel.  The exchange rate is a lot better on that end.  We got about 550 to one at Seatac airport and about 660 to one at Chinese hotels.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 494
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

November 27, 2011

We only brought about $500, about $100 in ones and the rest in twenties. We used very little except for the ones. We used a Bank of China branch ATM  right in the hotel in Beijing and Guilin, and other ones on the street in Xian and Shanghai. I'm not sure which bank it was in Hong Kong. Our program director steered us to the ATMs that would work. The only place in the world, out of about 50 countries, that we had problems with ATMs, other than them being out of money was Israel, where they would have machines on different networks next to each other. The hotels in China were very accomodating changing ATM large bills to smaller denominations. in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, we were able to use US.

Jack

You cannot Post or Reply, please sign in

Rules of Use:
Be Relevant

Please stick to the topic of travel when posting in our Forum. Stay on the relevant topic and do not disrupt a discussion in progress. If you have a specific customer service question or issue, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814.

Be Respectful

Use of any inappropriate language, personal attacks, and hate speech are not permitted. Respect others’ opinions and suggestions.

Be Mindful of Privacy Issues

Please do not post the personal information of other members (full names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc).

Help us help you

Please click on the ‘Report Abuse’ button if you see an inappropriate posting.