Understanding Travel Budget and Travel Money In China

Travel money in China


China is a colossus of a country. Ancient history, teeming cities, and breathtaking landscapes abound in the land of dragons. As China plays an increasingly prominent role in world affairs, the numbers of Americans traveling there is also steadily rising.  Make your business trip or vacation memorable by stretching your travel budget, prepare your travel money in China ahead of time. For tips and advice on how to spend while in China, read on.


Where should I look for the best exchange rate?

In many cases, local banks and currency vendors offer the lowest rates but they also sometimes tack on annoying transaction fees. So, how do you actually find the best deal?


Doing a quick bit of online research with a web-based comparison tool is a surefire way to come up with the best deal. This equips you with the ability to compare all competitors with just a few clicks.


If you prefer the do-it-yourself method you can check out these banks and currency changes:


8 Things You Should Know About Currency Exchange

To check out our top 8 tips when buying currency, click here


How Much Money Should I Bring to China?

The national currency of China is the Yuan Renminbi (¥). ATMs dot China’s landscape and are easy to find in every major city. However, cash is still preferred in most smaller towns. Prepare a small sum of cash before you arrive and skip any headaches. So, how much should you actually bring?


China can either be very expensive or very cheap depending on your travel style and expectations. Here are some baseline costs.




Low (¥200) Mid (¥200-1000) High (¥1000>)

¥5-40 per night

Regular hotel

¥200-600 per night

Luxury hotel

from ¥600 per night

Street food, markets


Average restaurant meal

¥​80-100 per person

Dinner at fancy restaurant


Bus, train, bicycle hire




Car rental

From ¥700 a day

*All prices are estimated in Chinese Yuan


The Best Card To Use In China

Electronic payments made with Visa and Mastercard are accepted at most well-established businesses in China.


If you like to use your credit while abroad be sure to do some checking ahead of time so you know what fees will come with using it.


International ATM fees tend to add up very quickly. They can be avoided if you load your credit card with some cash and go for direct purchases. This can also help you dodge the high-interest rates that generally go with cash advances, but be aware that by doing this you’re essentially waiving fraud protection.


Plenty of unexpected things can happen to you on your trip to China so be sure to buy some travel insurance before you go.


Using Your Debit Card in China

If you like simplicity you can always choose to use your debit card for ATM withdrawals and direct purchases.


There will still be fees (of course) — mainly to do with international currency conversion and ATM usage, with some cards this can be quite a bit. Compare pricing options before pulling the trigger. Also, be sure to check with your bank and see if they have any partners in China — this can save you in terms of ATM fees.


For the most current tips and advice on how to get your travel money in China, you can speak to one of our The Currency Shop experts today.

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