How much money should we bring?

Your site is wonderful and gets better the more I read. :) We have about 10-12 days for our China trip at the end of June/beginning of July. We are a family of 4 and we want to see and do as much as we can but we are also probably average spenders nothing too extravagant as far as eating, etc.

Can you give me some idea of about how much money is needed for an average trip of two weeks? I know it all depends on personal spending, but for hotel we will use a credit card I am sure, but for all else I would imagine we would pay in local currency.

I guess I just want to have an idea of costs of entering the zoo, a boat ride, or a museum. Are things comparable to the United States as far as cost? Thanks again so much for your wealth of information and your wisdom.

J.K. from California

How much money to bring? China is considerably cheaper than the U.S., Shanghai is probably the most expensive city. Boat rides, entrance fees, etc, are reasonable, allow on average $5 each per activity, some will be less, some a bit more. For example, entrance to the Beijing Zoo was about US$2, to the Forbidden City US$8, the Terracotta Warriors were a bit more US$12, the boat ride to the Summer Palace less than a dollar, renting bikes at the Xian Wall about $2 each.

For food, with $3 - $4 per person you will eat really well, with $5 per meal you will eat like kings, except in Shanghai, there is everything here, like in California, there is a great variety of food... and prices.

Regarding transportation, taxis are inexpensive, metro and buses even more. A single ride in the Shanghai Metro for example is only a few cents (Rmb3-8) Here's more on transportation in the cities.

So I still haven't answered your question of how much money to bring. The easiest answer is, there are ATM's everywhere, specially at airports and train stations, so there is no need to bring too much cash. You can always make a stop at the ATM if you are running low.

When exchanging money, the rates at the hotels, banks, etc are all the same, but you get a slightly better exchange rate with traveler cheques rather than cash.

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