Traveling on a Budget in China can Come with Catches.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind to avoid overspending on your time in the Middle Kingdom:
Tip #1. Don’t use cabs where there’s public transportation.
This might seem self-explanatory, but the public transportation system can be elusive if you’re not actively looking for it. Using a handy travel app can help you figure out the system quite easily. I tend to use “Maps” on my phone, but you can find a travel app on the platform of your choice.
Usually when I first were to arrive in Shanghai taking a train, I didn’t know that every train station is integrated with the local subway system. I used to wait in line to take a cab into the city and ended up paying way too much. Cabbies will gouge you. It may take a little more effort to figure out where the entrance to the subway is, but it will be worth it, saving you lots of redbacks (RMB).
Tip #2. Stay out of Shanghai and Beijing
There are so many more interesting places you could go than these two cities, and you’ll save a lot of money by doing so. Shanghai is already essentially a gentrified Western city. It’s even possible to forget you’re in China while you’re there. It’s really not a good representation of the rest of the country and there are foreigners all over the place, handing out their lifestyle magazines and engaging in frivolous pursuits. If you’re going to China, why not really go to China?
Just so you know, staying in Beijing or Shanghai will suck the cash out of your wallet three to four times faster than almost any other place in the country. So if you’re on a budget, don’t dink around for too long in those places. Get your sightseeing wrapped up in a hurry and move along.