No travelling without some cash.
Especially in China, cash rules. There are not many places that accept credit cards or traveller checks, so at some point or the other you will have to go to an ATM or Bank to get some cash.
If you can avoid it don’t get out any cash at the ATM at the airport. They charge a special fee. If you have to I would just get a smaller amount, enough to get you into the city and then go to a ATM. There are tons of banks around,one will definitely work for you.
Because that is one of the other issues. Usually you won’t have any trouble with the Bank of China, it is very reliable and any card works just fine.
But if you are a bit outside of the city it could be that you just have some more local banks around. Even if they f.e.have the sign indicating that MasterCard works, that is not always the case.
This means I usually travel with two cards, one credit and one debit, from two different programs, let’s say Visa and the weird blue plus logo. That way if one card isn’t working, usually the other one will work.
There are different banks that offer special travel deals, so that you can get money from foreign ATMs without paying the fees, check your country. Because that way you can just get some money out whenever you need it and you don’t have to carry around loads of cash with you. Because there are, as always in big cities, pickpockets around. Which is why you never should keep both of your cards at the same place,too.
When you are looking for a ATM I like to go straight to a bank and not just to take a random one at the road. The ones at the banks have usually little cabins, where you can look the door behind you and the glass is not see-through.
Otherwise the ATMs at the bigger shoppingmall’s are usually quite safe too.
Ohh and the number arrangement can vary depending on the bank. So check out the number pad first, before blindly typing your pin.
Chinese money is called Reminbi, but common slang it would be yuan or kuai, depending on where you are.
There are no bigger coins then 1 Yuan, the big ones, the smaller ones are cents. The rest is all bills. The biggest one being the 100 Yuan Bill, the red one, which would be around 14 Euro, if you are converting. This means you are going to carry loads of big bills with you 😉
Now that you know how and where to get your money, just some rules on how to keep it 😉
1.Carry your bag in front of you or at least have a hand on it.
2.Never have your purse in super easy accessible parts of your bag.
3.Don’t follow random locals to tea houses or restaurants,even if they are so nice and speak very good english, it is a very common scam in Shanghai, you will have to pay a horrendous bill.
4.Always look the door if it is possible when you are getting money from the ATM.
5.If you go out with people from the hostel and they are chinese, usually one person pays the bill, which is usually the rich european traveller.
6. Don’t pay the taxi driver with 100 RMB, some switch your bill with a fake one and will then not accept it. Meaning you just lost 100RMB and you still have to pay.
7. Don’t sit down in clubs, these are reserved areas and they can get very expensive.
8.If a policeman asks you to show him your passbord, ask him to show you his badge first. They are required to, there are some people dressing up as fake police men, to get money from foreigner who forgot their passbords in the hotel.
9.For more information about haggling and scams in China read my other post. I know that it is a bit controversial, but ohh well :Chinese will try to screw you over.