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Beautiful Red Dragon: Visit China on a Budget

Updated on March 25, 2017
JM Salgado profile image

Travel, food, and nature are some of the most interesting means to learn and be inspired. JM tries to experience the beauty of these ways.

Travel and gain wonderful experiences as well as memories that are all worth keeping. The diverse exchanges in cultures, as well as the beautiful scenery, are the main factors that attract thousands of travelers worldwide.

Asia, with vast geography, offers various unique travel destinations. If you are looking for an interesting country to start off your Asian journey, China is sure to be a great choice. It is a country with a long history, intriguing tradition, and fascinating destinations.

However, even though the idea of travel is engaging, many interested individuals fall back because of financial constraints. With this concern, experienced travelers shed light to budget travels. To visit China on a budget remember these steps to save time, energy, and money.

China's Great Wall is only one of the many destinations worth taking in this country
China's Great Wall is only one of the many destinations worth taking in this country | Source

Plan Ahead

Jumping to an exciting adventure might need more preparation than what most enthusiastic travelers think. The impulse of moving from one country to the next isn't as fun and hassle-free as dreaming. If one is to visit a foreign country on a limited budget, it is best to plan the trip in advance. Keep track of these three important factors: lodging, transportation, and food.

• Lodging

Experienced travelers who visit China on a budget would recommend skipping the big cities and the luxury hotels. Traditional backpackers would choose hostels over hotels. However, others might get a bad impression on this because of the ideas related to a hostel. Especially in countries like China, hostels can be associated as uncomfortable, loud, or even dirty. But in truth, most of the time, these hostels are comparable to 3-star hotels.

They offer good services, and most of the time these hostels have English speaking staff, so communication won’t be too tough. Aside from these, hostels would generally be in historical buildings or even located in an old part of the city. This unique feature adds to the cultural experience. Travelers need only to do some research or even ask locals for an ideal recommendation.

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors | Source

Choose Destinations Wisely

Visiting China may not be complete if a traveler wouldn't be able to see any remarkable sites. There are numerous tourist attractions all over China, but choosing the ones to include in the itinerary can be difficult especially if one has a limited budget.

• Transportation

China is a big country. To make the most out of your time, plan which sites you would want to visit. As you plan, search the means of transportation, entrance fees, or additional expenses required. Famous tourist attractions can get expensive, so see packages or even find other destinations to see. There is a great site, for instance, in visiting the Qin Tomb Terracotta Warriors.

Then opt to travel by train instead of a plane if you are to visit far provinces. This can get almost 75% cheaper than a regular flight. Invest in this opportunity to meet other travelers, and at the same time see the beautiful scenery.

Steamed meat buns (bao) that are tasty but still affordable
Steamed meat buns (bao) that are tasty but still affordable | Source

• Food

When you visit China on a budget, do not forget to allot ample amount for your food. Saving on other expenses would be enough, but do not cut too much from your food allowance. For instance, you can try checking street carts for your budget meal. Try to eat like a local, and go to restaurants that most residents visit. This will give a more authentic taste of the traditional food and the culture.

Money Matters

Having cash is a necessity in China. Remember to keep watch of your money. Take caution especially when you visit crowded tourist areas. Many people who visit China on a budget have to keep track of their expenses well. Withdrawing extra money from the bank can be tempting especially if the cash on hand is limited. Do your best not to give in. The added fees for the exchange rates could be high, but there are some ATMs in China that can offer good exchange rates. Check with your bank first before traveling to be familiar with the fees.

Limit Excess Spending

Sometimes getting a chance to visit a foreign country can bring in a lot of temptations to buy souvenirs or some memorabilia. There are others who might find the local nightlife interesting, but would require shelling out money for the experience. As much as possible, limit these kinds of spending.

If you wish to learn more about the country's culture, you can mingle with locals or other travelers. Share stories with the people you meet on the train or the street cart vendor you meet on the street and the likes. There are many ways to gather memories, you do not necessarily have to pay for those.

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