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Is it hard to stay on a budget?

Orlando, Florida
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Is it hard to stay on a budget?

I'm traveling to China for a month. I've calculated my total expenses to be around $750 judging by a lot of resources I've read online. I realize sometimes budget trips just aren't practical, but I've also read that China is a pretty easy place to keep expenses to a minimum. Based on your experiences, is it unrealistic?

Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

I am not sure what is included in your $750. Lodging and food at least. How about inter-city travel? You can find cheap housing and cheap food for sure. Some of the attraction entrance fees can be pricy.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

Depending on the allocation of the budget.

That seems a little light for one month.

Write down all the expenses you are expecting:





Entry fees for attractions (if you have to pay for some)


I know it is a long shot and the old saying ""how long is a piece of string"" but you can work out a guide line.

Depends on your taste for food and accommodatione etc.

What month do you plan to travel?

Remember first week of October is National China Holiday, and China is chaos at that time. Cost increases as well.

2nd week October and November are good so is September

Some parts of China are more expensive than others.

Work out your currency into Chinese RMB and then duivide it by the number of days see what it looks like.

Remember to take your credit card and bank card with you as you can then go daily if necessary to the ATM and draw out. You will get a better rate in China than in your own country.

Happy planning.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

About 5 years ago I travelled for 6 weeks on a very tight budget and spent an average of $35 (assume you mean Australian or US $$) per day, not counting the airfare to Beijing or back to the east cost from Kunming where my trip finished. I did not visit Shanghai on that trip. Do you plan to visit quite a few provinces? I don't think you have allowed enough money given the inflation of the past 5 years.

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4. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

That is about 160 yuan per day, very tight budget to survive on. Even a decent meal in an average Chinese restaurant will cost 20 yuan. That means 60 yuan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and some snacks.

100 yuan left for travelling, souvenirs, tickets etc. Doable but very very hard.

Beijing, China
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for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
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5. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

China is not that cheap China any more. Only if you don't enter too many sightseeing spots and travel not much from destination to destination and always stay at youth hostel, your money could perhaps last one month:

A cost of long distance transfer for your reference:

Beijing - Xian is 1200 RMB by air and is 290 RMB by train with hard sleeper.

Beijing-Shanghai is 1280 RMB by air and at least 410 by train.

Xian sights: Tix for TCWs is 150. City Wall is 40.

Beijing sights: Tix for Forbidden City is 60, Mutianyu is 40

Beijing, China
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for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
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6. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

Tix of other main sites:

Panda base: 58

Jiuzhaigou: 220+90 (inner-transfer car)

Humble Administrator's Garden: 70

Tongli: 80

Yugang caves: 150

Longmen caves: 120

Leshan Giant Buddha: 90

Pingyao (no fee as long as you don't enter any tourist spots like city wall): 150

Zhangjiajie: 245

Beijing, China
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7. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

No way--completely unrealistic these days. This is way too light for a month in China. Double it, and even then you will have to be very very tight and selective about where you go and what you see. I'm an experienced resident/traveler in China, and have been on the road for over a month, and even with overland (train and bus) travel and frugal habits, it's more realistic to budget US$50-60 per day average. Some days will be more, some less, depending where you go. Your current budget would be safer for about 2 weeks land cost' inside China.

Lots of outdated budgetary information floating around on China. Things have rocketed up over the last two years.

Edited: 16 July 2012, 06:17
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8. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

No, you will need at least double that for a month.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?


When you say double, it do you mean for spending, not including accommodation?

Tel Aviv, Israel
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10. Re: Is it hard to stay on a budget?

I was in China for 24 days and barely got by on $1200. Added to that I had booked a lot of flights from ctrip and my train journeys from an agency which was not included in that budget. I stayed mainly at hostels. You still have to pay entrance fees to most of the attractions, you still have to eat and presumably you will want to travel around the country a bit. Its cheapish when compared to some places but that amount is totally unrealistic, however frugal you try to be.

good luck