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thursdaysd Oct 20th, 2008 01:57 PM

lollylo - you also need to call your credit card companies. Fraud alerts will block both CC and ATM cards for foreign transactions if you haven't told the companies where you're going.

Nywoman Oct 20th, 2008 04:06 PM

Yesterday I had a lesson in foreign currency transactions in Beijing.
I have brought cash as well as ATM cards. Breaking my own habits, since as a rule I never carry cash when I travel but on this trip I have.

It was a very painful 30 minutes with a lot of back and forth. One of the $100 bills was rejected because it was not brand new, despite watermarks etc.

From now on it is only ATM's for this China traveler, saving the cash for Cambodia where dollar is supposedly king or at least currency used.

lollylo25 Oct 20th, 2008 07:46 PM


I was aware of calling my credit card company before I traveled, but not the ATM cards, don't know why I didn't figure that one out.

I was stuck for 2 days in Israel with no money (due to a very long story and Traveler's Checks) I don't want that to happen ever again!

Lolo12 Oct 21st, 2008 08:47 AM

I recently returned from China and had no problems at all at any ATM machines - I used them in Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai. I know there were very few problems other people had at other cities (Xian and others). In addition, I brought $50 in ones and about $200 in 5s, 10s and 20s. I found I could have used more singles and less 20s.
I always notify my bank ahead of time that I will be using the ATM card. I do the same with my credit card companies. A short phonecall beforehand saves lots of time in hassles should there ever be a problem.
Enjoy your trip - it's a fascinating country.

thursdaysd Oct 21st, 2008 09:01 AM

What on earth were you using the singles for?

Jed Oct 21st, 2008 09:34 AM

For the stuff that is '2 fa dolla'. ;;) ((*))

PeterN_H Oct 21st, 2008 10:11 AM

>For the stuff that is '2 fa dolla'...

...and that would only cost ¥1 each (or nearly seven for a dollar) if paid for in local money. Someone once said on this site (I believe) that US$1 bills were 'so useful for buying Cokes' at tourist sights. The cost of a 'Coke' is ¥2.5 or so; less than one third of the US dollar value at the time, and still less than US$0.50 now.

People who wander round China brandishing foreign currency in the belief that it is in some way superior to the legal currency of that country perhaps deserve all the rip-offs they encounter. And if any vendor is eager to accept US$ you can be quite certain you are being ripped off.

The purpose of taking a few large bills in a major foreign currency (euros, dollars, or sterling usually best) is only for emergency cash exchanges where ATMs fail.

Peter N-H

BabsB Oct 22nd, 2008 07:25 AM

Thank you for all the tips. I appreciate it.

Barb65 - our itinerary is:
Leave Sacramento 10-31-08
Leave Los Angeles 11-1-08
Shanghai 11-2 to 11-4
Beijing 11-4 to 11-7
Xian 11-7 to 11-9
Yangtze 11-9 to 11-13
Guilin 11-13 to 11-15
Hong Kong 11-15 to 11-17
Back to Sacramento 11-18

A typical first timers tour to China and we am going to have a blast!

Jed Oct 22nd, 2008 09:41 AM

Indeed, Peter, I always found that it is best to pay in local currency. At the time we went, the $1 was about 8 yuan which we got at the ATM in the airport, and replenished as needed. ((*))

shelleyk Oct 22nd, 2008 09:44 AM

What a small world. I think we are on the same tour-China and the Yangtze River leaving on 10/31. We are flying out of JFK, so we won't meet until we arrive in Shanghai. If you see someone with an orange Fodor's bag, a souvenir of the recent Boston GTG, it is probably me, although it could be some else as I know the bag is being used by others. Safe travels and if we are on the same tour, looking forward to meeting you.

BabsB Oct 22nd, 2008 11:36 AM


Sure sounds like it. Our tour is with Smartours and the guide is Joy Zhou. I am traveling with my girlfriend and my cousin. How about you? Barb

shelleyk Oct 22nd, 2008 11:55 AM

I am travelling with my husband. See you in Shanghai.

Barb65 Oct 26th, 2008 05:44 PM

Babs and Shelley that is so great you are on same tour! Small world for sure. You leave this week - have a wonderful trip.

Sorry we are going some of the same places but different days. here is our schedule if any one else out there will be in the same places same days - love to have dinner or whatever.

Nov. 6-8 Nanning
Nov. 8-10 Guillin
Nov. 10-11 Yangshuo
Nov. 11-13 Xi'an
Nov. 13-18 Beijing


shelleyk Oct 27th, 2008 05:50 AM

Barb65-Thanks for your good wishes. I hope you have a safe and memorable trip.

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