Money for China Trip

We would like some input on the best way to carry money. It seems like every trip we go on we never seem to have enough cash.
We were recently in Israel and even good hotels ran out of money for conversion. We don't use ATM machines but if we have to we will. Even though we were told that there were a lot of ATM's in Israel, it seemed that we were always on the run with our fast paced tour and it was never convenient.
Some people say that Travelers Checks are good and some say they are not. That used to be our gold standard when traveling. I know we can use credit cards but not in the markets, ect..

Is good old Cash the answer?

All input would be appreciated.

Bev & Ed

Ft. Myers, FL

Comments

  • edited August 2014
    Travelers checks are on the way out. Cash is only needed where credit cards are not accepted- that is the easiest solution. ATM's are the way to go for cash because you will generally get the best rate, and only need to get what you'll need for a few days so you are not carrying a big wad of cash. Of course, all this depends on the country. Check the YR&HK archives and I'll bet you will find this question asked and answered- in fact read Sandman's post in this thread you already read!
  • I do have one problem with the recommendations of using an ATM while on a Tauck vacation and that is because you are often in locations where there are none. Even in a big city, you have to physically have the time to go and find one and that can be difficult on a busy tour schedule. We just discussed this issue, the only times we used them was in Italy and also India when our tour guide helped out others on the bus who needed money, stopped the bus, they got out and my husband decided to take the opportunity too___ in fact, it turns out that the other people had their cards rejected but my husband did not. Then while the bus drove on the guide got a taxi to take those people back to the hotel.
    So my caution is first, be sure there are ATMs nearby and also, does the tour allow time for you to actually get to an ATM. We certainly do not rely on them, we divide our cash up between the two of us or leave some in the safe with our passports on the none traveling days. Don't forget that the big advantage of a Tauck tour is that you pay for most of the vacation before you go.you really don't need much cash on most of these trips.
  • We were on this trip in May. Per the advice of our excellent TD, Scott, we mostly exchanged currency at the hotel. Yes, that is normally not a good idea, but the Chinese government is much more involved in setting the rates and you get essentially the same rate at the desk as at the ATM which we also used (off the lobby of the WA in Shanghai). The receipts bear this out.
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