In general, most things in China are more affordable than in the U.S. However, International travel is not cheap, so it’s important to know how to save money on your travel expenses in Wuhan city, Hubei Province.
I have visited Wuhan once, but my wife lived there for around half a year. I’ve articulated many of her thoughts on how to save money while visiting there.
Specifically, I’ll be sharing 14 money-saving tips to help you better budget your trip to China!
Note: The Chinese currency is Yuan or Renminbi (RMB/￥), and the American Currency is the United States Dollar (USD/$). Usually $1.00 USD = around ￥6.5 RMB (Yuan).
Wuhan City is the capital of Hubei Province in China. Wuhan is not only the largest city in Hubei Province but also the largest city in Central China.
Wuhan, knоwn аѕ the “Rivеrѕidе Citу,” iѕ lосаtеd at thе heart оf thе Yangtze River. It is соmроѕеd оf thrее tоwnѕ: Hаnkоu, Hаnуаng, and Wuсhаng. All оf thеm hаvе mаnу historical аnd cultural ѕitеѕ.
The elements of tourism include food, housing, traffic, shopping, entertainment, etc. Wuhan is generally cheaper than visiting Beijing and Shanghai in China.
1) Visit Wuhan During the Off-Season.
One of the best ways to save money is to choose to visit Wuhan City, Hubei Province, during the off-season.
You can save money on air tickets and hotels during the off-season.
However, a potential disadvantage of going during the off-season is that the weather is cold. As a result, there will be less green.
One of the famous scenery in Wuhan is the cherry blossoms in Wuhan University. Unfortunately, if you go in winter, you will not be able to enjoy this beautiful scenery.
2) Beware of Chinese Holidays!
Try to avoid traveling during Chinese public holidays! Most locals will go travel with family during major holidays.
The flights and hotels will be more expensive, and the subway, buses, and tourist attractions will be packed with people – in Chinese, we call this 人山人海 (Ren Shan Ren Hai). The direct translation is “people mountain people sea,” but it actually means a huge crowd of people!
You don’t want to share the road with a billion other people.
My wife Shan also told me there is a saying: if you travel during the Chinese public holidays, the only view you can see at a tourist attraction is the backs of many people’s heads. 😆
You can view the Chinese public holiday calendar HERE.
3) Consider Chinese Flight Sites
Sometimes you can purchase cheaper flight tickets on these Chinese-run sites.
My wife Shan was an international student in the USA, so she has a lot of experience purchasing air flight round-trip tickets between the USA and China.
She said that summer and winter breaks are usually considered hot seasons. Additionally, flight tickets will be more expensive because many international students here in the USA will return to China. Many Chinese families will also travel to the United States during these break times.
Shan told me (from her own experiences) that flights from America to China are often around $1,000 round-trip during the hot season.
But for the off-season, you can expect the price to be around $750, which is at least $250 cheaper for a round-trip.
Keep in mind there are frequent sales and amazing discounts! So remember to keep looking and sign up for low-price alerts.
4) Navigate Using Baidu Maps or Gaode Map
Alright… so this is a MUST-know tip before you go to China.
Most of our typical methods to web surfing, navigating, and communicating with one another are BLOCKED in China.
You will not be able to access Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Instagram, Facebook, and so much more.
Instead, you’ll need to use either Chinese websites or apps or find ones that aren’t blocked in China.
Or you can download a VPN, which I will talk about later.
They can be an excellent option if you can understand a little Chinese.
If you cannot read Chinese, then your next best choice is to use Maps.me.
Or you can download a VPN. When you have a VPN, you can access google products or other products blocked in China.
5) Get a Free VPN Trial
As I just mentioned, if you want to access websites and apps that you’re using daily, such as Gmail, Google, Google Maps, Facebook, Gmail, etc.. you’re going to need a VPN.
Just google VPN in China, and you will see tons of options.
If you want to save money, you can take advantage of a free trial.
Also, don’t forget to cancel your subscription when you leave China!
6) Avoid the Worst Places to Exchange Currency
Traveling aboard is exciting, but the country traveled to often does not use U.S. dollars.
Then you will need to do currency exchange. If you can do currency conversions wisely, you might be able to save a lot of money!
Below are five key takeaways from Investopedia. I hope it can help you avoid the worst place to exchange currency.
- Currency exchange shops and kiosks in airports are not the best places to exchange money.
- For the best rates, try a local bank or a bank ATM to make your currency exchanges.
- Check to see if your U.S. bank offers foreign ATM fee refunds for using a foreign ATM.
- Not all currency exchanges charge the same rate.
- Tourists can get ripped off by some businesses, so it is advisable to shop around for a reasonable rate.
7) Understand Payment Methods in China
Many ATMs in China will probably refuse foreign debit cards. So if you need money, you better look for a Bank of China, ICBC, or China Construction Bank ATM. They are the main banks that accept foreign cards.
ATMs in China can be somewhat confusing to use because a lot of them start in Chinese. The good news is there is usually a button to change the language to English.
If you still have problems, go inside the bank and talk to an employee. Some Chinese people can speak simple English. If not, a translator App can be your good friend, haha.
Don’t expect your foreign credit cards to work in China.
In China, locals use Alipay or Wechat pay as payment methods.
Both of these two apps are very easy to use. There is a code at the checkout section. Scan the code in the apps, then confirm your payment.
But remember to always have some cash on hand.
Because Wechat Pay and Alipay are so widely used in China, some stores don’t even accept credit cards.
My wife and I are embarrassed to encounter this situation. Because in the U.S., we use credit cards everywhere we go, which is a huge difference.
8) Find a Place to Stay Within Your Budget
Luckily, the price of hotels in China is lower than in America.
In Wuhan city, Hubei Province, You can find a lovely hotel room as cheap as ￥200, around $35 a night.
American hotels can cost $200 per night and can be pretty old. So finding a very nice hotel in Wuhan at a reasonable price shouldn’t be too difficult.
Sometimes you can find more hotel listings (especially budget listings) on these Chinese-run sites.
AIRBNB can be a good choice, especially if you find a Chinese host who can speak English! There’s a good chance they could give you some sound advice about traveling around Wuhan, Hubei.
9) Save Money on Food in Wuhan
Food is central to Chinese culture and will become one of the most memorable aspects of your trip to China. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Chinese people, like my wife Shan, are not just traveling for tourist attractions but also travel for the delicious local food that is unique to that specific area.
In Wuhan, you can enjoy delicious food at an affordable price, even cheaper than cooking for yourself. The average meal can be as low as $2-$5 per person. And you can eat very well!
You also don’t need to pay tips in China, which can save you money too.
My wife lived in Wuhan for half a year, so here are some of her recommended dishes that are Wuhan special: Hot Dry Noodle (with sesame paste), Doupi (a pan-fried delicacy of glutinous rice and minced meat), Stewed Spare Ribs with Lotus Roots, Joy ball (Wuhan-style fried glutinous rice ball with sesame and brown sugar fillings ) etc.
10) The Cheapest and Fastest Way to Get Around
1. The most convenient: the subway
Wuhan has nine subway lines extending in all directions, which can basically cover all the famous scenic spots in the city. No matter where you want to go, the subway is the most convenient, fast and cheap travel option in the city.
2. The most comprehensive coverage: bus
No matter where you want to go, you can go as long as you choose your destination and plan your route. More importantly, the price is low, and you can see the style and customs of the entire city along the way.
3. The most convenient – take a taxi
Wuhan is a very big city, so be prepared to take a taxi for a long distance, and the price may be higher.
You can download Didi Ride which is “Chinese Uber.”
11) Consider FREE or Cheap Attractions
Tickets for some attractions can be pretty expensive.
Fortunately, Wuhan has tons of cool spots that are entirely free to visit! There are tons of ancient streets, fantastic markets, neighborhoods, and parks that are free or cheap.(free wuhan post link)
12) Students and Seniors’ Discount
Being a Student or Senior has significant money-saving benefits when visiting Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
You can usually expect a 50% discount or even 100% FREE admission for students and seniors in China! So it might save you hundreds of RMB in ticket costs.
Remember, don’t forget your senior ID and/or student ID when you visit an attraction.
13) Bargain Tips in China
My wife told me that locals charge a higher price when they see tourists, especially foreigners. They do this because they think you are rich and don’t understand the Chinese market.
My wife taught me these Chinese bargaining tips:
- No matter how much you like the product, don’t show it! Instead, tell the seller your ideal price but a little lower. If the seller disagrees, you say no and start to leave. Most of the time, the seller will give you a lower price when they see you are leaving.
- Shop around; there are a lot of shops selling similar souvenirs in Beijing. If one shop doesn’t work out, check out other shops to find the same thing or something similar.
Remember, bargaining is the Chinese way! Don’t be shy to negotiate a lower price.
14) Beware of Scammers
Be careful with your backpacks and wallets because there are many people around, including thieves.
Especially be mindful to keep your essential identity documents in an extra safe. It is very troublesome to lose them abroad.
Besides that, be careful of scammers. There will be scammers who will come and talk to you. No matter how good it sounds, know they are trying to trick you.
Be careful not to be deceived.
I hope this article can help make your trip fun while saving time, effort, and money.
Last but not least, if you don’t speak Chinese, remember to download a translator. Although translators can sometimes translate strangely, it will undoubtedly help.
Using the tips in this article, you can visit this fantastic city of Wuhan and save lots of money!
If you have any questions, please comment below and ask us!
We hope the information in this article provides valuable insights to every reader but we, the Biesingers, are not financial advisors. When making your personal finance decisions, research multiple sources and/or receive advice from a licensed professional. As always, we wish you the best in your pursuit of financial independence!