5 tips on travelling in China on a Budget

Independent traveler Agness of ETramping share her extensive tips to traveling China on a Budget.

China is a great destination for both, experienced and inexperienced, budget travellers. It offers amazing natural scenery as well as historical and cultural relics, so the number of foreign travellers visiting China is increasing every year.

How to Travel China on a Budget

The country is growing faster than ever and people are getting richer by the minute, so the prices are rising as well.

how to travel china on a budget

China is still a cheap travel destination, in comparison to most of European countries, but that can change very soon. However, following a few simple tips, you will be able to travel in China for free or next to nothing.

See Also: How to Travel Tokyo on a Budget

Tips for Visiting China on a Budget

1. Teach English

Since the Chinese economy has strengthened greatly and is advancing at breath-taking speed, there is a high demand for English teachers. Whether you are a native speaker of English or not, you can get a teaching job almost everywhere.

china on a budget

Friendly Chinese students you might teach

The school will pay for your transport, food, accommodation and you will also get a decent salary. Thus, you can earn some extra money, save up and keep travelling! Pick up a province where you would like to teach for 1 semester and keep exploring China on the cheap!

2. Learn some Basic Chinese

Once you start speaking some basic Chinese, you will notice how differently people will treat you. There is nothing better for Chinese than hearing a foreigner speak their language.

Traveling china on a budget

You will find Chinese much easier to learn than you think

They will often offer you their house as a place to stay overnight, take you for a lunch, dinner and karaoke show and… they will pay for everything!

3. Visit small provinces, avoid touristy places

With exception of the few big and touristy cities, it's more likely that people will give you something for free than rip you off.

off the beaten path china hiking trails

If you visit off the path provinces such as Hunan, you can live happily paying local prices or not paying at all, because it will be a great honor for Chinese to present foreigner with a gift.


Where to go off the Beaten Track in China

Why You Should Travel Off the Beaten Path in China

4. Travel by trains

Getting a train is the cheapest transport option in China.

You can get standing ticket, hard seat, soft seat or hard sleeper ticket. The standing and sitting tickets cost nearly nothing but they are the least comfortable.

how to travel cheap in china

You can make some friends with Chinese when travelling by trains

Nevertheless, if you are a foreigner and you buy a standing ticket, you will actually never stand as Chinese will not let you. They will often give up their seats for you. Trains are mostly overcrowded, loud and dirty.

Don’t be surprise when you see people smoke, wash their faces, brush their teeth or change their clothes while being on the train. If you can stand it all, then you will pay next to nothing for transport in China!

5. Eat local food

Dining out in Chinese restaurants is cheap, but the street food is much cheaper. For example, the dinner in a restaurant will cost you at least RMB100 ($16), whereas you can have a decent bowl of fried noodles with vegetables from the street for only RMB4, which is less than $0.50.

After 2 weeks of having street meals, you will notice how much you can save on food and you will not believe it!

eat cheap in china

Traditional Chinese dumplings

To sum up, China is a country which can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. There are numerous options for low-budget travel, which give you an opportunity not only to see a lot and have fun, but also to save up money for your further expeditions.

Eat cheap, travel off the path by trains and do some teaching in between and you might leave China with more money than you came with!

Do you have any tips to travel China on a Budget?

For more information and photos from China you can go to ETramping and follow Agness and Cez on their journey around the world for less than $25 a day.

Author Bio:

headshot of Travel BloggerAgness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduating in 2011, left her comfort zone setting off for a journey of a lifetime to China.

She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She has become passionate about photography and adventure blogger, sharing her enthusiasm for life as well as her travel experiences. Follow Agness on Twitter atΒ @Agnesstramp and Facebook.Β 

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