I'm going to travel in march 2007 with the transsiberian railway to china. We will travel around in China and then go to Tibet and India. We will travel for 3 and a half month totally.
Can anyone give me some advice about money.
How much money do you normally spend in this time? What kind of money (Russian, Chinese, american)? travellercheques? Has anyone experience with how much money a budget backpacker will spend in this time?
And with how much cash do you advise me to start the trip?
I hope someone can help me
Different countries cost different amounts.
I would recommend, that u take your money, in US dollars or another strong stable currency, like UK sterling, Australian dollars, euros...
To assess what things cost, u could read the lonely planet or on a shoe string guides, for the various countries. They are available in most book shops, around the world, and also come in other languages, besides English.
If u can, bring more money, than u think u will need. Emergency money is always a good thing.
Thanks for your advice.
When I'm travelling in de transsiberian railway and going to St.Petersburg, Moscow,Irkutsk, Mongolia and China.
Can I pay in all those countries with usdollar? Or what else?
I'm afraid if i bring too much money that thieves will get it.
I was thinking about 300 usd in travellercheques and 200 usd in cash.
Do you think it's enough? Or should you give me another advice.
I can't give you any advice on the first part of your trip because I've never done the Transiberian. But once you get to India and Nepal things will be very cheap. 8-10 Euros per day is plenty to get by on in India. In India as well as in China, the easiest way to take your money is with an ATM debit card. If your card has a PLUS or CIRRUS symbol on the back then you will be able to use it internationally in these countries and withdraw the local currency. Credit cards are also good to have because you can withdraw cash at a bank if there are no ATM's. Nowadays, travellers cheques and cash are only needed for emergencies and for the places where ATM's still aren't available. I would take a few hundred in traveller's cheques and maybe only a hundred in cash which you probably won't need but it's good to have just in case. As I said though, I have no idea about Russia and Mongolia.
There is one big problem with bringing foreign cash (USD, EUR) into Russia - you need to declare it. DO NOT LEAVE the airport or the borderpost WITHOUT DECLARING ALL YOUR FOREIGN (non-Russian) CURRENCY. Hang on to that form with your dear life!
This is very important, as Russian officials like to search and confisciate any foreign money that was not declared, especially at the border to China and to Mongolia. It is illegal to take foreign currency out of Russia if you did not bring it with you into Russia.
Most transactions are carried out in Rubles in Russia, so bring a bit with you, but withdraw all you need from ATMs once you are in Russia, as the exchange rate is better. The only places quoting prices in USD are hostels and upmarket souvenier shops. At the souvenier shops you know that you overpay, at the hostels the exchange rate is not in your favour. It is hit and miss whether you will be better off paying in rubles or in USD for your hostel bed - a lot of it depends in what currency you get the first quote.
BTW, how are you going to get the train tickets? Because the cheapest way would be to go to Slovakia and get a City Star Ticket as far as the Mongolian border. It would save you about 30 to 75 percent of the cost of the tickets up to this point.
Personally, if i was carrying 500 US dollars, I would bring it all in cash, and carry it, in a money belt, inside my clothes. Of course there is some risk involved, so dont take this as advise, about what u should do.
I think u should be able to change US dollars, in all the countries u are visiting. Sometimes, in remote places travellers cheques can be difficult or impossible to change. But u can change them in all cities. Some places accept US dollars, in India and China(i was never in Tibet, so dont know), but these are mostly expensive hotels etc.
Whether it is enough money, depends on how much is included, in the package u buy, before u leave. EG what does the trans siberian ticket include? Does it include meals and drinks? And will u be travelling around independently, some of the time. In India u may need 10 to 18 US dollars per day. In China, 15 to 25 US dollars a day.