One of the major necessities of travel is money management. As it turns out, this can be quite tricky: I was assured by various sources that nearly everyone in China prefers online payments through a thing called wiipay… that no one wants cash.  This turned out not to be quite true. 

Our hotel only accepted, according to their site, payment by a specific card which is very difficult to set up here in the US if you don’t live in California or New York. We were lucky that they did accept Discover as the same, as the companies are linked. But many restaurants and merchants only wanted cash.

The credit/debit card we used automatically gave us the current conversion rate, charged no additional cash advance fees, and also refunded the atm fees. You can find out what your card offers in this vein when you contact your card issuer to let them know you are traveling out of the country–important to do if you don’t want to suddenly find they’ve stopped your card because you are no longer in Omaha where they know you live. You might have to activate specific international usage on your card.

The thing to watch out for is that there is a daily limit on withdrawals, and whatever card you may be using, find out before you go if your card has such a restriction, and carry a back-up card if you can. And never store them in the same place. I wore a lightweight money belt and also carried a purse, dividing the goods between them, never left cash or cards in the hotel. 

Another note of mistaken advice was regarding passports. What we were advised was to make copies of the passport’s main page and the visa page, and carry that, leaving the passports in the hotel safe.  But in China, at least, you must carry the passport with you at all times. You need it to purchase tickets, for instance, for the major sites if you are a senior, and need to prove it. That got me into the zoo for free, and discounts at a couple of the others. I kept mine in the money belt.

In other countries, hotels may require that you leave it with them until you check out. This is sometimes inconvenient–there was a time I checked out of the hotel forgetting to collect it, and had to go back for it. 

Some countries also require you to carry documentation of your current  immunizations, at least when entering the country. Related to this, if you carry prescribed meds, you should keep them in their original, unaltered, labeled containers. China didn’t actually care about that, but Canada does, so tells me my friend in Niagara, Ontario who works with Canada Immigration. 

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