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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Shanghai Money-Saving Tips

Language Barrier

Once you leave your hotel, English becomes less useful, although most shops and larger restaurants can produce a designated English speaker. In tourist-friendly Shanghai, however, you’re seldom too far from the next concierge.

Call for Help

If you get lost or need advice, consult the English-speaking Shanghai Call Center (962288) for addresses, simple translations, and ticket information.


Outside of the pricier tourist establishments, which often levy a 15% service charge, tipping is appreciated but not expected. At some smaller restaurants, waitstaff might chase you down the block with your change.

Don't Buy Bootlegged DVDs

True, they’re cheap, but quality is uneven (Harry Potter in Portuguese, anyone?) and U.S. Customs agents are increasingly targeting copyright infringement.

Hail a Cab

Shanghai cabs are almost uniformly clean and legal. Reject drivers that refuse to use the meter. Before setting out, ask your hotel concierge to write your destination in Chinese.

Use the Metro

Shanghai’s Metro is the seventh longest in the world, inexpensive (4 to 6 yuan for most destinations), and much faster than a taxi during peak traffic or on rainy days. Press the screen for English on ticket vending machines.


Obtain a visa before flying. If entering via a mainland city but subsequently visiting Hong Kong or Macau, you’ll need a multiple-entry visa. Read the instructions at

Try Street Food

Shanghai snacks are generally safe and inexpensive and can reward the adventurous with intriguing or unexpected flavors. Keep an eye out for lines of waiting locals and avoid precooked meat or seafood.

Carry Cash

Although nearly all high-end hotels and restaurants honor international credit cards, most other businesses accept only Chinese currency or domestic cards.

Expect Smoking

Considering that China consumes one-third of the world’s cigarettes, you shouldn’t be surprised to see diners light up before, during, and after a meal.

The Bund by Any Other Name

Locals refer to the Bund as Waitan, which translates roughly as “outer bank.”

Beware So-called "Beverage Agents"

These well-mannered young women will invite you to share a few high-priced drinks, then stick you for the inflated bill.

Cruise Expansion

Shanghai will welcome more than 100 cruise ships in 2008, up from a mere 10 moorings in 2004. The Grand Hall at Shanghai’s International Cruise Terminal is expected to open in April 2008, improving the passage through customs.

Compare Rates to Shanghai

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