1. Paperwork and visas
You're not going to get very far without the proper documents and visa. These will be one of the first things you want to get in order when planning your trip.
There are sites online that allow you to get your travel visa for Vietnam through cyberspace, which is much more convenient than making a trip to your local Vietnamese embassy or consulate.
You'll need to provide personal information and pay the fee attached to the service. Sites such as Vietnam visa pro will help you get your visa and paperwork in line before you travel.
It'll save a lot of time and hassle to have this paperwork prior to ever stepping into Vietnam. It's always smart to make an extra copy that you carry in a separate bag just in case.
Officials are going to want to see a couple pictures and photo id, travel documents and visas while you're traveling so make sure you have them. Also remember to bring 25USD or the equivalent in VND for the Visa Stamping Fee.
One of the fastest ways to ruin a vacation is getting sick and there's lots of opportunity for that when you're traveling to another country.
There are some vaccines you should get before leaving for your dream vacation in Vietnam.
Make sure you have all your regular vaccines in order before any trip. This would be vaccines such as MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, the varicella vaccine, polio and your yearly shots for flu, pneumonia, etc.
Before heading to Vietnam you'll want to consult a medical professional about vaccines such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid as both can be contracted through contaminated water or food.
You may wish to bring medications to prevent malaria, although many forgo this, as malaria isn’t too common, and the side-effects from the medication can be brutal.
If you're staying for an extended period of time or planning on being adventurous while there you may also need protection from Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis B, and Rabies.
If you have diabetes or another condition that requires you to carry needles or other medical supplies it's a good idea to get a letter from your doctor on official letterhead stating what supplies you're carrying with you. Also get them to include a list of what shots you've had so you have proof if questioned.
Travel and health insurance are a wise investment and shouldn't be considered optional. You're going to want to make sure you're covered for any emergencies.
Not having insurance can have devastating financial and long-lasting consequences in the off chance that something does go wrong. You hope you never have to use it, but will regret it if you need it and don't have it.
Many credit cards have some travel insurance options as a perk of using their card. Travel agencies, airlines and insurance companies all offer this protection with various policies and prices.
Ensure you shop around and research the coverage offered so you aren't surprised by some loophole or exclusion included in the fine print.
4. Plan Your Trip Itinerary
Give yourself lots of time and include generous travel time in your itinerary. Vietnam is bigger than many think it is and they don't add time in their day for travel between destinations. This leads to feeling rushed and disappointed because of time constraints.
One of the best travel tips for Vietnam is to have a plan. Decide what you want to see and experience while there and prioritize those activities as you create an itinerary.
Whether you are taking a family vacation, looking for an adventure or there to photograph the breath-taking sights there are tons of things to see and do.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry- Also Be Cautious
Vietnam is a great place for foodies. There are so many flavours and exotic tastes to experience. Some of the most popular dishes to seek after in Vietnam are Bhan mi, Pho, and Bun Cha.
Vietnam is one of the biggest coffee bean exporters in the world and as such you'll find one of the best cups of coffee while traveling here because they keep some of the most flavourful beans for themselves. Their coffee almost has a caramel hint to it and is rich, strong and thick. It's an experience in itself.
Whether you're looking to hike to new heights or laze on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world Vietnam is the perfect place to do it.
5. Pack smart
Your first priority in packing should be making sure you have everything to stay healthy while you're gone. Take extra medications and supplies with you in case there's some change of plans or problem that delays your return home.
A first aid kit, over-the-counter stomach medications, and other supplies may be helpful as well.
You'll definitely want some comfortable and practical footwear. Weather can change dramatically as you travel through the country. While the general climate is hot and humid it depends on the time of year what weather you'll face. At some points, you can go from an area blanketed in snow to sunny hot beach weather in a matter of hours.
You'll want light breathable clothing to stay cool while exploring the country. Cotton doesn't dry quickly in the humidity so you might be more comfortable in other fabrics.
It's good to have some secure way to carry your valuables. In parts of your journey, you may come across a pickpocket or two and as with all traveling it's better to be safe than sorry.
You'll want a camera or at least a cell phone with decent camera to photograph the beauty of the area and document your trip. The sights are indescribable and you'll want to remember the awesome experiences you have.
Trip of Your Dreams
Vietnam can easily be the trip of a lifetime if you plan it out correctly.
For more ideas on what to do and see while exploring this beautiful country check out our blog post on why taking a guided tour may be the best option for you.