If you’ve chosen Vietnam as your next travel destination, you’ll definitely want to make the most of your trip. After all, it’s not everyday you get to explore the Far East and discover its amazing treasures. But planning a trip is not exactly a walk in the park, especially if you’re heading to a place you’ve never been before and that you know nothing or little about.
If you’ve got limited time on your hands, but you’re not one to cut corners or make compromises, you’ll need a bit of help to get everything right. If you are from another country and planning a road trip in Vietnam then you need to get an IDP on International Driver’s Association.
The last thing you want is to get there and waste precious time because you haven’t done your homework or miss out on the fun because you’re too busy dealing with technicalities. So, we’ve put together a short guide that will help you plan your eastern escape like a pro and enjoy every minute you spend on the Asian continent.
What kind of trip do you envision?
First thing first, before you start researching destinations and looking for flight tickets or accommodation, you have to ask yourself a few important questions that will guide you in the right direction:
- How long do you want to stay?
Are you thinking of a quick escape or do you have a couple of weeks to immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture and lifestyle? The more time you’ll spend in Vietnam, the more you have to plan, but that also means you’ll have more chances to explore. Decide if you’re going to have an unforgettable three-days adventure or a two weeks marathon through Vietnam.
- How much do you plan on spending?
Deciding on the duration of your trip will also help you determine your travel budget. Even though Vietnam is an inexpensive country, those who are searching for luxurious experiences can definitely find plenty of options if they’re willing to dig deeper into their pockets. If you don’t want to worry about budget limitations, a vacation loan can provide the solution. Just make sure you compare your loan options on Smarter Loans and choose a provider that will suit your needs.
- Who are you taking with you?
Is this going to be a family trip or are you planning to step into the great unknown all by yourself? It’s one thing to travel with a large group and quite another to go out and about as a solo traveler. Whether you’ll have company or not will influence your whole experience, from travel options to budget planning and everything in between.
- What’s the ideal vacation for you?
Are you the adventurous type or the laid-back tourist who prefers to know every detail of the trip beforehand? Knowing your travel style will help you plan a vacation that will match your expectations.
Research your destination
Now comes the most fun but also the most challenging part: choosing a destination. With so many amazing places to visit in Vietnam, it’s going to be difficult to choose just a few locations. If you’ve taken the time to answer the questions above, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find the perfect destination for you (and your fellow travelers if that’s the case).
Also, you should check the weather before making any plans. You can visit Vietnam in every season and have a blast, but you should know the weather here varies significantly from region to region. So, make sure to check the weather in the locations you’re planning to visit.
Apply for a Visa
Apart from having a valid passport, you’ll also probably need to apply for a visa to visit Vietnam. You should start the process in due time and stay up to date with visa regulations since they change quite often in Vietnam. The smartest thing to do is to let an agency handle the process for you, so you can focus on other planning aspects.
Book flights and accommodation
You can book a flight with one of the airlines that operate flights to and from Vietnam and land in one of the major cities. From there, you can book a train, bus or rent a car to get to the location you desire. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can buy a scooter or a motorbike and discover Vietnam in a more authentic and unfiltered way.
Accommodation wise, you can have your pick: from B&Bs and guest houses to hotels or luxury resorts, you’ll have plenty of options at more than reasonable prices. Find the type of accommodation that appeals to you (and your budget) and remember to book in advance.
Talk to your doctor
If you’ve never been to an Asian country before, you’ll probably need to take vaccines. You must be aware of the health risks that you’re exposed to while visiting Vietnam and take all the necessary measures to stay safe and healthy, so you should talk to your doctor and tell him about your travel plans. Based on your itinerary and your medical history, he’ll tell you what vaccines you need and offer you relevant medical advice.
You should know that cash remains the preferred payment method in Vietnam. Although you can use your card in major cities and there are plenty of ATMs from where you can withdraw money, if you plan on travelling to more remote locations, you should always have cash with you. You can exchange your currency into the local Vietnamese Dong (VND) in banks and jewelry shops. It’s also a good idea to come prepared with some cash since withdrawal fees can be quite high. And when you do have to use an ATM, check the fees and charges so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises later.
Enjoy the local cuisine
Long story short, Vietnamese dishes are absolutely delicious. If you want to experience authentic Vietnam, you have to try the street food here. Many have praised it to be the heart and soul of the Vietnamese cuisine. But if street food is not enough to satisfy your tastebuds, there are plenty of local restaurants that will.
By Cynthia Madison