Going on holiday abroad is fun, but packing can be an annoying hassle. Here we have the best packing must-haves for your next vacation in Vietnam!
1. Identification documents: Always carry your passport and visa, and remember to bring another original identification and 2-3 passport photos, in case you have to replace your passport; other required papers for driving in Vietnam.
All should be saved as notes/photos on your phone and/or laptop in case of an emergency.
3. Insurance: Vietnam’s generally a safe country, but there’s never “too much preparation”. For a smooth sailing trip, many international travel insurance providers such as World Nomads offer tourists reasonably-priced packages that also include extra assistance.
For large bills and purchases in big cities, you can opt for cashless payment with Visa/Mastercards, and check carefully if Vietnam accepts your type of debit/credit cards. Having said that, it’s best to exchange some Vietnam Dong (preferably small changes) beforehand or when you arrive in the country.
Tourists can exchange money at the Tan Son Nhat (SGN) airport
Do check Vietnam's Weather before planning your travel outfits.
1. Semi-formal clothing: Many attractions in Vietnam are considered sacred (churches, pagodas, tombs…), so wearing not-revealing clothes is a must. You can wear shorts and skirts for sure, but bring along a scarf in case you'll be visiting religious sites in Vietnam.
2. Sneakers: You’ll probably hike a lot in the mountains and do quite a bit of walking on city tours, so bring a pair just in case.
3. Swimsuits/Sandals/Flip flops: for visiting Vietnam’s famous beaches.
4. Sun protective clothing: The harsh sunlight in Vietnam's tropical climate can be detrimental to your skin. Long-sleeve shirts or a light jacket are recommended. Columbia Jacket is a preferred brand to protect yourself from the sun, yet the material is still breathable enough for ultimate comfort in Vietnam's humid climate.
5. Warm clothing: for the chilly weather during late December - early February. Do not underestimate this thinking you would travel to a tropical country. Temperatures in Northern Vietnam and Vietnam's mountains can drop below 10oC (50oF) during winter.
The North Face can offer a wide range of models that can be sufficient under icy weather, yet still easy to pack.
A rain poncho is necessary during the wet season
6. Suitcase or Backpack for traveling to Vietnam?
More on clothing packing tips here.
Get a sunscreen that has at least SPF 50
To get you prepared for a day outdoors either in the city or at the beach, a Waterproof Sunscreen Spray is essential. For more adventurous activities such as hiking, sports, or a multi-day motorbike trip, bring Aloe Vera Gel with you also to help with the unwanted sunburns (a cheap brand will do). Aloe vera gel is surprisingly not easy to find in Vietnam, especially in rural areas.
Can I buy some at local pharmacies? The answer is Yes and No. Common medicines are widely accessible at Vietnam's drug stores, but you need to factor in the language barrier (How can they give you proper prescriptions without knowing exactly what your problem is?), and Vietnam's certain restrictions on medicines. It is better to have essential medicines handy for urgent cases. On the other hand, if you can bring your prescriptions to the pharmacy, the staff is more than willing to help you.
Some medicines to bring:
Bringing your compact first-aid kit will be helpful while climbing, hiking, or driving
3. Water bottle
A stainless steel bottle’s easy to clean and BPA-free
A standard personal hygiene kit for women
Must-pack items to stay connected:
Other electronic essentials include:
1. Portable charger: Choose ones that are durable and compact like Anker’s and Aukey’s so you can bring on long travels.
Anker’s power banks offer value for money.
2. International Travel Adapters: Vietnam uses type A, C, and F. See our detailed guide for adapters.
3. Camera/memory cards, connecting cables and chargers
4. Tripod: GEEKOTO is an amazingly functional tripod that is super lightweight and easy to carry on the go
5. Back-up external hard drive/portable flash drive for digital nomads
6. Wifi signal booster: hotel's wifi can be frustrating at times, so a wifi booster gadget can be your savior of the day
7. Travel apps: There are many mobile apps to aid a foreigner on holiday in Vietnam, like Agoda (accommodation), 12GoAsia and Grab (transportation), or Google Translate.
1. Rain poncho/Umbrella: For trips from April to October, these items will keep you dry in the heavy rainfalls. However, you can buy these items with ease from roadside shops or convenience stores in Vietnam at dirt-cheap prices.
2. Medical face masks: while it is still better to have one before your travel because you'll be entering the crowded airport, but standardized medical face masks can also be found easily at local pharmacies for around USD 3/box of 45 pieces.
Check out these recommended brands for medical face masks.
3. Some minor toiletries such as shampoo, wet wipes, pocket tissue, etc.
- Stay organize. The travel cubes are an excellent invention to divide your packing and prevent them from falling all over the place
- Use shower caps instead of bulky shoe covers
- Skip the laundry items. Laundry services in Vietnam are available almost everywhere
- For extended trips in Vietnam, no need to pack toiletries (shampoo, shower gel). Buy them when you arrive.
- Empty out your purse before traveling. Leave behind loyalty shopping cards, bills, etc.
Being well-prepared means a more fun-filled holiday. If you want to see more detailed packing tips, don’t miss our articles on What to Bring to Ho Chi Minh City and What Not to Bring to Ho Chi Minh City.
Need more help with preparing for your Vietnam trip? Let us know in the comments!
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