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Vietnam Travel Tips: Guide to Packing for Vietnam and How to Budget

motorbike-tour-packing-for-vietnam Join a Motorbike Tour in Ho Chi Minh

Are you planning your next vacation getaway?

Vietnam is a fantastic destination with many adventures in store for travelers!

While you're getting excited looking for flights and booking hotels, have you thought about what you'll need for the trip? Our newest addition to our Vietnam travel tips have you covered with a quick guide to packing for Vietnam! 

Before You Arrive - Vietnam Travel Tips for the Flight

Start with a checklist! Write down everything you plan to bring on your trip.

Carefully decide what items you'll need to be comfortable during your flight. Pack those in your carry-on bag. Double-check TSA regulations for prohibited items in carry-on and checked baggage.

Consider stowing an extra duffle bag in your checked luggage to safely transport any souvenirs on the way home!

Don't forget your passport and check the visa requirements.

Find a trusted travel insurance brand


Here's a helpful tip: You should always email yourself a copy of your passport, and leave a copy of your planned itinerary with your family/friends.

We would recommend packing earplugs along with you for the long flights. Earplugs are surprisingly not widely available in Vietnam. You can also add on the headphones and a neck pillow.

Clothing for all occasions

In Vietnam's climate, there are a few articles of clothing you can't forget to bring

  • A fold-up poncho for rainy days (if you’re traveling between April – October)


  • Thin cotton shirts and shorts for more humid evenings
  • Sneakers and sandals
  • Swimwear
  • Smart casuals for gatherings on your nights out on the town

If you are traveling to the Central and Northern regions of Vietnam, warm clothing might be needed. The weather in the South (Saigon & Mekong Delta) is very hot and humid. Bring shorts and thin layered clothing.

clothing in vietnam

Weather in Ho Chi Minh is hot and humid almost all year round, so light clothing is the smartest choice

Vietnamese culture favors more conservative clothing. Keep that in mind when planning outfits, especially if you are touring landmarks such as temples and pagodas, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Hanoi, and Hue’s Imperial Tombs.

By respecting the culture of the land, you'll fit right in and have a pleasant experience. Locals are friendly and welcoming.

Check out more packing tips and ideas for your Vietnam travel.

Toiletries and Necessities

As with any vacation, make sure you pack your cosmetics and toiletries carefully. Bring any daily medications that you might need and keep extra in a separate container in case of an emergency.

It's smart to have a few travel-sized tissue packages on hand in Vietnam. They might come in handy for the public bathrooms or for the sweats you’ll get from the weather.

Sunscreen is a definite necessity if you have sensitive skin, especially during Vietnam's hot summer season.

During your flight, plan to stow your toiletries in your checked luggage, unless you have TSA approved liquid containers for travel. 

Electronics in Vietnam

Whether you're traveling with a group or flying solo, it's important to stay connected to your loved ones while you're in a new country. If you are going with an unlocked cell phone, you can easily find access to a local SIM card and use mobile data locally. Price plans are dependent on usages. If not, most hotels, cafes, and restaurants have WiFi access in the cities. If you intend to travel to remote highlands or towns, then you should get a local SIM for more reliable coverage. Major Vietnam Network Carriers are Mobifone, Viettel, and Vinaphone, etc.

Pick up an international power adapter so that you can charge your phone, camera, or laptop in your hotel room; however, you can easily find these adapters locally at any convenience store as well. The prices are low, around $2.

The voltage-current in Vietnam is 220V. And the outlets accept the following electrical plugs:

vietnam socket packing for vietnam

Pack up your electronics in your carry-on bag so you can have them with you during travel. 

Adventure Gear

From climbing and hiking Mount Fansipan to watersports, such as parasailing and scuba diving, in the South China Sea, Vietnam is FULL of adventures. 

For hiking and camping adventures, do bring bug spray and hiking boots in addition to your required gears.

For watersports, unless you want to bring your equipment, I recommend just renting them at your local tour operator or gear shop. Things are very convenient nowadays, and you can pretty much pick up your equipment. This will help you travel light.

If you would like to capture photos underwater, then do bring your GoPro or waterproof camera.

Other items worth mentioning: GPS (Google Maps App installed on your mobile phone), Sunglasses, Watch, Camera, Local guidebook.

If you do want to take your own gear along with you, visit today to find the gear that's right for you.

Planning Your Vietnam Trip Cost: How to Budget

When most people hear the words "international travel," their first thought is of dollar signs. 

While traveling internationally can be expensive, it doesn't have to be. A trip to Vietnam can be a great way to see a new part of the world without breaking your budget. In fact, Vietnam has been ranked as one of the most inexpensive countries to travel to in 2017.

Here are my top tips for budgeting, and keeping your Vietnam trip cost low!

Read more on Living cost in Vietnam and How much money do I need for Ho Chi Minh.


Keep your Vietnam Trip Cost Low by Understanding the Exchange Rate

The exchange rate is constantly changing, so it's important to keep up with it while traveling.

At the time of this writing, $1 in United States Dollars is worth approximately 22,700 Vietnamese Dong

With favorable exchange rates like these, it's easy to find hotel accommodations that are extremely affordable.

If you're looking for the lowest Vietnam trip cost possible, you can find rooms for as cheap as $7-$20 a night. Even if you're looking for something more comfortable and luxurious, rooms at a nice hotel or resort usually only run around $80 a night. 

Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Sure, you could eat fast foods in Vietnam. But where's the fun in that?


The local foods in Vietnam are not just delicious; they are also extremely affordable. 

Like with hotels, there's also a range of options to choose from rustic to luxurious. For instance, Vietnam is famous for its street vendors, where you can get a meal for two for under $5.

If you'd like a more formal, sit-down meal, these are also reasonably priced. You can get dinner for two in most Vietnamese restaurants for under $20.

Finally, if you're a beer drinker, you'll want to make sure to try the Bia Hoi, which is Vietnamese for "fresh beer." This is beer that's brewed quickly and must be drunk within 1-2 days. The best part? You can enjoy a local beer for around $1 – just need to know the right place to find them.

Want to try different types of Vietnamese foods and local beers on a scooter with a local professional guide? Check out i Love Food Motorbike Tour.

Use Public Transportation

One of the best parts of traveling to Vietnam is enjoying the scenery and cultures with public transportation. 

Two of the easiest ways to get around the country are by bus and by train. Additionally, many buses and trains are equipped with beds for sleeping, so you can save on a night of hotel accommodations while you're traveling. For most major cities, you can find the best-budgeted bus prices at the backpacker’s area. Since there are so many Vietnam travel agencies clustered in a zone, the prices are competitively displayed outside on the signs and standees. You can easily shop for prices for moving from one city to another.

To get the best price of transportation, I recommend booking ahead and booking directly with the bus or train company. Many hotels will offer to make reservations for you, but they will likely add surcharges.

If you are short on time, you can use domestic flight carriers on a budget like Vietjet Air and Jetstar. Their flight prices are reasonable.

For tips on how to avoid taxi scams in Vietnam, you can read my other blog here.

Read more on Transportation in Vietnam and Getting around Ho Chi Minh City.

Take Advantage of Local Tours

The low prices you'll enjoy on accommodations, food, and transportation will leave plenty of room in your budget for fun tours and excursions.

local tours budget for vietnam

Luckily, these tours are affordable. For instance, you can enjoy a private one-on-one scooter tour for as little as $62 a person. Additionally, you can check out tips on how to plan an awesome tour in Ho Chi Minh City. These tours allow you to see the city from the locals’ perspectives.

Additionally, keeping an eye out for special promotions could help you save big on tours.

Don't Be Afraid to Haggle

In Vietnam, haggling is not only acceptable: it's expected. Don't hesitate to bargain on the quoted price at local markets.


I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to travel to Vietnam on a budget. 

For other budget tips for a holiday, you can check out ideas by Luke Heywood.

Do you have any Vietnam travel tips for our readers or any smart packing tips that I missed? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments!


© Written by Linh Nguyen for | is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to



Guest - Eileen Mclaughlin on Friday, 25 October 2019 21:39

no need to pack much because shopoing in vietnam is mostly inexpensive

no need to pack much because shopoing in vietnam is mostly inexpensive
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