Vietnam can be overwhelming and inspiring all at the same time. But keeping your wits about you and setting aside time to prepare prior to arriving will help keep you safe and your itinerary on schedule.
1. Get vaccinated.
Medical care in Vietnam is below the standards to which U.S. citizens are accustomed. Knowing this in the planning stages of your trip gives you the time to prepare by receiving all necessary vaccines. Allow at least 4-6 weeks prior to your departure to receive your vaccinations.
2. Research medical insurance.
In the event of a serious medical emergency, you will likely have to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore due to the lack of adequate medical care in Vietnam. Understanding what your health insurance covers prior to your departure will give you time to decide how to best protect yourself.
3. Make copies of important documents.
Petty crime is a reality in the cities of Vietnam. Whether you are in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, or other popular destination like HOI, you should recognize that you could fall victim to a mugging. Take precautions by making copies of your passport, credit cards, visa, and immunization card. Having these documents will be helpful should something unforeseen happen.
4. Watch your belongings.
Be alert during your arrival at the airport as well as while out exploring. Motorbikes move fast in Vietnam, and criminals looking for a quick score can zip by, grab your bag, and be gone in a matter of seconds. Carry your belongings on your front and close to your body. If you don’t look like an easy target, you won’t be one.
5. Don’t barter too low.
Although negotiating prices on goods in Vietnam is common, don’t get greedy. Attempting to hit a rock bottom price will insult the seller. Also, be sure to smile throughout your time in Vietnam. This is part of the culture and will go a long way with the locals.