Traveling can be such a great experience for a person. You get to explore and try out new things you would never think you would do.
Whether it’s experiencing your first cultural shock moment or
eating the weirdest food you’ve ever seen in your life.
But before you get to any of those wonderful moments, we must prepare you for all the things you must know prior to your trip.
Vietnam is a beautiful country, filled with a rich history and also an abundance of tasty cuisines that rival no others.
I’m assuming you must have had a taste of Vietnam before…or maybe you’re just very curious and would love to explore this beautiful country one day.
But that is another entire post we can get into. Let’s re-focus back to why you’re here.
These are the 4 main things I asked myself when I first started looking into planning my trip.
What do I need?
Why do I need it?
How do I get it?
and….seriously? I need to do all of this?!?!?!
Yes my fellow travelers, to make your experience that much more enjoyable. I HIGHLY recommend you read the rest to find out the importance of each item.
I’m guessing you might already have one…but hey who knows. I’ve always owned a passport but didn’t really use it to its fullest potential.
Sometimes we take things for granted in life, the freedom to travel, the ability to see new wonders and make unforgettable memories.
But all of that isn’t possible unless we get a passport.
If you do not have a passport, go here to get your passport. This is an online form (DS-11) that you can complete, print, and mail it in.
Or if you’re an old-fashion kind of person, you can also print the PDF form and fill it out by hand. Keep in mind this is for FIRST-TIME Applicants. If you already have a passport, this does not apply to you. Or maybe you need to renew. Then you can find that form (DS-82) here.
You can also visit your local post office (USPS) and have them assist you with this. They can take your photo on the spot at most locations.
Are you ready for the next part? It’s not very appealing but you do need to pay for it. Unfortunately, in order to travel and see the world…we have to pay lol. But don’t let this discourage you!
But anyway, there are two options. You can either get the Passport Book or the Card. Let me save you the research.
Get the book. The current fee is $110 for the application and another $35 for the execution fee.
The card is cheaper but you are limited. I believe you can only use the card for travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. You are not permitted to use the card for international travel by air.
In order to visit the beautiful country of Vietnam, you’ll need to obtain a visa. A visa is a form of permission granted by the country you’re visiting.
I had a wild experience dealing with their visa process. I regretted everything I did and wished I had done it completely differently.
First of all, get it immediately and do not procrastinate. We had discussed getting it almost a year before the trip, but the next thing I knew we were a few months out from the trip.
On top of that, I mailed my passport in to get it done. My wife was leaving for Japan and I had completely forgotten about it. So what I thought was a quick expedited process, turned into a
daily nervous breakdown. I was constantly checking my phone and calling the embassy to see where they were with my passport/visa. I ended up paying more to get it rushed and also
had to change my wife’s flight which cost me more money.
Ok enough about my sob story. I will show you how I obtained my visa. My dad told me all he did was fill out the application that you can print from their website.
The completed application will need to be mailed to the embassy in Washington DC along with a check for the service. They vaguely put the price on the page so a lot of time it’s a scam for more money on their part.
You can either complete this by email, mail, in person or online.
If you live in Washington DC, you have it easy. Walk in and get it done.
If you have extra money to spend or waste…by all mean do it online. Of course, you’re paying for the convenience. My friend got this done and paid over $250 for it.
Phone (sim card)
You can get a sim card for cheap ANYWHERE in Vietnam. It’s literally at every corner and also right at the airport when you land.
They have multiple plans and of course, you will be ripped off no matter what you do. The only way you can get it for a real local price is to have a local person buy it for you.
We landed in Da Nang Airport and there were kiosks that offering $7 for an entire week of 4G coverage. I decided to hold off on that and bought mine through the local streets.
There were many stands as I had expected and ended up paying $200,000 VND which is equivalent to $8.69 for around 1 month worth of coverage. Keep in mind that there is WI-FI everywhere you go in Vietnam. Literally, all the shops and restaurants have wifi available for their guests.
It was nice to have as we were constantly on the move, traveling from city to city. Hopping on bus, train, auto bike, and taxi…having that phone with an internet connection was extremely helpful.
When I travel, I like to make things less complicated and stressful for myself. I mean you are already dealing with a lot, with communication and not understanding how things are. One less worry is also a good thing.
Oh, the joy of traveling. Not only are you dealing with all the legal part that will allow you in the country, now you have to consider on the shots you need.
My first time traveling to Vietnam back in 2005, I got all my shots (at least that’s what my dad told me). But I still ended up getting a terrible case of strep throat. I had a drink with ice in it, and that did me in for at least a week. I couldn’t swallow, eat, or drink much. It sucked traveling when you’re not feeling well.
This time around, I made sure my wife and I got our shots so we can avoid the same faith I had. There are many ways of doing this, you can call your family doctor and schedule an appointment. From what I heard, they don’t always have the necessary shots you need for your travel.
You can also reach out to PassportHealth as my friend did. There are multiple locations that you can schedule an appointment with for a consultation. But this is the expensive way. I think it cost like $50 per person to get a consultation done and then on top of that you pay for the individual shot/pill.
My wife and I went to the Minute Clinic at the local CVS store. We ended up only getting typhoid and Hepatitis A shots, which set us back around $142 for the shots (per person). The Hep A was covered under my insurance plan since claimed our reason as a doctor’s annual check-up.
It was safe to say that we didn’t have to deal with any sickness and was very prepared for this trip. It also doesn’t hurt to pack some tums/Pepto Bismol on your trip.
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