Preparing for a backpacking trip in Vietnam can be very exciting. Vietnam is an awe-inspiring pocket of the world, rich in history and culture and home to many beautiful people with interesting stories to tell. Visiting Vietnam as a tourist is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many people, especially when traveling as a backpacker, where you are free to go wherever the wind might take you. It is a good idea, as with any trip, to be prepared with everything you may need to have during your trip prior to leaving. You want to minimize potential stress factors and allow yourself to focus on having the most enriching, memorable experience possible while you are there.
Bring only a backpack.
Try to keep the entire weight of your backpack (fully packed) under twenty pounds for optimum comfort during your trip. This is possible to do if you pack every single item with this limit in mind. If your bag exceeds thirty pounds you will likely have shoulder and back pain that could put a damper on your experience. Keeping your bag condensed will also ensure that it will fit within any carry-on requirements.
If you’re going to buy one thing right, make it your backpack. The quality of your backpack will affect your comfort on every day of your trip. This is the only piece of luggage you should bring, period. You can find ideal backpacks for travel at RickSteves.com. He is an expert in “Europe through the back door” but he also has some very useful tips and gadgets that can be used for backpacking anywhere in the world. You will want to buy a backpack that is designed to be worn during travels for long periods of time, and Rick Steves’ website is a great place to score something top quality at a good price.
When you are packing light, you should pack for the best case scenario and be prepared to buy yourself out of any jams. Unless you are going into extreme conditions in an equally extreme climate that will be out of reach from civilization for days at a time, you should be able to enjoy the freedom of traveling with basically the equivalent of a cleverly packed overnight bag.
Bring lightweight clothing that can stand up to weather. You don’t need to bring a puffy coat that is essentially a down comforter with a zipper just in case it gets cold in the night. Vietnam is typically a fairly warm environment, and the most you should need is a thin jacket (you can still do something that’s able to stand up to unexpectedly cold weather) and a few layers. Bring clothing that you can wash by hand that will dry quickly.
Bring essential toiletries and some Band-Aids in case you get blisters. Travel-sized toiletires can be purchased at any drug store in the US. These things should be bought before you travel so that you aren’t overcharged once you get there.
Bring versatile shoes.
It’s a wise idea to bring shoes that can survive getting a little wet. When you’re backpacking, you might go through an area with water, and you want to be protected if your shoes get wet. Tevas are great for this. Depending on what kind of hiking you’re planning to do, you may need something even more durable, but for most backpacking trips, something like Tevas will do the job just fine. Flip flops are also a good
Do your research.
Whenever you travel, you should familiarize yourself with the current weather conditions of wherever you’re going. See if there is anything you are well-advised to bring outside of the norm. Contacting a knowledgeable travel company like Blue Ocean Travel can also be an invaluable resource before leaving for your backpacking trip. They can help answer questions and point you in the right direction in the places you’re going to travel.
As with any trip through unfamiliar areas, a money belt is always advisable. This can be worn under your clothing and will keep your most valuable possessions like your passport and credit card protected wherever you go. Traveling to Vietnam is something more Americans should experience. It can be enlightening in both a cultural and a spiritual sense.