Traveling to Vietnam which has dramatically different weather in different regions, lots of health risks such as insects, air pollution, sun and heat, lovely beaches, tourist attractions in big modern cities, forests, caves and tunnels, travelers should pack lots of things if they will be in various places in the country for more than one week. Insect repellent, raincoat, sunscreen, lightweight waterproof jacket, durable shoes should be in the packaging list. Some travelers pack needless things that make the luggage heavy and bulky. In order to avoid packing spare items for your Vietnam trip, I would like to share with you 10+ Things You Should Never Pack for a Trip to Vietnam. However, if you think any item on the list is essential for you, do not hesitate to pack it.
If you go to Vietnam in rain season, you are recommended to pack a raincoat. Some tourists buy high-quality raincoat which is lightweight and durable. It is not worth buying an expensive raincoat for the trip to Vietnam and never use it later. A cheap raincoat, which is thick and heavier, takes up more space in your suitcase. It is better to pack a cheap thin and lightweight raincoat which is called convenient raincoat (áo mưa tiện lợi) and costs less than $0.5 USD. It is true that you can buy this item easily from street vendors, at convenience stores and supermarkets.
Did you think that a convenient raincoat is not good enough? Certainly, it is not good enough to go under heavy rain. However, I would like to recommend you take a taxi or rent a private car when it rains. In case it rains heavily suddenly when you are on a motorcycle or walking on the street, you should find a place such as a coffee shop (or a supermarket, convenience store, restaurant, building with entrance canopy) to get out of the rain. If the rain is not too heavy, you can wear your convenient raincoat.
On some tours such as city/food tour by motorcycle/cyclo/walking, tours to Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta Tours, they prepare raincoats for guests. So that you do not need to worry about raincoat on tours operated by trusted companies. When you book the tour, check if raincoat is included.
Did you think that an umbrella is useful when it is raining or sunny in Vietnam? Yes, it is. But it takes up too much space in your suitcase and backpack which you wear on day trips in Vietnam. As mentioned above, we have many ways to avoid being wet under rain in Vietnam. An umbrella is useless if it rains heavily.
When the sun is strong, you can protect yourself from the heat and harmful rays of the sun by going out by taxi, public bus or private car. Sun protective jackets/clothing, hats, masks, gloves, glasses, sunscreens are used by Vietnamese people to avoid getting sick when the sun is strong.
In some articles, they recommend you to bring flip flops to Vietnam. From my experience, I had not used my own flip flops on my trip to many top tourist destinations such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Ho Chi Minh City, and the less-known provinces on highlands and the countryside. Why? At hotels in big cities as well as top tourist destinations, flip flops are available. You can wear them when you go to the bathroom, go to the beach or take a short walk in the garden of the hotel, go shopping at a convenience store near the hotel. Sandals or shoes are better to wear on a day trip or go to a place which is far from the hotel. They protect your feet as well as possible. All the hotels in coastal provinces provide free flip flops. Ask the staff if you do not find them in your hotel room.
In some homestays, hostels, guest houses in big cities, and accommodations in less-known provinces, there may be not flip flops. However, it is dangerous to wear flip flops on highlands, dirt roads in the countryside or in forests. Durable shoes help to protect yourself from rocks, insects and other harmful objects on the way. After checking with the staff of the accommodation, you can decide to bring plastic, fabric or rubber slippers to wear in your room and around the homestay.
It is true that the quality of the air in Vietnam is sometimes poor in big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese people usually wear masks to protect themself from dust and air pollution. Fabric masks are the favorite choices of local people because they can be used many times and helps to protect their faces from the sun. Fabric mask should be washed frequently. Tourists do not have enough time to wash fabric masks, wearing the same dirty masks every day is not a good idea. So that I would like to recommend you use a disposal medical mask to protect yourself from dust and air pollution. You should wear a mask on crowded streets in rush hours when you walk on the street, ride motorcycle or cyclo. You can buy enough disposal masks for all days in Vietnam because they are light and not bulky. Or you can buy them easily at any convenience store or drugstore on the street.
Many facial tissues & toilet paper rolls
You will find provide high-quality facial tissues and toilet paper rolls in rooms in higher-end hotel rolls, public restrooms in higher-end restaurants and modern shopping centers. At middle-class restaurants, street food stalls and public toilets, facial tissues and toilet paper rolls are produced from hard and rough crepe paper. So that bringing soft tissues and toilet paper should be in your backpack or handbag when you go out in Vietnam.
You may wonder if I pack facial tissues & toilet paper rolls. You can bring one toilet paper roll and facial tissue packaging if you have enough space in your suitcase because they are not heavy. However, if your suitcase is not big enough for these items, you can simply pack some pocket facial tissues handy packs which can also be also used when you to the toilet. In recent, high-quality tissues can be bought easily in urban areas in Vietnam if your hotel does not provide good facial tissues and toilet paper.
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Large toiletry bag
Toiletries are essential things to pack for any trip. However, you should not bring a large toiletry bag containing all toiletries which you use at home. If your face, skin, hair and teeth are not sensitive, you can leave some toiletries at home and use free toiletries provided by hotels. Remember that the more expensive your hotel room is, the better the free toiletries you are provided. In Vietnam, most of the hotels provide tubes of toothpaste, disposal toothbrushes, shower creams, shampoos, soaps for washing hands. Some hotels provide facial foams, razors, hair conditioning. You can check with the staff of the hotels before packing your luggage.
If you must or prefer to use your favorite toiletry brands, you should pack small tubes or bottles in order to save spaces. A 30-gram tube of toothpaste, 100-ml tubes or bottles of shampoo, shower cream, hair conditioning, a 50-ml tube of facial cleanser. Disposal razors are recommended. Small plastic bags of shampoo, shower cream, hair conditioning are very convenient.
Portable travel bottle set which consists of small plastic bottles is a good choice. You can buy it easily at supermarkets, stores or online.
Your makeup bag
A full makeup set should not be packed for a trip to Vietnam. I would like to recommend to pack essential makeup tools.
A hair dryer is not very small and lightweight. In addition, it can be damaged on your trip. At most of the hotels in Vietnam, they provide hair dryer which can be found in chests of drawers, on dressing tables, in wardrobes or in bathrooms. If you can not find it, just contact the staff, they will tell you where it is or bring one to your room. It is not worth using your favorite hair dryer.
Vietnam is peaceful and safe to travel. However, it is not worth a risk leaving expensive jewelry in your hotel room in which there is no safety box. It is difficult to recognize snatch thefts in Vietnam. They can easily steal your necklace on a packed bus or in crowded places. Sometimes, they snatch your necklace or bracelet when you are walking on the street or sit on the back of a motorbike and make you fall and get injured. Fake jewelry is a good choice if you would like to wear some nice pieces of jewelry on your Vietnam trip. Do not wear something similar to a thick “gold” chain necklace which attracts snatch theft. They prefer gold jewelry to platinum and silver jewelry which are cheaper.
Oversized and thick towels
Oversized and thick towels are not necessary because most of the hotel provide bath towels and face towels. If you would like to pack towels, quick-dry or ultra fast dry towels are good choices.
One outfit for each day
There is no shortage of laundromats and prices for laundry services are cheap in Vietnam. For example, there are not less than 5 laundromats in Bui Vien Street in Saigon Backpacker Area. The cost for laundry service is about VND 15,000/kg. So that there is no need to bring 7 outfits for your 7-day trip to Vietnam. You can pack 4 outfits and do laundry after 3 days. It takes a maximum of 24 hours to have your clothes washed and dried. Hotel laundry costs are rather high. Laundromats are just a few steps from your hotel in the city center.
Are you a denim lover? Did you think denim outfits are perfect travel outfits? Denim clothes take up more space in your luggage and make your luggage heavier. They also take too long to dry. You will pay more for laundry service if you wear thick and heavy outfits. Thin, light and quick dry outfits are better.
Many winter clothes
The lowest temperature in Vietnam is -2 Celcius degree. However, it is about 10 Celcius degrees in Hanoi in the winter. In Ho Chi Minh City, it is warmer and you rarely need a winter coat. Too many winter clothes are not necessary. A waterproof winter jacket and waterproof sneakers are enough. They are easily bought in North and Central Vietnam but are not popularly sold in South Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can go to An Dong Market and Russian Market to buy winter clothes and accessories.
Knee high boots
Knee high boots when it is hot make you weird in Vietnam. In the winter, you can wear trousers and short shoes instead of knee high boots so that you do not pack bulky boots in your luggage.
Foods and drinks
I see that lots of travelers bring foods and drinks to Vietnam, many of them pack dozens of packs of instant noodles. Perhaps they worry that these products are rare or expensive in Vietnam. A pack of instant noodles costs from VND 3,000 to 35,000. The expensive instant noodles are imported ones, instant noodles produced in Vietnam cost up to VND 20,000. At hotels, prices of cups of instant noodles are higher than at supermarkets and convenience stores. Cakes, candies and many snacks are cheap and sold around your hotel in Vietnam. Many local restaurants open until late night and some convenience stores such as Circle K open 24 hours a day.
Thick books and magazines (pornography)
A lightweight and thin book or magazine is enough if you would like to read something when you are on boring flights, train and bus journeys. Thick and heavy books should not be in your luggage. If you bring pornography, you may get caught in Vietnam.
Many electronic devices
Does a traveler need pack laptop, IPad, iPod, cellphone, camera at the same time? The answer is yes if he is a long-term traveler, a Youtuber or must work on their trip. With a smartphone, a traveler can call home, take photos and videos, listen to music, surf the Internet, play games, book tours, hotels and rides online. The devices can be damaged or stolen on your trip.