Packing for Vietnam

I usually start packing for a trip about a week to two weeks before I go somewhere, this way I find it’s not a mad dash at the end, and I’m able to mindfully make decisions about what I pack (and what I don’t).

As I unpacked from my 1 night repositioning cruise on the Ruby Princess, I’m repacking the same carry on with my items for Vietnam. Yes, I am taking just a carry on to Vietnam.  I guess I’m challenging myself, I’ve always overpacked. Many times coming back from a destination I’m sitting on my suitcase trying desperately to zip it up, and/or buying a secondary bag to fit souvenirs I’ve accumulated along the way. I know I need to simplify, so to resist the urges of buying unnecessary items (partially to save money for my Europe trip in August), carry on it is.

I’m going to be packing light. I’m flying with China Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, carry on limit is 7 kgs, plus a personal item such as a purse. I’ve decided dress in layers, wearing the heaviest items of clothing that I’m planning to bring, this way it won’t effect my carry on weight. I get cold on planes anyways, so this way I’ll be warm and comfortable haha. I won’t be bringing my MacBook this time, I’m taking a journal to write in instead.

Traveling to Asia is definitely an adjustment. Public washrooms can be a very simple squat toilet, or a western style washroom with the toilet paper located near the paper towel where you wash your hands. I’ve learned to be and travel prepared. I always carry a roll of toilet paper or at least tissues in my purse, not to mention antibacterial wet wipes and hand sanitizer. I always wipe public areas down with wipes, especially my seat area in an airplane (tray, armrests, in-seat entertainment system and sometimes the window if it’s smudged), bathrooms, hotel rooms, etc. I might sound like a germaphobe (ok, if I’m honest I am one), but I really hate getting sick during a trip. For health related issues I bring Pepto-Bismol, Benadryl, Gravol, Advil, Ener-C packs (contains vitamins and electrolytes, important for hot, humid climates and warding off plane germs) and last but not least, Saje Immune roll on (for warding off colds and other germs).

I’ll be taking one swimsuit, I’m really hoping we will be able to kayak in Halong Bay during our overnight cruise. I know the hotel in Hoi An has a pool, so one swimsuit will be fine.

For technology, I’ll be taking my iPhone 6, for photos and posting to Instagram and Facebook, and to keep in touch with my family on FaceTime. I’m bringing my GoPro Hero 4 with waterproof housing. I brought it with me to Thailand and Bali and got some great footage with it. I’m also taking my Canon 6D for those photos that I want the extra quality for.

I have to say, I’m getting excited! Really excited, only a couple days to go!

Vietnam Countdown – 4 Weeks to Go!

My Vietnam countdown is officially on! 4 weeks to go!

I’m so excited and can’t wait to share my adventure with you all!

I am doing a “taster trip” of Intrepid Travel’s Real Food Adventure – Vietnam. Our journey will start in Hanoi and end in Ho Chi Minh City, spanning over nine days! This trip includes a couple cooking classes, an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, an overnight train to Danang and many street food stops along the way. I’m planning to document this trip day by day and also by video.

This past Thursday, I made the trip to the Vietnamese Consulate downtown Vancouver to get my Vietnamese visa. I paid $103.00 Canadian Dollars to get it completed and I will pick it up on Wednesday (so just under a week). I know there are other ways to get the visa for Vietnam, such as paying to get a visa on arrival. After doing quite a bit of research, I decided that getting it done before I left was the best (and safest) route for me. If you apply through a third party agency, you could be taking your chances. Not only that, when you arrive you have to make sure you have all your documents and passport photo with you, along with paying a “stamping fee” in US Dollars at immigration. The lines can be long and I just want to get to my hotel and start exploring Hanoi once I land. I’d rather not have any extra stress, just enjoy this journey.

On to what I’m packing… Still debating on bringing a suitcase, however I think I’m sticking to just a carry on. Going to be interesting, but I’m going to try. I tend to overpack and really not need half the items I take, so it’s going to be a test for me. My apartment is also getting very full, so by taking just a carry on, I’m limiting the unnecessary souvenirs I might purchase along the way.

May 18th can’t come soon enough!