I love researching, planning and packing for a trip. Unpacking and doing laundry afterwards, not so much.
What I Brought
- Sandals (Tevas not flip-flops)
- Four pairs of socks
- Two bras (one sports bra and one regular)
- One swimsuit top
- 13 pairs of underwear
- One pair of light weight pants
- Ten shirts (mostly tank tops)
- Two pairs of shorts
- A jumper
- Two dresses
- A light hooded sweatshirt
Toiletries and Personal Items
- Three packages of tissues
- Three packages of wet wipes
- Make-up bag with cover up, one lip gloss, bronzer, blush, mascara, and chap stick.
- Travel sized toothpaste
- Travel toothbrush
- Travel sized shampoo
- Hand sanitizer
- Sun screen (50 spf)
- Bug spray
- Sony RX100 digital camera
- Gorilla pod
- Cell phone
- Cell phone charger
- Camera charger
- Viet Nam Rough Guide
- Caribbean history book
- Vietnamese phrase book
- Notebook and pen
- Day bag
- Dry bag
- Two packing cubes
- First aid kit with band aids, Dramamine, pain spray, Advil, anti-diarrhea pills, and condoms.
- Sleep sheet
- Inflatable travel pillow
- Microfiber Towel
- Money Pouch
What I Didn't Need and Why
- Sneakers. I never once wore my sneakers. I thought I would need them for hiking or the cave, but it was ridiculously hot (typically around 35 degrees Celsius) in Viet Nam and I never ended up needing them. They took up considerable space and weight in my bag.
- Jumper (or as the boyfriend calls it, "Cocktail Snuggie"). Who knew that onesies would be incredibly difficult to take off in a pocket sized bathroom with a squat toilet? I should have figured. In an attempt to use the toilet in my hotel room, I ripped an enormous hole in the back. It got ditched in our hotel room trash can.
- Four pairs of socks. Let me give you this important detail: I tend to only wear novelty socks and I only packed novelty socks. I hate socks. They feel like they're strangling my feet. As I never I wore my sneakers, I never wore my socks. The constant stepping in gutters, exhaust fumes, non-stop construction, and bug bites did leave my feet not looking their foot model prettiest.
- Scarf. The temperature barely dropped below 22 degrees Celsius and the blankets provided on sleeper buses were perfectly adequate if a little scratchy.
- Hat. My awesomely enormous old lady gardener hat would have been useful if I wore it. Instead, Tyler ended up wearing it most of the time and I came to the realization that I hate wearing hats.
- Packages of Wet Wipes. They were always giving us wet wipes. EVERYWHERE. Hotels, hostels, restaurants, tour buses, sleeper buses, airplanes. SO MANY WET WIPES.
- Hand Sanitizer. I just never bothered using it. Maybe I'm unsanitary.
- Gorilla Pod. Sure, my gorilla pod would have come in handy in a few places; I would have gotten better shots at the waterfalls and caves. While I wanted to document the trip and be a good travel blogger, I also wanted to enjoy my trip through my own eyes and not the lens of a camera.
- Swimsuit Top. The water in Viet Nam was delightfully warm and not full of jellyfish. My friends had a great time swimming in it. As we were going to be getting on a train not much later, I was not particularly interested in getting wet or having to change my clothes. I would recommend bringing a swimsuit if you're going to coastal towns.
- Money Pouch/Belt. This wasn't necessary for me. Viet Nam is a relatively safe country and I kept most of my money locked up in my hostel. When I went out, I kept my money in my wallet inside my purse.
What I Should Have Brought
- More Underwear. No mater how much I try to convince myself that the inside-out trick is acceptable, I don't really like wearing underwear multiple days in a row.
- Nicer Clothes. Business casual is my daily grind. Vacation=wearing cut offs and sandals. However, people in Ho Chi Minh City dress very fashionably and people take great care in their appearance across social strata. Grungy tourist was how I felt.
- Headphones. Noise, noise, constant noise. Viet Nam is cacaphonic. After a week of sleep deprivation, my friend offered me her headphones and I was finally able to sleep through the night. Plus, Viet Nam pop music is not my personal taste.
- Kindle. I'm definitely investing in a kindle after this trip. Lugging around multiple 500 page books, that's for travel noobs.
- Extra Memory Cards. Imagine this: second to last day on the trip and we're at Crazy House in DaLat. NO MORE ROOM ON MEMORY CARD. I have to spend a good thirty minutes selecting photos for deletion. On my cracked and scratched LCD screen.
- Laptop. Now, I would have brought a laptop if I actually had one that could work without being plugged in.
Advice: bring multiple layers and options. You may have access to a laundry machine in your hostel or hotel. You will be sweating a lot and pollution, while not China level, is bad. It feels nice to put on clean clothes when you've been sweaty and dirty all day. Make sure you have a day bag or a smaller satchel to carry items on day trips. It's nice to have a place to put your sun screen, guide book, camera, etc.