1. SIM card on arrival at HCMC airport was 250k VND and they even set it up for us. This was right before we went through immigration. 30 days with unlimited data. This was super helpful to always have internet access when we were out and couldn’t access wifi or when the wifi wasn’t great.

Traveling Vietnam in budget

Our trip to Cat Ba Island

2. Wise card was a great travel currency card to use with good exchange rates and worked almost everywhere in Vietnam. They have a few free withdrawals a month so if you plan well, you can utilize these. If coming from the US, bringing fresh American $100 notes and exchanging them at a gold shop will also give you really good rates.

3. Grab app was awesome! Just like Uber/Uber Eats it was handy for transport and getting food delivered. We loaded our credit card so we never had to worry about cash when using it.

4. Inflatable mattress - We bought from Kmart at home, an inflatable mattress that rolled up and fit in our bag weighing hardly anything or taking up much room. This ended up being VERY handy as a mattress topper as the beds are often very firm in Asia. I have a lower back injury so this saved me several times! If you don’t like firm beds, then this is a handy travel item.

5. Be smart about how you carry your belongings while out. Wear a money belt or a bag where your most important belongings can only be accessed in front of you. There are opportunities in every country around the world.

6. Book local. We booked all our tours and activities either when we arrived at a destination by visiting local tour agents or by contacting local businesses online through WhatsApp or Messenger - there are many recommendations in this Facebook group. Always price compares with a few to ensure you are paying around the expected price.

7. Communicate clearly and use Google Translate when necessary. For English speakers: many Vietnamese speak or have some level of English, but do not expect it. Be grateful they are accommodating you by using your language in their country. Keep your communication clear and simple to avoid any miscommunication.

8. Try the local food. It’s so much cheaper than eating Western food and it’s delicious! its taste is very fresh and more vegetable, healthy.

Traveling Vietnam in budget

Our Kids were excited, this is Lang Co beach, Hue City

9. Prices are very often negotiable. Don’t be afraid to try and strike a deal. For example, if you make multiple bookings they may give you a discount or if you buy more than one item you may get a discount.

10. Be polite, kind, and respectful tourists. The number of rude and disrespectful tourists we have come across during our travels in Vietnam and Thailand is astounding! I won’t name any nationalities in particular, but we have seen lots of tourists dropping rubbish, spitting all over the place, pushing and shoving in queues (even pushing our kids!), and being generally rude to locals. It’s gross behavior and is unnecessary. Being a tourist doesn’t mean you are superior to anyone else. We expect visitors to our own country to treat it (and us) with respect, if you can’t do that, stay home!