So Travel Oopsies asked me to share a travel mistake I’ve made and some of my pet peeves when traveling.
This got me thinking of other mistakes that I may have made traveling locally in Vietnam.
Not bringing our passports.
This is what I shared in Travel Oopsies when we visited Dalat via land travel and opted to stay in an Airbnb home. We didn’t bring our passports because… it was Airbnb? Haha.
When traveling in Vietnam, you need your to give your passports for registration with the local police. It kinda makes sense with hotels, but in an Airbnb? Well, the Airbnb owner has to do it for you.
How did we avert this? Well luckily, we brought our resident cards issued by the Vietnam government. Without em, I really don’t know what would have happened. So yeah, bring your passport.
Not checking the weather.
Stupid, right? Isn’t that the first thing you check when traveling? But yes, I didn’t. We were just new in Vietnam then and we decided to travel to Nha Trang on a September. I figured since Saigon was hot almost the entire year, Central Vietnam would be the same.
Hell, no. Nha Trang was unbelievably miserable during this time of the year. It was not fun lugging your toddler ducking from the rain. Plus, we experienced a major typhoon on the day of our flight back and yeah, our flight got canceled. We only had an option to take the evening train — which stopped after an hour because the freaking railroad was flooded. Yes, 22 hours on the train. Did I mention that we were running low on diapers then? Wee.
Not checking the amusement park schedule.
So last year, we went to Nha Trang again (You think we would have stopped after the awful first adventure, right? We’re masochists.) — thankfully on summer. 😛 We were 8 adults and 4 kids and we of course had to visit Vinpearl Land. We expected to try both the amusement and water parks so we brought extra clothes and whatever stuff we could bring for such a day. Then upon queuing to ride the cable cars to Vinpearl Land, we found out that the water park was closed for the entire summer due to renovations. Son of a gun, our stuff was all for naught. Argh. So maybe it wasn’t on the website – I am not sure…. So yeah, next time, I have to call em up to confirm. Le sigh.
Unaware of hospitals/medical services.
In one of our trips to Mui Ne, my youngest who was just a year old experienced high fever. He woke up the next day beside me with a 41 degree Celsius temperature.
Mui Ne is a coastal town — very provincial and I wasn’t really aware of medical services in this area. The night before the high fever happened, my son felt warm already so I took note of a clinic near where we had dinner, just in case.
Luckily, the place we were staying at was helpful and assured us that the clinic will be able to help us and called ahead to expect us. The doctor and nurses were actually quite efficient. Even our doctor in the city was amazed when I brought her my son’s medical record.
So now, every time we travel, aside from bringing our usual meds, I research on hospital or clinics nearby.
Not consulting the group regarding your itinerary.
So a few years back, we went to Hoi An which is a lovely, quaint, UNESCO World Heritage site. It was my favorite! Bbbbut… I didn’t ask my mother-in-law if she wanted to go. I just assumed. She was not too happy because of the heat and we had to do lots of walking. Hoi An is a place to be explored on foot or on a bicycle and I should have planned better when with senior citizens.
Traveling during the start of the holiday.
Do you know that Vietnam only has 8 official holidays? I mean yes, there’s a longer holiday during Tet much like a Christmas break but officially, there’s only 8. Christmas is not a holiday. So the Vietnamese take their holidays seriously.
On our first bus ride to Mui Ne, we left on the start of the holiday. According to press release it should take around 5.5 hours. It took us 7 hours because of the expressway traffic out of the city. I wouldn’t complain too much except that we had toddler with us.
Going to an amusement park on a public holiday
If it’s better not to travel outside during the start of a holiday, don’t go to an amusement park too on a public holiday! Back in 2010 when we were still new to Saigon, we visited Suoi Tien. Suoi Tien is one of the more popular amusement parks with a Buddhist-inspired theme. They have a humongous water park that I love BUT during a public holiday, it was gnarly. Not sure if we were swimming in water or pee with the number of people in the pool.
Not checking in online.
Because we’ve had bad experiences traveling on the start of a holiday, we decided to leave a day ahead. There may be likeminded people doing the same but not as much on the start of the holiday, right? NOT.
So last year during Labor Day weekend, we decided to go to Hanoi via VietJet. When we got to the airport, the airline overbooked and since we were not there yet when the counters started accepting passengers, we were bumped off! We had to leave on a later flight (READ: Midnight) with a 7 and 3 year old. No fun.
Next time, we have to check-in online.
How about you? Have you made any travel mistake while exploring Vietnam? Misery loves company. 😛