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Packing Guidelines for Vietnam Travel

By Allison Martin

Each parent-to-be will have slightly different personal and circumstantial needs when traveling to Vietnam to bring home their child, but there are a few packing guidelines that every traveler will want to consider.

1. Pack as lightly as you can! When you return you will be carrying 1) most of what you brought with you, 2) your baby or child (who will be active!), 3) your baby items, 4) the many gifts you have bought in Vietnam, and 5) any extra clothes or other necessities you have also acquired.

2. If you are traveling alone, there are likely to be times when you will be transporting your bags and your child all by yourself. If you are traveling as a couple, at least one of you will be very occupied with your new baby or child.

3. You will always need to access your money, and in the airport, you will need to easily reach all your documents. You will want both of these to be easily accessible, even when carrying or holding a child. Plus they must be kept in a safe place.

4. During the time you are in your hotel you will have plenty of room and flexibility, it is the airport and similar circumstances that create the most problems for luggage. You may have to walk quite a ways in the airport, and they can be busy and confusing at a time when you may be tired and stressed. Problems or new rules can arise and you may need to be quickly mobile to respond, or you may need to wait in one area for a long time.

5. When you pack, take into account the time of year and location(s) in Vietnam to which you will travel. The amount of rain varies by season, and the temperature varies seasonally and by geography. In many circumstances it will be hot. And you are likely to encounter at least some rain, perhaps a substantial amount. Bring comfortable, lightweight clothes that are easy to change and take care of. Layers are always good for travel.

6 . Dress in Vietnam has become more modern and relaxed over the years, however this doesn't mean its not important. If you wish to create a good impression, then dress up just a bit. You will be judged by how you look - what else do they have to go on? Two things to keep in mind - in meeting with officials you wish to make a proper impression. Plus whenever you leave your hotel, especially if you are brining your child, you are creating a lasting impression of adoptive parents. Vietnamese people will rarely criticize you directly, so it may not always be obvious what impression you are making.

Does this mean you have to be formal? Not at all, just be aware of the dress code ediquette and mindful of parents who will come after you..

7. Its easiest if you make two packing lists, one for yourself (or each adult) and one for your baby (or each child). Then compare the two and reduce overlap (e.g. for medication).

8. Generally children are smaller in Vietnam, but this does vary! It is not hard to find clothes for chidren in Vientam. It is more difficult to find large size adult clothing for Americans.

9. If you run out of packing room at the end, you can always donate items to an orphanage or give them to others or even leave them in your hotel.

10. Talk carefully to your doctor about bringing medicine. While getting medications in Vietnam is not all that hard, the quality may not be comparible. Plus if your baby is screaming you do not want to have to go searching for medicine late at night!


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