Vietnam is a relatively easy place to travel with kids. The people are welcoming (and most speak English), the services are of a higher level than those in most of Southeast Asia, and yet the prices are just as affordable; however, from noisy hotels to hidden commission fees, a couple parts of Vietnamese travel may present some difficulty. Make sure you follow these tips make your family trip in Vietnam easier and more enjoyable!
1. Find a quiet hotel.
Make sure to book a hotel in an alley off the main streets. The big cities in Vietnam never sleep, and the noise can be very annoying at all hours of day and night. But never fear! It seems the cities were planned to help you deal with this problem, and every large street has a few quiet alleys connected to it, each boasting of more hotels than you’d imagine possible. If booking online make sure you look at the map so the hotel is indeed in an alley. If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay to recover from that jet lag, check out our recommendations here.
2. Use the right ATM.
Use Citibank ATM machines. Most ATMs in Vietnam will only allow you to withdraw up to 2 million(!!!) VND (Vietnamese Dong) and charge quite a large commission, but Citibank allows you to withdraw anywhere from 5-8.5 million VND (depending on location) with a lower commission. And yes, I really did mean millions. that’s because $1 USD= about 22,000 VND. The average coffee on the street costs about 10,000 VND, or a little less than a dollar. In Vietnam, we’re all millionaires!
3. Avoid commission fees.
Never ever book bus or train tickets through the hotel or a travel agent. Ticketing commissions in Vietnam tend to be high, and can often cost more than the tickets themselves. It’s always better to go straight to the transportation company offices (which are easy to find, as each bus has the company name written on it), and buy directly from them. The difference is even bigger when you’re buying tickets for the whole family, so be sure to avoid those unnecessary fees!
4. Enjoy the reliable WiFi.
A big plus about Vietnam is that there’s free WiFi everywhere. Even in places that seem too small or local, there will always be WiFi. And it’s fast too! Can download at up to 20mbps! A VPN might be necessary at times.
5. Fruit for vegetarians!
A warning for vegetarians: in Vietnam, everything contains meat or seafood. It’s very hard to find local vegetarian dishes, and many of those are bland (imagine fried rice with carrot and green beans). However, to make up for it, Vietnam has some of the world’s best fruits. I especially enjoy the dragon Fruit and pineapple. Plus, they’re all dirt cheap: a whole meal of fruits will set you back less than $3 USD.