Traveling in Vietnam is thrilling. But so is staying safe.
For the most part, Americans are warmly welcomed and receive rock-star treatment when they visit Vietnam. Vietnamese love to talk with and barter with Americans and most travelers report no issues. After all, theft and petty crime are punished severely in Vietnam. However, you still have to keep an eye out for pick-pockets, decoy techniques and over-charging taxi drivers. Those are the most common complaints.
1) Keep the Passport Handy
Keep your passport and visa with you at all times. Do not leave them in the hotel. Leave a copy of your documents and itinerary in your luggage, and secure your bag with a mini-lock while you are out of the hotel.
2) Be Stashed on Cash
Separate out a small amount of cash for daily use, keeping the bulk of it, and your credit cards in a money belt.
3) Pack Lightly
Less is best. Pack light, taking only essential clothing, shoes and gear. Streets are packed and there is no room for big luggage. Invest in a lightweight carry-on sized bag for the trip. You will be amazed how freeing it feels when all you have to keep track of is yourself, a backpack and one carry-on. Packing less means you have more control over your belongings and less worry. Leave extra jewelry and valuables at home.
4) Dress Respectably
Vietnam is considered a safe place for women to travel on their own, and there are many singles-friendly activities throughout the country. Despite the recent stardom of Vietnam’s bikini-clad airline VietJet Air, it is recommended for ladies to dress respectably. It is wise to research the region you are going and dress appropriately. No short shorts, skimpy or bikini tops for day outings other than beach areas. Gorgeous handmade Vietnamese silk scarves are sold in many places, and are the perfect accessory for day or evening. Leave your expensive purse at home. Vietnam has luxury shopping galore, with items you won’t find in the US, so indulge the local merchants and boost the economy when you get there.
5) Don’t be that Guy
Men and women – for extra safety, always lock your hotel room door. Whether you are in or out, sleeping or awake, it is wise to keep the door locked.
6) Watch Your Pockets
Cities in Vietnam are extremely crowded with pedestrians, bikes, speeding motorbikes and cars. Pay full attention to your personal space, surroundings and belongings when walking, shopping or riding in cars or buses.
7) Be careful with your Rides
Do not ride a bus or unmetered car alone at night. Ask your hotel for suggestions for a ride back from your evening destination.
8) Don’t be Flashy
If you are wearing an expensive watch or taking pricey tech items, don’t be flashy. Phones, cameras, purses and tech gear are the most targeted items for theft. Take your phone or camera out only when you are ready to use them, then store back in your bag right away. Do not leave your phone or wallet on an open table or bar, especially at outside eateries.
9) Be Nice, Not Everyone is Trying to Scam You
In many tourist and guided activity areas you will get off the shuttle or bus and be surrounded by elders, children or teenagers wanting to talk to you or sell you small items. The Vietnamese are an extremely intelligent, curious and friendly culture who love Americans, and are just trying to earn a living from their local goods. If you are approached in kindness, reciprocate with the universal language – a smile – and buy something from them, especially if it is a hand-crafted item. You will receive a treasured souvenir and leave a lasting impression of generosity and goodwill.
We wish you a wonderful trip to Vietnam, and invite you to share your travel experiences and photos with us.
Discover the New Vietnam!
Go to Expedia.com to start your Vietnam trip.
Did you know there’s a Sheraton in Saigon? For all available hotels in Vietnam, take a look at Hotels.com.
Want to make your friends envious? Tell them “I stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at Ho Chi Minh City.”
Last of all, don’t forget Travel insurance. Like glue, boring but necessary.