Checklist before you leave on your trip
- Air tickets: check your departure times and date. Where possible buy e-tickets it saves you time when you inadvertently lose the document you can always pull out a copy from the computer or provide the ticket number. Paper tickets are more likely to get lost and end up having to wait for months to claim the lost ticket. Make sure you save a copy of your e-ticket in your traveling email…
- Call your credit card company to inform them of your trip and when your trip will end so that your charge card won’t get blocked by your card company because of a foreign charge and also charges are blocked overseas if someone happen to steal your card number and charge on the card. Sometimes you have to call the card company a few times before you leave to remind them.
- Check your visa documents and passport size photos if you need them to get visa on arrival.
- Make sure you have enough passport pages in your passport. Usually try to have at least 2 pages in your passport for each country you will be visiting (not transiting at the airports). This is if you will get your visa on arrival at the country you are visiting.
- Make copies of your passport and visa scan it and send it to your traveling email in case your passport is lost or visa lost you can contact the proper authorities to provide those copies.
- Make sure you have your health/accidental /emergency evacuation insurance. Most important is health /accident coverage. Make sure that the coverage will pay for you while you are in the hospital or need assistance in the country you are traveling. Costs are covered and not require you to pay first and claim later.
- Check with your mobile phone carrier if they have roaming coverage in the countries you are traveling. Make sure your phone is compatible to receive or make calls in the country you will be traveling.
- Make sure you have your travel agent’s mobile phone number in your phone or where you can access information in case of an emergency..
A packing list is always one of the forgotten processes for some who plan to travel on a long holiday but probably one of the most important step to have an enjoyable vacation. We listed some important reminders and check lists from our traveler’s experiences:
- Does your passport have at least 6 month validity from the date of departure on your trip.
- Check your visa requirement to your destination. Check the entry date on your visa and validity of the visa.
- When possible book e-tickets if you happen to lose your ticket you can always printout your ticket online.
- Always make extra copies of your passport and keep it separate from your original.
- Copy of your travel insurance and emergency contact. It’s best to have those numbers entered in your mobile phone.
- Call your credit card company to inform them of your trip and when your trip will end so that your charge card won’t get blocked by your card company because of a foreign charge and also charges are blocked overseas if someone happen to steal your card number and charge on the card. Sometimes you have to call the card company a few times before you leave to remind them. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted as oppose to Amex.
- Make sure your tour operator know of any allergies you may have.
Electronics or gadgets:
- If you have a 3 program plug you will need to bring an adapter to change to 2 prongs (flat and round). Most countries will have plugs for 2 prongs.
- Make sure your electronics can take 220 volts as most countries.
- Sometimes it’s a good investment to bring a back up mobile phone where you can use a local SIM card for calls. It’s much cheaper then using your regular mobile phone and paying roaming calls.
- Don’t forget your charger for your electronics and check to see if they are Compatible with 220 volts.
- A small pocket solar calculator to convert exchange rates
Clothing & Miscellaneous:
- Know where you are traveling and the weather you should expect. Traveling to a tropical area you will expect to see mosquitoes so bring some long sleeve short and long pants for the evening.
- Traveling to Asia it is frowned upon to wear shorts that are 6 in. above the knee. Especially going into temples or places of worship. Wearing a dress is fine if you plan to dress light but always go into temples. Wearing short a few inches above the knee is fine.
- Shirt or blouse covering your shoulder. Revealing shoulders are frowned upon.
- Head cover to protect from hot tropical weather
- Insect repellent
- Stomach medicine
- A good book for those sometimes flight delays
The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere in Asia and is easily exchanged to local currency. While traveling overnight outside of the big cities, it is advised for you to bring local currency .
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in high end restaurants and some high end shops. Most or all hotels will accept Visa and Mastercard. USD cash are accepted everywhere. The USD is very strong in Asia so you will get a good exchange and use the local currency to pay your purchases.
We don’t suggest you take the traveler checks because most hotels, restaurant, shop will not accept traveler’s checks. Regarding bring cash I would advise bring 50’s, 20’s, 10’s, 5’s and 1’s in USD cash. We find you can never go wrong by bringing USD.
USE of ATMs: ATM’s are widely used in Asia. You will receive local currency from ATM’s. You should check with your bank as they usually set the limit on your card.
Food & Drink
We ask you drink bottled water which is sealed on top. please donot drink water from tap even at hotel.
Asian cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients, subtle herbs or a bit more zing with hot peppers. . Another staple is rice with nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce), an accompaniment to almost any meal. Spring rolls, seafood, tropical fruits and many unique sweets are also widely enjoyed throughout the Asia countries.
Cost of meals:
Meals per day you would estimate about 40 – 60 US/person/day for 2 people. As for the high end restaurants you would add an additional 20 US/person/person. You will find that high end meals in Asia are much more affordable then western countries unless you are dining in the 5 star hotel restaurants.
Travelers are advised to be up-to-date on tetanus, typhoid, and polio immunizations. Bottled water is available throughout the country. Here is a short checklist.
Bring some insect repellent (with deet) as you are traveling in a tropical area. While traveling always remember to drink water as it will help you acclimatize to the tropical temperatures. Bring a cap or a hat.
- Bring your medicine if you need to use daily, some drugs you may not find in Asia.
- Bring medicine for your stomach in case food doesn’t agree or to treat diarrhea.
- Water from the faucet is use to brush your teeth not to drink. Always drink bottled water if you are thirsty. Drinks at restaurants should be chilled avoid drinking ice cubes when traveling in the rural area. Avoid eating fresh salads when you eat on the street. Fruits should always be peeled right when you eat if you wanted to eat in the rural area not peeled before and left out in the sun.
Here are some recommendations of products you may wish to purchases:
wood products are better purchased in Indonesia, ceramics, Fine handicrafts, embroidered articles, rattan and bamboo products, lacquer wares and marble carvings of high quality can also be found in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Silk in Vietnam is of some of the highest quality in the world. Women and men can have clothing custom tailored in a day or two. Jewelry can also be made to customer specification. Precious stones should only be bought from the government jewelry company (SJC) as they have certification of origination, which you will need when you leave Vietnam and reenter your home country. Please let us know if you would like recommendations. If fine jewelry is too cheap to be true then it’s too cheap to be true.
Tipping with ones for the hotel porters is useful. Tipping for guides are on average 7 – 10 US/day/person and drivers about 3– 5 US/day/person.( also depending on group size). Tipping is not expected only if they do a good job then you can tip as you feel. Tipping in restaurants 10% of bills is good tip. Local food stalls along the road you do not need to tip. Usually only in sit down A/C restaurants if good service is provided.
Dress and Etiquette
- In Asia it’s ok to wear shorts. Going to temples you should avoid wearing tank tops or revealing bare shoulders.
- Asia is a very casual so you won’t need any formal clothes but I do recommend bringing one or 2 collared shirt if you plan to dine at a formal restaurant.
- When you shake hands you shake with 2 hands holding the other person you are greeting.
- Do not point your finger at a person unless you mean to offend them.
- When you call someone to you your palms should face the ground and pull towards you. Do not have your hands facing up flipping towards you when you want someone to come to you as it’s disrespectful.
- Hugging is a show of close friendship and does not mean anything more then that.
- Holding hands men and men or women and women is a show of close friendship like brothers and sisters. Does not mean anything more than that. Same with arms over the shoulders or hand on the lap.
- Women do not always necessarily shake hands with men and usually a nod of acknowledgement will do fine.
Laundry can be done at the hotels and can usually be done in 1 day. There are also outside laundry service that’s usually 1/3 the price of what the hotels charge you but make sure you have time to send out your laundry as it may take 1-2 days.
Do's & Don'ts
• It’s ok to wear shorts. Going to temples you should avoid wearing tank tops or revealing bare shoulders or thighs. Bring a shawl to cover your legs if you enter the temple or avoid going to the main prayer room.
• Bringing one or 2 collared shirt if you plan to dine at a formal restaurant.
• When you shake hands you shake with 2 hands holding the other person you are greeting.
• Hugging is a show of close friendship and does not mean anything more than that.
• Do try local foods but make sure it’s cooked hot.
• Do try to say a few local words in the country you travel to .eg. in Vietnamese like Xin Chao (Hello) or Cam On (Thank you). Vietnamese people love to smile when they hear you try to speak his/her language.
• Do take lots of pictures people don’t mind. Just don’t take pictures of military installations or police officers.
• Do take a taxi when you need to get around town as they are air-conditioned and run on a meter. . Make sure you know how to read the meter as there are many zeros and you might pay for more than the actual cost.
.Asking the Taxi price from/to hotel if there is no meter, some countries donot use meter on taxi such as Myanmar,Thailand sometimes.
• Do not point your finger at a person unless you mean to offend them. When you call someone to you your palms should face down and pull towards you. Do not have your hands facing up flipping towards you when you want someone to come to you as it’s disrespectful.
• Don’t eat food on the sidewalk unless it’s cooked hot.
• As you cross the street DO NOT STEP BACK while you are in the middle of the street move forward and do not make sudden moves.
.Do not give money to people begging, especially children. This reinforces the belief that begging is an acceptable way to make a living. If children make money from begging, their parents are less likely to send them to school. Children working on the streets are also vulnerable to abuse.
.Giving money and goods to beggars can accentuate an unequal relationship between locals and visitors, with tourists being seen as purely money givers.
Picking up at the airport
If we pick you up at the airport we will ALWAYS have your name sign to pick you up. There are sometimes taxis at the airport who want to trick you into getting into their taxi so pretend to represent a travel company or hotel. If You are unsure call our 24 hour mobile number : +84-912.130.878.