Planning a Trip to Vietnam

Kai and I have been talking about going to Vietnam for more than two years. We had initially planned on going last year, but then – surprise – I took on a major apartment renovation project right around the time we had penciled in our Asia trip. So sadly, my time and money were prioritized elsewhere, and our Vietnam planning got put on hold. Thankfully, Kai wasn’t too upset about this at the time as he was training for an Ironman and had been a bit hesitant to take two weeks off of his training. So last winter and spring we focused on our personal projects, and were placated with a few long weekends trips together later in the year (here). But we continued to talk about our Vietnam vacation for the next few months, and just before Christmas we finally got around to booking our tickets to Hanoi! I’ve never been to Asia (unless you count the eastern half of Istanbul, which is kinda cheating ;) so I’m over the moon to finally explore a new continent! I really haven’t felt out of my comfort zone while traveling in many years (walking through the Spice Bazar in Istanbul during the call for prayer was probably the most ‘woah’ moment I’ve had in recent times) so I am really looking forward to feeling lost and confused and overwhelmed in a new country, in addition to discovering a new culture, dining on an exotic cuisine (spicy noodles every day!) and taking in a vast new landscape. To be honest, two weeks don’t feel like enough. There are so many beautiful cities and attractions in Vietnam, and we had a really hard time of prioritizing what to do on our trip!However, now that our vacation is a week away, I wanted to share some of the work that went into our planning process, and tell you about where we ultimately booked and why. I’ll also share my tips on finding great airfare and hotels, as well as my packing list, and how we accomplished some of the other admin-related tasks before the trip. And of course, I’ll share all of the fun photo highlights from our trip once we’re back, as well as any amends to the content here (never know if that packing list is reasonable until you’re there!) Continue reading