Getting more bang out of your Dong!
Updated: Sep 1
Nobody worries too much about spending money on a holiday, but nobody likes getting ripped off!
So maybe try these few things before you go to make the most of your holiday dollars.
1. Download some handy Apps and set them up with the settings as you want them prior to you going: That way as soon as you land you are GTG! ie EXE I suggest you set up with currencies you want to compare with so when you are changing your money you know how close to the mark you are. PS: Remember the EXE App is to be used as a guide.
I suggest the following Apps for starters:
b) WhatsApp or Viber
c) Grab - ride sharing service
d) Google Maps
e) Google translate
f) The App belonging to your Online travel bookings ie Booking.com etc Makes it so easy to keep track of your bookings.
2. Check out some cool websites that cover a wide range of things that are relevant to your trip and have earned a long time following like @hellohoianvietnam, Hoiannow.com and other travel groups on Facebook that you think fit your type of trip like; First time travel to Vietnam: What's Happenning? Hoi An & Danang: Vietnam Wonderful.
3. Check out local prices for ordinary things like water for instance - see my handy chart here.
4. Create what I call a "Ready Reckoner" of levels of currency starting with what 10,000 Dong = in AUD, currently that is around about .62c, so if you are charged 10,000 - 20,000 for a bottle of water which is standard on the streets, you can check your "Reckoner" and find you are paying about $1.20AUD. 1,000,000 VN can take you a long way. It might be the first time you feel like a millionaire in your life!
5. Free WIFI or use a daily rate with your service provider - Check your Mobile Phone service provider - Telstra and Vodafone offer a very good daily rate if you prefer to not get a sim and put in your phone with a new number. I mention this as a friend uses Optus and they did not support Vietnam with such a good daily plan; it was on direct usage basis and very expensive. Telstra I know I can get for $10 AUD a day and it covers me more than adequately for when I want to access Google Maps for example.Plus I can swith it on and off as I please or need. FREE WIFI is everywhere so if you want to, you don't need to get a sim at all. Just use the Apps like Viber, Whats App or Messenger for your calls and text messages.
6. Re Phone usage and data roaming - you can turn it on and off, and I suggest you do, as you will chew through very quickly. I know this might sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people, including yours truly forget to do it. The best plan of action should be to only turn it on when you are in your hotel, or local establishment to use their WIFI to download and search. Saves on your plan level. As a safety measure, I put my phone on "Flight" mode so it wont do it automatically..hahah!
7. If you have prescriptions, bring the packets, not the prescriptions, as much easier to fill at a pharmacy and could save you a doctors visit. If it is something special make sure to get it filled to cover your stay.
8. Check your baggage allowance on your flights, both Internationally and domestically. Vietnam has only recently as of August, 2019 changed their International check in baggage on certain routes. It may serve you to pre purchase "check in" luggage for domestic flights to ensure you are covered. It is such a trap if you are a shopper like me.
9. Make sure you have the correct Visa for your stay - in the names that match your passport and for the journey you are taking. ie If you plan to cross the border out of Vietnam to Cambodia for example you will need a Multiple Entry Visa, the EVisa wont cut it. See detail here on my Handy hints for details.I mention the Visa as I have sen many caught out and had to spend crazy amounts of money with service providers to get a suitable or correct Visa.
10. Buying Dong before you leave? I wouldn't suggest buying Dong at your city of departure in Australia, prior to leaving. The exchange rate is ridiculous. Plus you often to have to order it weeks in advance through your bank. Wait to get to Vietnam where ATM's are plentiful and you can easily withdraw 3,000,000 per day, at some machines even more, with only one transaction fee for about 22,000 - 50,000 Approximately. This changes regularly and depends on which bank ATM you use.
These are just a few ideas to help you save on the things you don't want to pay for when you don't have to.
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