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How much do I need to travel to Vietnam?

26th November 2019

Vietnam is an intricate mix of bustling cities, bursting at the seams with sensory overload, and forgotten hill tribes basking in the serenity of their surrounds. Not for the faint-hearted, the country offers Western travellers a chance to forget about the luxuries of home and immerse in a lifestyle entirely unlike their own. 

Planning a trip to Vietnam can be confusing, especially when you grappling with a new language, new culture and a seriously long country size-wise. Regardless of whether you settle on a single city, or plan on travelling the length of the country, your holiday budget is something that also needs to be considered. 

Vietnam is a very cheap destination; however, that doesn't mean you should throw caution to the wind and spend willy-nilly. Preparing (and sticking to) a travel budget will not only help you feel slightly more organised amidst the chaos of Vietnam, but it gives you an idea of how much cash you need to exchange before you leave. 

New to this travel budget business, or already too frazzled from planning your Vietnamese itinerary? No stress, we've broken down the basics below, and we've got a nifty travel budget calculator that does all of the hard work for you. 

Before we fire up the calculator, let's take a look at what goes into a Vietnamese travel budget? 

What goes into a budget for Vietnam?

Transport

Vietnam isn't too far away from Australia (at least when compared to Europe and America), so flights generally aren't too expensive. If you're flying economy, you should be able to secure flights under $900. If you can't, you're being ripped off and should look for different travel dates. 

As mentioned earlier, Vietnam is a very long country, so travelling across it can be somewhat time-consuming. There are 20 airports throughout Vietnam, so cross-country flights are an option if you're in a rush. They are generally pretty cheap; however, there may not be daily flights so you might need to juggle your itinerary. 

If you've got more time on your hands, trains, buses and scooters are the next best way to get to new cities. Straight up, though, while cheap, the journeys can be unpredictable and tedious. If travelling by train, opt for the highest class/level you can afford. Trust me, the little extra cost is worthwhile, especially if it means avoiding the somewhat grim circumstances of cheaper cabin classes during a 10-hour train ride. 

A lot of travellers opt to hire or buy a scooter/motorbike and ride the length of the country. This is an incredible experience, and fuel is super cheap, make sure you have reliable travel insurance that covers riding motorbikes and ensure you have a working cell phone to get you out of any trouble.

Finally, many people join group tours which take the stress out of travel completely as the guides organise transport for you. While slightly more expensive, it may be worthwhile if it's your first time to Asia or you don't have time to nut out the details. 

Inner-city transport varies with each city. The cheapest option is, of course, walking, with bike hire coming in next. If the heat proves too much or you need to go a longer distance, taxis are another great option. Just be sure to negotiate the price fiercely before you get in to avoid getting ripped off. 

Accommodation

Vietnam boasts plenty of accommodation options for every traveller; however, choices may dwindle as you get further out of the main cities. Hotels and resorts are a great option if you are seeking luxury, though they are quite expensive relative to other accommodation choices. 

If you're happy to skip out on a bit of luxury, hostels, bed and breakfasts and homestays are very affordable options. No seriously, you can get a week’s accommodation for less than 30 Aussie dollars. Read up on reviews if you are worried about staying there and make a decision based on those. I would highly recommend at least one night in a homestay though, especially in the more remote villages. They are incredible ways to have an authentic cultural experience, meet lovely people and save some cash. Chances are they will cook you a delicious homemade meal too. 

Food

Vietnam is renowned for having super fresh, flavorful dishes that will excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more. You can't go past Pho, Banh Mi, spring rolls, bun cha and all of the fragrant noodle soups and meat dishes. Street food is incredibly cheap, and you can get a full meal for less than 2 Aussie dollars, beer and all. 

While in Vietnam it is worth investing in a cooking class, not only do you get to learn the tricks of the trade but you also get to each your creations at the end. 

If you're new to Asia and the street food scene, it's also worth joining a street market tour. The guide will show you where and what to eat, as well as give tips on getting the freshest cuisine. They allow you to step out of your comfort zone while not stressing about food poisoning or mystery meat in a new city. If you are still worried, opt for places with long lines. Chances are they are popular for a reason and are using fresh ingredients to service the longer lines. 

If you get sick of the street food (unlikely), you can always head to a fast-food chain or restaurants. While more expensive than home, you will still be able to get a full meal for less than $10. 

Activites

Eating aside, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Vietnam. There are heaps of history based day tours across the country that range in price. You can also opt for overnight sailing trips on the Mekong or in Halong Bay, or join hiking trips out to Sapa and more remote regions. 

Tour prices will vary with companies, and it's worth going for a company that includes return transport (air-conditioned if possible) and lunch/ meals. It's worth doing a little bit of research on what different companies offer, or ask your hotel for their recommendation. 

Finally, shopping is a huge past time in Vietnam with plenty of options for knock-off luxury goods and tailored suits. If you plan on indulging in some retail therapy, it's worth bumping up your daily budget and researching the best tailors in your city to ensure beautiful handicraft and a reasonable price. 

Pre-departure expenses

These are particularly important for Vietnam, as visas, travel insurance and immunisations are all necessary. The Vietnamese visa is not cheap, so be sure to include it in your budget calculations and give yourself plenty of time for it to arrive, so you don't have to fork out for express service. 

Head to your doctor and be sure to have any of the relevant immunisations. While they can be a little expensive, chances are they will cover you for a long time, and you won't need to worry about them for your next trip. 

Finally, don't just opt for your credit card insurance. If you do, be sure to read the PDS and ensure you are well covered, especially for motorbike or moped riding. Some policies have this as an added extra that you need to account for. 

How much does a trip to Vietnam cost?

New to this budget planner business? No stress, we've got a step by step guide below.

Step 1

Enter your destination (Vietnam)
Let us know how long you'll be away
Choose your currency. In this case, it will either be AUD or VND
Start counting down to your first bahn mi since you've started your holiday budget.

Step 2

Prepare to feast on delicious Vietnamese cuisine. How many Banh Mi's can you eat in one day? It's time to account for everything you plan on eating. Remember to put yourself in a holiday mindset; chances are you'll opt for eating a freshly made Vietnamese salad instead of grabbing a supermarket sandwich. 

Step 3

Shopping time!! Vietnam offers travellers the opportunity to get perfectly tailored clothes, knock-off designer goods and cheesy souvenirs at just a fraction of the price. Try to estimate how much you plan on spending every day. You might spend more on some days than others, so your daily budget is more of an averaged out figure of everything. 

Step 4

This is for all of your transport outside of flights and significant journeys. So basically, your day to day means of getting around. Have a quick Google of the transport options available in your destinations, so you know what to expect. Chances are it will be buses, taxis and trains. 

Step 5

The hard work is done! Here you'll find a simple layout of your planned expenses in both Aussie dollars and Vietnamese Dong. From here you can either go back and edit, or start saving for your holiday!

It's important to note here that this only accounts for your most basic expenses. You'll need to add in travel insurance and other daily expenses. It's also worth having a bit of wiggle room in the kitty for unexpected costs or particularly rampant shopping sprees. They happen, I've been there, and it was both invigorating and overwhelming for my bank account. 

Vietnamese Budget Examples

Here are some examples of what the bones of your travel budget would look like. Please note all of these examples are based off seven nights accommodation and are quoted in Aussie dollars. Prices will, of course, vary with seasonality and availability. 

Couples trip

This couple plans to explore everything Hanoi has to offer over the course of a week. 

Flights

$765 per person

Sydney to Hanoi return with Singapore Airlines.

Accommodation

$1500

Superior King Room in a central five-star hotel. When everything else is super cheap, why not splurge on some luxury?

Food

$50 per day

A bit of street-fare coupled with delicious restaurant cuisine (and a few cocktails for good measure). 

Activities

$50 per day

A few day tours coupled with a chance to explore the city on your own. 

Total for couple 

$3,730

That’s being generous too - talk about a cheap getaway. 

 

Family getaway

Mum and Dad are treating the kids to some Asian hospitality in the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh. 

Flights

$2574

Sydney to Ho Chi Minh return with Singapore Airlines. 

Accommodation

$706

One bedroom apartment with kitchen in the middle of the city. 

Food

$80 per day

Supermarket breakfast and lunch, coupled with plenty of street food and delicious dinners. 

Activities

$100 per day

A few days of guided tours mixed with a day or two at the museums and exploring the city on foot. 

Total

$4540

Less than 5k for an overseas adventure for the whole family? Bargain. 

 

Solo traveller

This lucky traveller is keen on immersing himself in as much history, culture and pub crawls possible throughout his seven days in Ho Chi Minh.  

Flights

$568

Sydney to Ho Chi Minh return with Scoot Airlines. 

Accommodation

$30

You read that correctly. $30 for 7 nights in a local homestay. 

Food

$20 per day

Cheap street eats will have you eating like a king for less. 

Activities

$50 per day

History and food tours with a pub crawl or two thrown into the mix.

Total

$1088

Seriously, it’s more expensive to stay in Australia. What are you waiting for?

 

Last-minute tips

  • Budgeting doesn't have to be a dirty word. It might not be the most fun part of your holiday, but it is the most important. There is nothing worse than the unexpected stress of recalculating your budget mid-holiday. 
  • Vietnam is a super cheap destination, and you’re likely to want to explore more than one city. Give yourself plenty of time and be flexible with how you get around.
  • Hostels are a great way to meet like-minded travellers and meet friends to explore with.
  • It’s super hot, so be sure to stay hydrated and be careful of the tap water.
  • Research your 'per day' budget and include the things you want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a goal to save for and some flexibility to work with
  • Take advantage of Travel Money Oz's Best Price Guarantee. If you find a better price from a competitor, they will guarantee to beat it*.
  • Most things are cheaper to book in advance (especially if you're going near peak times), but some things can be more affordable to purchase in Vietnam. Check out reviews if you think something is too good to be true. Chances are it might be.
  • Vietnam is a cash based society, but it is worth having a prepaid travel money card, like the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass, loaded with some funds so you aren’t walking around with heaps of cash.
  • Don't forget to factor in your pre-travel costs (e.g. travel insurance, immunisations and visas). These are particularly important for Vietnam.
  • Don't forget other cheeky costs like airport transfers, tours and tipping
  • Sign up for Rate Alerts. We'll let you know when the AUD is doing well against the VND so you can purchase and maximise your travel money.
  • Worried about street food? Go to the stalls that have a long line up, chances are they are popular for a reason.
  • Crossing the street is a sport, but locals will just drive around you. Seriously, you could walk across with your eyes closed and be safe because drivers are so accustomed to going around people. 

 

Flight costs based on search from www.flightcentre.com.au and are indicative costs only for travel dates 4 - 11 August 2020. Prices were sourced on November 23 2019. ^Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. 
COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. “From” costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within Italy. 
This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.