Not-planning a trip to Vietnam

You may remember that I decided last week to take a trip to Vietnam without luggage or plans. But how do you not plan for a trip across the globe?

The old ways are hard to give up. No sooner was this plan hatched than I was online browsing Lonely Planet for a Vietnam guidebook. Perhaps more importantly, I couldn’t help browsing for the travel dress and satchel that I’ll wear for 10 days straight. (Because of course even a stuff-less trip requires a little stuff.) The dress has to be lightweight merino wool, because it won’t wrinkle or smell; it will be breathable in a humid environment, but can be warmed up with leggings for chilly nights. This closeout from Icebreaker is a top contender:

And this satchel is just right for carrying a camera, passport, notebook, toothbrush, mascara, and one change of underwear (because a girl’s got standards, a’right?):

I’m going to concede that it will be necessary to apply for a visa before I go. I will also prebook my first night in Vietnam in a hotel, because I know myself well enough to admit that I will be a monster from travel fatigue and jetlag. It will be crucial to my mental health to have one night to get my bearings in Hanoi before jumping off into…?

Other pseudo-plans include getting in touch with some folks in Hanoi via couchsurfing.org to get to know them and feel out potential hosts. And even if I’ve sworn off making plans, I’ll definitely read Lonely Planet Vietnam cover to cover, because part of the fun of travel for me is learning about the place I’m headed.

For those of you who are used to traveling spontaneously and roaming freely (I know you’re out there), what is the bare minimum of planning that you consider essential? If you’re headed on a road trip, what do you make sure to take care of ahead of time?

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3 thoughts on “Not-planning a trip to Vietnam

  1. Hi. I am currently in New York City using airbnb.com. I bring cell phone, tablet, journal, 3 books, and 3 pants, socks, tees, unders, and 6 shirts (i spent time in Florida before coming to NYC), light jacket, plastic zip lock bags to carry fruits and veggies, sunglasses, charger cords, favorite writing pens and ink. It’s freezing in NYC so my “stuff” will grow.I need a coat and probably a hat. All fits in one duffle and one carry on. I like your idea of going light…being empty handed sounds heavenly but missing my “essentials” would be irritating. Thanks for posting such interesting blogs. (i made your paleo granola twice!).

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