We did it! We took a 27 hour flight and flew to Vietnam for 3 months with our just-turned-one-year-old twins. How did we do it? How did we pack? What did we bring? Let me start by saying, it was not easy. But, it sure was an adventure.
Let’s start with our trip prep -Immunizations, Packing, and Planning:
Immunizations: about 6 weeks before we left, we contacted our pediatrician who recommended that we visit a travel clinic. We went to the travel clinic at Children’s Hospital. Since the girls had not yet turned one, the only vaccination that they could get for Vietnam was Japanese Encephalitis (outside of the ones they get for their 1 year such as Hep A and flu shot). This was a two part vaccination, so we had to do a follow up one month later. We also got a prescription for Malaria pills. The travel clinic made us a bit nervous with all of the potential diseases that the babies could contract in Southeast Asia. And, if they didn’t get a disease, they could get bitten by a ravenous dog, or get into an auto accident… hmm.
Packing: Since we have quite a bit of experience travelling, I know that having less is better. Too much stuff can weigh you down. But, I’ve also never traveled to a third world country with babies, so I wanted to be sure we had the right stuff, that we couldn’t get in Vietnam. Here’s the essentials that we packed (don’t forget this is for twins):
- 250 diapers (this will last us approx 1 month)
- 8 packages of wipes
- Swim diapers
- Sun hats
- 2 sets of bathing suits
- 2 sets of rompers
- 8 long sleeve shirts
- 8 t-shirts
- 2 sweat shirts
- 4 pairs of leggings/jeans
- 2 jackets
- 2 raincoats
- 4 PJ’s
- 2 pairs of sneakers, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of moccasins
- 2 Swaddles
- 2 Sleepsacks
- 2 Blankets
- 2 Crib Sheets
- 2 Baby Bjourn Travel Cribs
- 2 Lobster Chairs (to be used as high chairs)
- 6 sippy cups
- 2 cups/plates
- A whole bunch of pouches, Nosh’s, puffs and peanut butter crackers
- 1 City Mini GT Double Stroller
- 1 Diaper Bag
- 2 Ergo Carriers, 1 Solly wrap, 1 ring sling
- One small bag of toys, 4 books
- Sunscreen, bug spray
- All the meds – tylenol, advil, cough medicine, benedryl, diaper rash cream, etc.
Here’s what it looked like unpacked:
Prior to our trip, I joined the local expat facebook group. Here, I met other expats and figured out where we should live. We picked a Full-Service Apartment Complex in D2, called Riverside. It was actually quite expensive ($3,000 US for a two-bedroom, per month). We chose this because it is perfect for families with young children, has many activities (kids activities, yoga, swimming, tennis, restaurant), etc. and most of all, is safe. It’s outside of the hustle and bustle of busy Saigon, and is filled with Western families – US, Israeli, European and Japanese (more or less). Through this facebook group I also found a good medical practice very close to our apartment, in case of emergency.
Speaking of medical practices, we purchased medical insurance through travelinsurancecenter.com. We went with the Patriot International plan, which cost our family around $500 for 3 months and includes all out of pocket medical expenses (minus a $100 deductible). It also has emergency medical evacuation coverage up to $500,000.
With an apartment booked, emergency medical information and medical insurance, we felt pretty good and prepared for our trip!
We can’t wait to share our adventures with 1 year old twins in Vietnam… stay tuned!