will need mostly
work clothes. The only activity that you may want to “dress” for is the
ceremony with homeowners and our own farewell dinner. Lightweight
clothes are worn in My Tho. A light rain jacket and/or sweater might be
needed in air conditioned rooms. We anticipate heat and humidity
outdoors round the clock with rain likely some of the time
Most men dress casually but modestly. Long shorts are fine and “T” shirts are
generally accepted. Shoes can also be casual such as open sandals, however
closed shoes must be worn at the work site.
will see short skirts and shorts being worn by tourists, but we
shouldn't wear them on the worksite or to Habitat-sponsored events. We
need to wear non-figure
hugging blouses, long shorts, capris, or long pants at the worksite.
Long pants, dresses or skirts, should be worn for special events.
HOW MUCH CAN I
This question has an ever-changing answer. Please check
with your travel agent or the individual airlines on weight limits for
your luggage. In the United States, many airlines charge additional fees
for bags weighing over 50lbs.
WHAT KIND OF LUGGAGE SHOULD I
In general, when traveling internationally, we find that
soft-sided luggage, like duffel bags, works best on public transport and vans. Soft luggage crams
more easily into trucks and buses, as well as smaller overhead compartments on
airplanes. Soft luggage/duffels can still have wheels.
HOW SAFE WILL MY
Travelers are encouraged to secure their luggage with
locks, keeping in mind TSA (Transportation Security Administration)
concerning personal locks. Whether you use TSA approved locks or not is
you. Avoid placing electronics, jewelry, cameras or other valuables in
luggage. We also suggest that you not put anything valuable or
necessary in the outside pockets of checked luggage unless they can be
KEEP IN MIND TO:
APPROPRIATE! We are asked to dress
KEEP FLEXIBLE! Plan for all kinds of
weather, delayed buses, lost luggage, snoring roommates, and other pitfalls of group travel. The solution? Grin and bear it.
Wear what is necessary to protect yourself from the sun: hat, bandana, etc. and
use sunscreen. If you want an interesting story about sunscreen, go to: http://www.planetgary.com/sunscreen.htm
KEEP IT MINIMAL! To keep within your
weight allowance, consider bringing fewer changes of work clothes and
paying for hotel laundry service, or wash out at night. Lightweight
cotton clothing makes this an easier option, rather than t-shirts and
SPECIFIC ITEMS FOR THE
- Sturdy closed-toe shoes (tennis shoes are OK)
- Shorts, pants as described above
- Blouses, shirts as described above
- Work gloves that can handle cement plaster
- Hat or bandanna - sunburn is a reality and a danger. Some people prefer a
broad-rimmed hat, such as a straw hat, to protect the neck.
- Water bottle
- Day pack/small bag - It will be very helpful if you have a small, simple day
pack or bag to put your valuables - camera, documents, etc. - in when you are at
the worksite and while on R&R. We cannot guarantee security for these items
if they are left at the hotel. You may want to wear a passport carrier
around your waist or neck for documents, cash, etc, but put them in a zip-lock
bag to keep them from soaking up your sweat at the worksite!
OTHER CLOTHING YOU WILL NEED when not at the worksite:
- Comfortable/casual walking shoes - tennis
shoes or sandals
- Pants/shorts as described above
- Shirts/blouses as described above
OTHER ITEMS YOU MAY/WILL NEED:
- Flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor
- Passport with Vietnam BUSINESS visa
- Spending money - for whatever you need for traveling. It is suggested to
have at least $100 cash while in Vietnam for souvenirs, gifts, etc. You can change
US dollars at the airport or in town after arrival. All meals and beverages (except alcohol) are covered by Habitat. You may purchase alcoholic beverages at your own expense.
- Insect repellent - DEET level of 30 or higher is suggested.
- More patience
- TP Kit (zip-lock bag with hand sanitizer & toilet paper for a couple of
trips to the latrine)
- Alarm clock
- Throw in an extra dose of “sense of humor”
- Laundry bag (mesh, or old pillowcase) - please put your name on the outside
of the bag/pillowcase
- More and more patience
- Prescription medications, contact lens supplies (could be very dusty, especially mixing cement) and
any other personal needs, including feminine hygiene supplies
- Flashlight, extra batteries (loss of electricity is not unusual)
- An extra dose of “flexibility”
- LED headlamp - These lamps come on a strap for around your head, or there is
the kind that snaps onto the bill of a baseball cap
- Waterless antibacterial wash when water is not available (towlettes not
recommended because of disposal problem)
- Personal first aid supplies for cuts, blisters, diarrhea, constipation ( we
will also have a large Team First Aid kit, but it helps for you to have a few of your own supplies
available in your pocket at the worksite)
- Electrical adapters and converters,
depending on what you are bringing (see note at bottom for more info)
- What the heck - a little more won’t hurt - add even more flexibility,
patience, sense of humor
Tools you could bring if you can: (keep in mind weight and
that they have to be in checked baggage). There is absolutely no
requirement that you bring
tools, but Habitat Vietnam says if you've used trowels for masonry work
before, please bring one with you. On our last trip, to Kenya, there
were trowels at the work site but often not as many as we could have
OPTIONAL (consider value, weight, and
- Back support - the work is all manual
- Extra prescription glasses
- Poncho or lightweight rain jacket
- Journal, paper, pencil or pen
- Games to play with children -
frisbees, jump ropes, finger puppets, stick-on tattoos, etc. NOTE: Do not give these to children directly,
even simple gifts are not allowed. The kids can use them with you, but they must
give them back each day when play ends. We will
give them to the school or Habitat to use with all the children after we leave. The idea here is not to encourage children to think they will get gifts
every time foreign Habitat volunteers roll into the community.
- Laundry powder- in case you want to wash something out at night on your own
- but we suggest just using your shampoo or other multi-purpose soap
- A few photos of family and home to share with team and host (remember,
pictures of who we are, not what we have - like boats, houses, cars, etc)
- Camera, batteries, extra memory
- Small musical instrument - recorder, harmonica
- Ear plugs
- Illegal drugs
- Firearms, firecrackers
- Bad sense of humor
- Short tempers
TIPS AND HINTS ON HOW TO PACK IT:
- Your carry-on should have a little of everything, to get you through several
days of waiting for your luggage to catch up with you, just in case it gets lost. You wouldn’t be the first
team member that this has happened to.
- For those of you having a tough time with the baggage limit, remember that
they don’t weigh YOU! Wear as much weight as you can on the airplane to keep
your bags lighter - wear your heaviest shoes, and possibly several layers of
clothes. You can take some of those layers off and cram them in your carry-on
after you go through the inspection of your carry-on.
- Make sure you can padlock your bag to help insure against theft enroute. Do
not put items in unlocked outside pockets. (a simple duffle, with no outside
pockets works best). Use a combination padlock instead of a key. Leave the
expensive stuff you don’t need (like jewelry) at home - there will be little to
no opportunity to wear it anyway. Other valuables (cameras, binoculars, etc) should
be in your hand-carry.
- Pack leaky items (shampoo, lotions) in zip lock bags - and tighten the cap
right before you put them in. Pack most of that in your checked baggage. Read up
on the current allowances for liquids in your carry-on.
sure your bag(s) are well labeled with your name and contact info (maybe
a friend or family) - it doesn’t do any good for them to try and contact
home about a found bag since you won’t be at home! Insert a copy of your
full itinerary in each bag in case the outer labels come off.
- Hair dryers can be cumbersome. If you can share with others you know, that will help
cut down on your weight and space.
NOTE: Electrical adapters and converters
Adapters: Vietnam uses A, C & G adapters.
Go to: http://electricaloutlet.org/
and it will show you a picture and give a
description of what is needed.
Vietnam is in the process of standardization to 220v
Converters and Adapters:
converter is not the same thing as an adapter. The adapter just makes it
possible for your plug to fit the socket. Your appliance, such as a
hair dryer, must
also be able to change voltage from 120 to 240. If your appliance
a built-in converter, then you also need a converter to
accommodate the wattage of your appliance. They come in different
(wattage). A hair dryer usually takes a pretty big converter so check
Converters and adapters can be purchased at a travel store or online
(Amazon.com). Target, Joe’s (formerly GI Joe’s) and REI, among others.