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Going to Vietnam? Don't forget your visa..

I planned our honeymoon before I planned our wedding. We were going to have an amazing trip to Vietnam staying on the beach, going scuba diving, eating amazing food, seeing the golden bridge, hiking, and so much more! Our hotels, flights, and transits from the airport were booked!


Well, we arrived to check in for our flight bright and early to realize we missed one crucial step... Our visas...


Now, I've been to Indonesia and even China, and I was able to get my visa when I arrived in the country. When I was doing my visa research I read that we could get a pre-approval letter to get visa upon arrival.. Well, my brain, in wedding planning fog, understood that as we could get our visa when we land.. I messed up..

(Now that I am writing this blog after the fact, I can see that it is very clear that we need to apply for an e-visa well in advance...)


Don't make the same mistake!! For any country, check the visa requirements! It seems very straight to the point, but it is an easy step to miss in a busy lifestyle.



Since we got to the airport early, and learned of our mistake, we went ahead and applied for the e-visa at that moment because it says we could hear back in early as 3 hours..

After we paid, it stated that we could hear back within 3 hours to 30 DAYS!.... We have still yet to hear back - it's been 3 weeks...


You e-visa will cost you about $25 per person.


 

Now, let me tell you what happened.

These situations are always frustrating, but your trip doesn't have to be ruined. We had 3 stressful hours before having a wonderful 8 day honeymoon.


First requirement of long distance travel: you need to be okay with change and be ready to have a real adventure. In order to not lose all our money, we had to plan a new honeymoon within 1 hour, so we could change our flights before the original called final boarding.

We flew with Jet Blue, so we looked at every single country they fly to and tried to figure out if we needed a visa and what prices are like in each location.

It was a little bit overwhelming, so we decided to go with Mexico and to stay in an all-inclusive so we would an entirely stress free trip.


Second requirement is to always be nice when things go wrong, even if it is not your fault (in our case it was our fault). The representatives in person, were very kind, but they weren't able to help change the flights, so we had to call the hotline. We got transferred several times after repeatedly telling the story, but everyone was so understanding.

Eventually we we were able to transfer our flight! However, we lost the flight cost difference... Flying to Cancun from Atlanta is much cheaper than flying to Vietnam.. We lost about $900 per person. They couldn't give us a credit because our original trip was booked with a sister airline.


A third recommendation for long distance travel is to make sure you get accommodations with good refund policies. Unfortunately, we did not get our money back or very little from most of our stays in Vietnam.


This seems like a loss, but we learned some great lessons, and still had a wonderful vacation.


Read about our time in Mexico, in our next post.

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