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Planning my next location – Vietnam

Here’s how I research and plan the next location in my digital nomad travels – Vietnam.

There’s quite a bit of research that goes into moving to a new country, even if it’s just for a few weeks or months.

There are visa requirements and covid restrictions to take into consideration, plane tickets and accommodations to be booked, and the very important research on the specific city or cities I want to live in.

The next country I’m going to be living in is Vietnam.


While living in Vietnam, I plan on staying in the cities of Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. And I plan on staying around 1 month in each, for a total of 2 months in Vietnam.


So the first research I did was to learn which Vietnamese cities were popular with digital nomads. Whether because there’s an expat community living there, because the cost of living is pretty low, or because other digital nomads have recommended it for short-term living. Or a combination of all of those reasons, honestly.

Based on that research I wanted to live in Da Nang because it’s a city by the beach (I love the beach!) and has a lot of interesting things to do close by, like the famous hand bridge called Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills, the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Hoi An, and a legit fire breathing dragon bridge.

The other city I want to live in is Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, which was also highly recommended by other digital nomads. Here I want to visit a few museums and temples, and experience the bustle and hustle of such a big city. I also booked a 2-week tour with Feel Free Travel that starts in Hanoi and ends in Ho Chi Minh City to be able to see even more of this beautiful country, and then stay in Ho Chi Minh City to explore even more.


Visa requirements are always a very important part of my research. Some countries don’t require visas for US citizens for tourist visits for up to 30, 60, or 90 days. But in the case of Vietnam, you need a visa just to enter, no matter how long you’re staying for. 

Vietnam offers (or used to offer) 1-month, 3-months, and 1-year visas. But because of covid, only the 1-month visa is available to apply for, for US citizens, right now. Due to this, instead of staying in Vietnam the 2-months straight, I have to leave the country after 30 days, and then return again for another 30 days. This is what people refer to as a visa run. And my plan is to travel to Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia for a week for my visa run, before returning to Vietnam for my second month living there.

It’s definitely an added cost to my plans, but I get to visit another country for a few days, so I take it as an opportunity to explore new places. And Malaysia doesn’t require a visa for up to 90 days for US citizens so I don’t have to worry about that.

Speaking of applying for a 1-month visa to enter Vietnam, here’s a link with all the important information about how to apply for the visa yourself:

It gives you info on what to expect, how much it costs (it was $25 USD when I applied), and even a full list of all the info you need to fill out the application. 


Covid restrictions can change from one day to another in every country, so it’s very important to keep up to date with this information. As of this writing (June 2022), Vietnam doesn’t have any entry covid requirements. But once in Vietnam, you still have to follow normal covid regulations, like social distancing, wearing a mask, and sanitizing your hands. You also have to present proof of medical/travel insurance covering Covid 19 treatment, with a minimum coverage of $10,000 USD.

Here’s a link with more up-to-date info on Covid restrictions and requirements:


Now that I know I can only stay in Vietnam for 30 days at a time, I need to plan my flights accordingly. I usually try to book my departing flight 29 days after I arrive in the country if the visa is valid for 30 days. I do this to give myself some cushion in case something happens with my departing flight. (Like it gets canceled and I can’t leave until the next day for some reason. The next day it’s still within my valid visa time, and I’m not overstaying it.) 

I also highly recommend having your departing flight booked before arriving in the country. I don’t actually know how it works for every country, but some may ask to see proof you’re leaving the country before your visa is set to expire. And you don’t want to get caught without one, or have to book a random (maybe even overpriced) departing flight right then and there. Also, the Vietnam visa application asks from which airport you plan on departing from, and once you set it, you cannot change it later. So as fun as being spontaneous can be, maybe that’s one thing you should just know beforehand. 


My favorite site to book long-term accommodations is Airbnb. It’s where I usually find the best prices and best options based on my travel style. I’m not into hostels, and although hotel rooms are fine with me, I tend to go for more homey places. 

Some of my requirements when booking long-term accommodation are under $400 USD for a month, has AC, a mini-fridge and wifi, ideally has a kitchen or kitchenette, and bonus points if it has a pool. I also search for places close to the city center where there are lots of restaurants and things to do, or near a beach if there’s one in that city. 

Oh, and I try to book this accommodation at least 7-10 days before arriving in the city. I feel this gives me enough time during the month before to see my options, wait for possible new rooms or places to become available, and book my favorite before it gets taken or before I start stressing out (too much) about it.


Apart from everything I mentioned above, I also do plenty of research of things to do in each city and nearby areas, which areas are more popular with digital nomads within that city, and what dishes or restaurants are worth trying. I also research how’s the public transportation, what’s the currency and language, and things NOT to do (either to not offend the culture, or to stay safe from any scams or crime.)

I hope this blog post is useful to you when planning your next long-term travel destination, whether it’s to Vietnam or somewhere else. And I hope you also learned what goes into MY process to plan my next location. 

Heads up: As a way to earn passive income, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through one of those links, I might get a commission at NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support! 💕

Hand bridge Vietnam

June 23, 2022

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