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Preparing for Your Trip to Southeast Asia

Travel Tips on Packing, Visas, Insurance, Phone Roaming, and Flu Prevention


On your next Southeast Asia Trip, don't fly in blind. Make sure you're prepared to handle the weather, culture, and travel conditions wherever you're headed.

The list that follows ought to help you prepare for your trip to Southeast Asia, although keep in mind it's a rather general list, covering a wide range of conditions in the region. Be sure to click on the following links for more fine-grained or country-specific information.

Get the Right Visa for the Country You're Visiting

Image © Alexander Steffler / Creative Commons

Conditions for entry regarding US citizens vary widely throughout the region. Most countries in Southeast Asia allow fairly easy visa-free entry, or visa upon arrival, for stays ranging from two weeks to three months. The only exception is Vietnam, which requires US passport holders to get prior visa approval at a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.

Set your Phone to Roam

Image © Sergei Filippov

Cellphone roaming in Southeast Asia is quite easy, assuming your phone meets certain criteria. Your phone should be compatible with the GSM cellular standard, using the 900/1800 band. Also, your cellphone provider should also allow international roaming; barring that, your phone should be SIM-unlocked to let you use local prepaid SIM cards. The latter option may be preferable if you're planning to do a lot of calling from abroad; roaming charges are often quite exorbitant.

Pack Right for Your Trip

For most destinations in Southeast Asia, light, loose cotton clothing will do for most destinations in Southeast Asia all year round. Most towns in the region are quite conservative (even cities), so wear clothes that cover your shoulders and legs when visiting temples, mosques, or churches. Destination-specific advice is available at the following link.

Get Insured Before You Go

Image © Christina Milan/Creative Commons

When traveling to Southeast Asia, you should mitigate the obvious travel risks and get travel insurance. Many destinations are miles away from the nearest hospital or clinic. If something terrible happens to you so far from home, insurance can save you much-needed time and resources, as accidents, cancelled flights, or property loss can cost more than you could possibly afford.

Take Precautions Against Bird Flu

Image Courtesy of Pricegrabber

H1N1 can strike anywhere, and most countries in Southeast Asia have cases of bird flu infection. Amazingly, flu is almost ridiculously easy to avoid, assuming the right precautions are taken. These tips should prepare your for travel to an affected country.

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