Planning a trip to Laos? By now you might have done your research, and know a bit about Laos. You might already get excited and dream of the place you’re heading to. But wait! You need to plan your trip a bit before you go.
A careful planning plays an essential role in determining your travel experience (good or not so-good). Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning a trip to Laos.
If you plan to go to other countries in the region before or after Laos (e.g Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam), at least determine where to go first, next and last plus the entry/exit points in Laos. It’s important to have a clear plan to avoid doubling back that can eat up your time and money.
Plan your itinerary carefully. It helps saving hassle, time and money if you plan your routs thoroughly.
Decide where and how to get your tourist visa. Tourist visas are now valid for 30 days. Here are two ways to get the Lao visa:
Arrange it with the Lao Embassy, either in your neighbor countries if there isn’t one in your own country or in one of Laos’s neighboring countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China). Allow plenty of time if you chose this option.
Get it at Lao border or airport. Tourist visa is issued at most Lao ports of entry. Visa fee ranges from US$20 (China) to US$42 (Canada). Remember to take exact amount of money and 2 passport photos for that.
Please note that not everyone is eligible for Lao visa-on-arrival, you better checkto make sure you aren’t in the list of “not entitle” nationalities.
Get your passport ready. Make sure your passport is not expiring within the next six months. You won’t be given a visa to enter Laos if your passport has less than six months validity. It can be worse if you plan to get a Lao visa-on-arrival, and arrive at a Lao border or Airport only to find your passport is invalid.
If you consider taking anti-malarial drugs, take it well in advance because you might have awful reactions to anti-malarial. If you take it too close to your travel date, you may still feel awful on your vacation. It’s best to ask your doctor.
Sort out your traveler check or credit card(s) for use in Laos. Take some cash as well. Small notes make it easy when you need to buy things on the go like bottled water and snacks.
Book/buy your tickets early. Book your ticket as soon as you have a clear plan. You can save good amount of money by purchasing your ticket early. Stay with the same airline during your entire trip to receive round-trip or connecting fare discounts.
If you’re on medication ask your doctor for your prescribed medicine. Take enough for the period of your travel. It’s a good practice to keep them in their original packages (in case you have to declare at the airport security checkpoint). Putting them in your carry-on bag to ensure that you have your medicine whenever you need.