Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are flights included in the cost of my trip?

International flights to and from the destination are not included in the program fee. Discover Corps has a partnership with several agencies who can assist in organizing airfare if needed.

Q: Can I travel solo? Are there additional fees?

We welcome solo travelers on all trips, and there is no additional fee unless a single room upgrade is requested. We also offer certain dates that say STS (Solo Traveler Savings), which offer a single room upgrade for no additional cost. Locate these available dates on each individual trip page or contact us for more information.

Q: What does ‘double occupancy’ mean? Does that mean the trip prices covers two people?

Double Occupancy refers to the accommodations (double room). The program fee you see on each trip page is per person.

Q: What essential documents do I need to take?

Any international travel requires a valid passport and a visa. Discover Corps recommends you take 2 photocopies of your passport and leave one at home and take the other with you. 

Q: I have a disability or someone in my family has a disability – will that be an issue?

Generally no, but it depends on the severity of the issue. Many countries outside of the U.S. do not adhere to the same wheel accessibility as the U.S., so we recommend contacting Discover Corps directly to discuss and determine which trip would work best.

Q: I have special dietary requirements – will that be an issue?

Vegetarians diets can be accommodated. We do our best to accommodate all diets, but we do recommend you still inquire with a Discover Corps Travel Specialist about specific needs.

Q: Is the water safe to drink in the country I’m visiting?

It is not recommended to drink tap water in Vietnam. Discover Corps will provide purified water for all of our travelers.  Ice cubes in drinks is generally okay in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls. Some minor stomach problems are always possible when traveling in exotic countries. Bring a supply of your usual anti-diarrhea medicine.

Q: Do I need travel insurance? What should it cover?

Travel Insurance is not required but we highly recommend that a plan is purchased to protect against any delays or cancellations that could incur. We partner with ArchRoam Right, and can refer you to them for a quote. For more information click here

Q: Are my belongings safe while I’m on my trip? Are there safes for storing valuables?

Yes. We trust that your belongings are protected while under our staff’s watch. Please contact your Travel Specialist in regards to questions about included amenities at each lodging such as lockboxes. 

Q: Is tipping commonplace in the places we’re visiting?

Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated.It is customary to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped. 

Q: I’m concerned about the political stability and/or safety of the country we’re visiting. Is it safe?

Vietnam is a safe country to visit. As a global rule, never leave your valuables unattended in the vehicles, and always maintain eye contact and a firm grip on cameras and shoulder bags.  Choose reliable metered taxi companies (they are cheap and air-conditioned). Choose Mai Linh Taxi, Vinasun, Vina Taxi in Saigon (HCMC), and Hanoi Taxi and CP Taxi in Hanoi. Best to avoid other brands on the streets. Grab, Go Viet, Be are available in Saigon and Hanoi.

Q: What is the best way to carry money?

It’s best to divide money into different places and keep small bills handy. In some destinations, accommodations offer safety boxes. If you need money once in-country, there will be ATMs to take out money at the airport. 

Q: What if I end up ill or get injured on the trip and am unable to continue? What happens then?

In the case of injury or illness, first and foremost, we would seek proper medical attention. In each of the locations we operate, we have designated medical clinics and hospitals that we take travelers to in such cases. Discover Corps also includes a comprehensive medical insurance policy for each traveler who goes abroad with us. Please see the medical insurance section of this pre-departure handbook for exact coverage descriptions.

If you are unable to join Discover Corps prior to the trip, travel insurance (if you have booked it before) will cover the costs depending on the severity of and reason for the situation. 

Q: What type of luggage do you recommend I take?

Overall, the rule of thumb across all of our trips is to pack as lightly as possible. This will simply reduce the amount of luggage you are carrying around throughout the trip and make things easier. Typically, rolling luggage works best, but keep in mind that uneven sidewalks and cobblestones in many destinations may make this more difficult.

Q: What clothes and footwear should I pack?

Each destination varies in climate, so it is recommended to look over the packing list that is provided under each destination. Please reference the packing list here.

Q: Can I opt out of certain activities?

Travelers can opt out on certain activities, but keep in mind that each program is a set price and includes most activities.

Q: Will my mobile phone work? Will I have access to the Internet?

It’s not guaranteed that your phone will work, we recommend reaching out to your cell phone provider to see the available international plans. WiFi will be accessible at the accomodations. Vietnam has an exceptional amount of cafés and restaurants offering free WIFI connections, if having a meal or a drink internet fees are waived.

Q: Are you allowed to pet the animals you see?

Some trips will allow you to have direct contact with the animals you are volunteering with. However, to protect the wildlife and the safety of our travelers, it is not recommended to touch any wildlife that is not permitted by your guide.

Q: How Far in Advance do I need to Reserve my trip?

The farther in advance you book, the better selection of dates you’ll have. On most trips you’ll want to book 3 to 6 months out. For holiday trips, you’ll want to reserve 6 to 8 months out. Rest assured, though, we’re also masters at accommodating last-minute reservations!

Q: Which language is spoken in Vietnam?

The national language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. In big cities and places with many tourists, people will speak basic English. The younger generation will be more adept at speaking English, while the older generation still speaks some French. Because Vietnamese has six different tones, it is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. Russian and Chinese are also spoken by some people.

Q: What can I buy in Vietnam?

Souvenirs to look out for in Vietnam include lacquer ware, silk, conical hats, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, marble, ceramics, silver jewelry, antique watches, and paintings. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in the center of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains.

Q: Time in  Vietnam:

Vietnam is GMT + 7 and does not operate daylight-saving system.