Originally Posted by acidfast7
really good ideas:
make sure that you're Hep vaccinated and get some malaria pills if you want from the doctor in North America. most Europeans seemed to be staying longer (due to increased vacation/university time) ... most we met were traveling 8-16 months ... so they found ways to save a lot of money.
One interesting trick was to use doxycycline instead of Malarone (commonly prescribed in Europe ... don't know about North America but it's expensive ... like 30€ for 10 tablets). Doxycycline can be had everywhere down there for 0.30€/day, so ask you PCP before you go, if s/he thinks that's ok. It doesn't sound like much now, but 30€ is a lot of money there ... usually a week's accommodation or more.
Don't be a wuss - don't get the doxy. The pills do more harm than good. Don't take them unless you're planning on servicing remote cell sites in the middle of the jungle. Just get the hep vac. Don't use DEET either. There's stuff on the shelf over there called "Odomos" - it's about 1.50 for a large bottle from the stores over there. It works great.
edit: I also wouldn't really do any shopping before you go as far as clothing goes. If you fly into Saigon/Hanoi/PP, you could equip your whole trip for less than 30 USD (pants / shorts / shirts / filp-flops / hats / underwear / socks) if you can negotiate.
Try not to get new clothes stateside. It will make you more suspect to being ripped off. Nothing like ripping off the tourist wearing clothing that's not available locally for cheap. Wear a T-shirt and toss em after. Or wear them until they stink, throw them into a package and mail it home.
Ideally you will land there with a small duffel bag, pick up a used packset from Khao San or Cash Converters for cheap, and then do your shopping over there before relaxing with a half hour massage for 5 dollars.
There's nothing like a nice ICE cold Ca Phe Sua Da!