When considering a trip to Vietnam, it's important to understand that its history is one full of war, colonization, and rebellion. While many of us are familiar with only the Vietnam War, it is only one of many that have taken place in this country, but was by far one of the most brutal. Over two thirds of the population in Vietnam today was born after 1975 but Americans will receive a warm welcome if they decide to vacation here. Many Vietnamese citizens aspire to American culture.
When visiting Vietnam, English is not widely known. Much of the youth have a basic handle on it but Vietnamese is still widely used throughout the country. As for money, the common currency is known as the Dong. It has stabilized over the years but can be hard to use and exchange outside of its borders. The US dollar is still widely accepted, though, making payment easy for many. The exchange rate is 18,000dong to $1US so it's actually better to pay in Dong if possible.
When you are visiting, make sure you take in all there is for food. Food is one of the main staples of Vietnam and plays a major part in their culture. It can be found at the center of their daily rituals to their most major holidays. You should also make sure you don't miss out on bia ho'i which is draft beer that is brewed daily. It can be found throughout the country and can be found easily. Use it as an opportunity to sit back, relax, and take in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Also, don't think that lodging is an issue, either. You can find some scruffy hotels for as little as $4US per couple to some extravagant, high end resorts all throughout the country.
The crime rate in Vietnam is low, especially since the country is extremely keen on building up the industry. Punishments for crimes against tourists are severe, resulting in it being a safe place to visit. Purse snatching and things of that nature can happen in larger cities so just be sure your smaller valuables are secure. Vietnam hosts a great nightlife, though, so get out there and enjoy the scene! Also, before purchasing souvenirs that portray communistic symbolism, make sure you think about where you wear it. You may offend people back home in places like the USA. Vietnam is on its way from recovering from civil war and is very keen on increasing the tourism industry.