There are a few things you should not travel without:
A map, certainly.
* Cash in US$ 20’s and $ 100’s or Baths.
* A folding umbrella if you plan to visit during the rainy season. The wettest months are July and August.
* A flashlight is a good idea, in case of power cuts.
* Electrical multi adaptor if you plan on brining electrical appliances - there are many different types of plug sockets used in Laos. Laos uses 220V AC.
* Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry.
* Hotel cards: You should keep your hotel cards or brochures to show people to get guidance in case of missing way back home.
* Business Cards. You will discover that practically everyone in Vietnam has a calling card of some kinds. The proper way to offer your card is to hold it by the corners with both hands.
* Toiletries can be found in all Lao towns, but outside Vientiane, they are limited in supply. We suggest you bring your own.
* A first aid kit is a very good idea - medical resources are very limited in Laos.
Neat and respectful dress should be worn in all religious shrines. It is not considered polite to visit religious monuments in shorts, miniskirts or hot pants. Though shoes can be worn in temple compounds, they should be removed before entering the chapel of the principal Buddha image. Indeed, all Buddha images are regarded as sacred, regardless of size, age or position, and should all be shown due respect. Buddhist monks are not allowed to touch or be touched by a woman, or accept anything from a woman's hand.
Footwear - bring sandals or slip-ons to take off easily when entering temples.
The KIP is the official currency of Laos. The bank notes are presently in denomination of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 10000, 20000, and 50000 Kips. The lower denomination notes are also used less and less due to inflation. The rate of exchange in Dec 2010 is approximately 7700 Kip for a US Dollar. There has been some devaluation of Lao Kip in the past few years. The rate of exchange in November, 2010 is approximately 8,229 Lao Kip for a US Dollar.
All major currencies such as the US Dollar, Yen, Bath and others can be exchanged at Banks that are located in all major towns. In Luang Prabang and Vientiane competitive rates are offered numerous authorized private exchange bureaus. One exchange facility is available at Wattay airport in Vientiane. Travelers can make an exchange either at licensed exchange shops in the major cities or at the major hotel. Furthermore, most domestic and foreign banks in Vientiane allowing cash withdrawals on visa credit cards ATM is only available in the Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao. Traveler Cheque and other currencies than US Dollars are only accepted by major banks but are difficult to negotiate outside the capital city. If you bring travelers cheques, they should be US$ denomination, from a well known bank.For example: American Express or VISA: It is better to carry US Dollar bills in small denominations and Thai bath while traveling in Laos. In case of journey to remote areas it is, of cause, advisable to take a good supply of kip with you.
Note: Payment by major Credit Cards such as Visa and Master, the bank charge will be applied up to 3-5% depends on individual shop and Traveler Cheque in US Dollars is charged 1-3 US Dollars per cheque.