Once you’ve decided to hit the road and have your visas sorted, the next thing on your travel to do list should be vaccinations. But which ones do you need and which ones do you get for free?
Coupled with decent travel insurance, a short stint as a human pin cushion will hopefully save you from seeing the inside of a doctor’s surgery, or worrying about access to medicines whilst you’re abroad. First thing’s first, get in touch with your local travel nurse, but before you do consider these questions:
Where are you travelling to?
Recommended vaccinations differ not only from country to country, but even between regions. So, if you’re visiting any mountainous areas, the jabs you’ll need will be different from if you stick purely to the coast (as in Vietnam and a lot of other Southeast Asian countries).
When are you going away?
Are you going to be somewhere during the monsoon season when there’ll be lots of riddled mosquitoes and other flying nasties buzzing around? The season you’re going to be travelling in will also effect which diseases you’ll need to be protected against.
Are you going off the beaten track?
If you plan to skip off the typical tourist trail, camping or sleeping outdoors, then you might consider a more comprehensive health plan, including vaccinations against some of the more exotic (and usually more difficult to treat) diseases.
Gather all of this information before approaching your travel nurse and they’ll be able to identify which vaccinations you’ll need much faster. There are a few that are completely free in the UK – fantastic news if you’re travelling on a budget as jabs can get expensive. The NHS give the following travel vaccinations for free because these are the ones you’re most likely to encounter and bring home, wherever you jet-off to:
- Hepatitis A
- Tetanus – given to most people in the UK as kids, but check when your last dose was
Depending on your destination, other recommended travel vaccinations on the menu might include:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
For more information and up-to-date details on the specific health risks in your chosen destination, check out the NHS Fit for Travel portal.
What else should you think about whilst planning your holiday or extended trip? Find more tips on packing and much more here.