One of the recommendations for anyone heading overseas – especially to popular backpacking destinations like South East Asia and Latin America – is a course of travel vaccinations. Yet the cost of a jab in the arm can make many budget travellers think twice about visiting the doctor before they hit the road.
In my eyes, a visit to a travel doctor is just as important as purchasing your flights. Here’s why you should justify spending lots of money on travel vaccinations:
VIEW IT LIKE INSURANCE
Like I’ve said before, travel insurance is vital, even for budget travellers – and the same goes for vaccines. When you buy insurance you’re taking a gamble that if something goes wrong your premiums will cost less than replacing the items lost. Look at vaccines in the same way – $110 for Hepatitis A and B vaccine will cost you less than the treatment and ongoing costs if you actually catchHep A while overseas.
MOST OF THEM LAST FOR LIFE
As opposed to insurance which you need to buy for each trip, many vaccines last for life. Sometimes you’ll require a booster a few months down the track, but if you extrapolate the fees out over a lifetime of globe-hopping it quickly becomes justifiable.
Still not convinced? Well, there is always the big incentive:
IF YOU DON’T GET TRAVEL VACCINATIONS, YOU COULD DIE
I’m not trying to scare people or be overly dramatic with this point, but it is a real possibility in some circumstances. Japanese encephalitis and rabies (to name but two diseases) can be deadly, yet are costly to vaccinate against. It comes down to how much you value your life. Of course $265 for each shot of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine (you need two shots) is a lot, but I value my life a lot more than $530. On top of that, most of these diseases aren’t pleasant ways to go.
YOUR WALLET TAKES A HIT SO YOUR BODY DOESN’T HAVE TO
This is what it comes down to. Just because I regard myself as a budget traveller doesn’t mean I shirk the vital things. I would much rather pay big money to stay fit and healthy on the road (and upon my return home) than suffer with an incurable disease. Vaccinations are important. Make sure you visit your GP or a specialised travel doctor at least two months before you leave the country, as you may need a course of two or more injections to get full protection.
What are your views on travel vaccinations? Are you as fired up about them as I am, or do you see them as a non-vital expense? Leave your comments below.
Note: The prices mentioned in this article are in New Zealand dollars, and are sourced from the Auckland Metro Doctors‘ website.
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