When we say “traveling in good health” it implies, in the first place, to make all the necessary health checks!
First step: take all necessary medical appointments as soon as your travel project is planned. Ophthalmologist, dentist, gynecologist, GP… List of health checks can be as long as the waiting time to get a medical appointment, if you know what I mean. Another detail that weighs in: your medical bills will no longer be reimbursed by your own health insurance when your employment contract will come to an end. So better to do it sooner!
Yes and no. Some people do not want to be vaccinated by conviction, and most vaccines are not mandatory and not covered by Health Insurance.
We have made the choice to be vaccinated according to the countries we planned to visite, with our intimate conviction of the validity of vaccination, and secondly because some countries require that vaccination be made to enter their territories as it is the case for the yellow fever vaccine in South American countries.
If you want to get vaccinated, do not wait too long to make a medical appointment with your GP or at a vaccination center for advice. Keep in mind that some vaccines require boosters from 1 to 3 months after the first injection, and others are not compatible by simultaneous vaccination (such as Tick-borne Encephalitis vaccine). Not to mention possible stock-outs!…
Vaccines that we have done
If we do the math, it’s almost 600 € spent each in vaccines!
At the time this big investment seemed useful to us, but with the benefit of hindsight, we think that some vaccines (Tick-borne encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis) were not very useful since we did not travel through (yet) in risk areas…
If you are unsure about visiting risk areas, then do not rush into a useless vaccination process: you will still be able to get vaccinated abroad, in a suitable vaccination center.
Being protected is good, traveling equipped is better! And to prepare a good First Aid kit (without being too weighy with superfluous treatments), get some advices from your GP.
For your information, here is the list of medicines we took for our trip (reconditioned in small plastic bags identified and with their leaflets):
Treatment of mild to moderate pain and / or fever: take it absolutely in the form of capsules, because soluble powder can be difficult to use if there is no drinking water nearby… and in general, Paracetamol is better preserved than aspirin!
Help with difficult digestion
Antibiotic broad-spectrum, to be taken only in case of serious infection such as suspicion of malaria and on medical advice…
Disinfectant spray, to prefer to a iodine solution which does not keep very long after opening.
Always useful in case of small injuries: cuts, rubbing, blisters…
Used for its deodorant side, anti-stain, as a cleaning product, cleaning solution for fruits and vegetables, and many more!…
To be added optionally according to the places in your list:
Anti-malaria. It’s the only medicine on the list that was not covered by our Health Insurance. This drug is often prescribed in prevention, 1 tablet per day from the day before departure in the risk zone and up to 7 days after leaving the hazardous area… an incredible amount of chemicals and a huge cost for the traveler! We advice you to discuss this with your GP and eventually use this treatment in a curative way: 4 tablets / day for 3 days – for adults over 40kg.
Used for water disinfection
Useful for the night, if you don’t carry with you a tent! During the day, we advise you to wear long sleeves clothes and light pants, and use as a last resort an anti-mosquito sprays – to limit the contact of your skin with these sprays full of harmful chemicals!
A tool that comes in the form of a small lever, to remove ticks from the skin. Get a medical appointment after the tick removal: some ticks carry serious diseases, such as Lyme disease.
To use in first intention after a snake’s bite in order to suck out the maximum of venom. This does not excuse to call emergencies that will take care of the injured person quickly!
Let’s come back to our subject: VISA card holders can be covered, under certain conditions, in case of accident or illness requiring care up to 90 days after departure (by purchasing a transport ticket with their VISA card) or after the last financial transaction made in the country of residence (for travelers, like us, who do not have a transport ticket as proof of travel). And when we talk about conditions, at VISA, they don’t joke with them: can be excluded from guarantees countries in conflict being subject of a notice by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, practice of air sports, mountaineering or Scuba diving with a device, kilometer threshold… That’s why it’s better to call your financial advisor and/or VISA customer service to know all its guarantees – and not have any bad surprises during your trip!
Travel Insurance: option or need?
First, you need to clearly define your needs and planned activities during the trip: Travel by bycicle? Diving lessons? Bungee jumping? Trip to the moon? And do not hesitate to ask all your questions to different insurers: as my grandmother would say, a wise man is worth two! If you are lazy, you can also find comparative “Insurance World Tour” already available on Internet: these are good bases to help you in your choice, but be careful with conditions and rates which are not always updated…