I know many people travel on a budget, and I am a big fan of the bootstrapper traveler. So I understand why so many people claim “why pay extra for all those shots and insurance?” as their travel mantra. I have been one of those people! But after doing the research, I am strongly starting to think I have been wrong all along. Maybe paying the money for those many shots and insurance can be valuable. The reality is, saving a few bucks each day is not worth it if there really is a problem during your trip. Honestly, the thing to remember is that these things aren’t for the expected, it’s for the unexpected!.
Immunizations: Where, What, and How?
First, I highly recommend heading to the Centers for Disease Control Travelers’ Health website to read about any vaccinations that are required. as well as for those that are recommended, for your specific travel destination, time of visit and length of stay.
If you are a US citizen and have health insurance, then under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) you are eligible to receive the following immunizations without having to pay any deductibles, co-pays, or coinsurance:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster
- Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine for females
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Vaccinating yourself is a personal choice, these are just immunization recommendations for a travel junkie like myself. Always check with your insurance provider to ensure you are covered and make sure that you give yourself ample time to complete the series of certain vaccines, because this can be time consuming (and expensive) if you are not careful. Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover any of the cost.
For up-to-date travel information, please check out the CDC travel website for everything you need to know about your destination and health information.
A few more tips before we move on…
- Some countries require that you have proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever before you will be allowed to enter the country. This happened to me when I was heading to Ecuador!
- Be sure to start this process early, as some travel immunizations require a series of injections that are given over the course of several months.
- Don’t be cheap! If you are at risk, strongly consider getting vaccinated before you go. Peace of mind is very worth it sometimes!
Travel Health Insurance
Consider like World Nomads who provide travel insurance to solo travelers and families alike to cover all unexpected costs that a medical emergency could impose on you. For a reasonable fee they will not only cover medical and dental emergencies, but also reimburse you for lost baggage, trip cancellations, or delays, rental car damage, and more. Here are a few others I found with good reviews:
To help you decide your Travel Health Insurance
(From Women on the Road)
Before you decide, you’ll need to answer a few basic questions, which happens to be the same ones any travel health insurance will ask you:
- How old are you? Most policies don’t cover you after 60 or 65. (This unfortunately goes for World Nomads as well, which stops its coverage somewhere between 60-66, depending on where you live.)
- How healthy are you? Most travel insurances won’t cover pre-existing conditions. Just like other insurance companies.
- Where are you from? Buying an international travel health insurance policy in New Zealand will have a different price tag and cover than one bought in the US.
- Where are you going? Policy prices can differ radically depending on whether you’re heading for a war zone or angling for a tan on the sand.
- What will you do once you’re there? A walk through a city with a tour group is far less risky, from an insurer’s point of view, than skydiving or bungee jumping, and your policy will be priced accordingly. I don’t recommend telling the everything but it might be worth telling them part of your itinerary to make sure you are covered.
I hope you find this information as helpful and as informative as I do.
I truly think traveling can be GOOD for your health, but I know things arise throughout any kind of a adventure. What od you do to ensure you are safe on your solo trip? Have you done any of the above? Do you think it is worth it or just a waste of money? Let me know in the comments below!
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