When you plan your solo trip don't forget to look for any travel vaccinations which you may need. Depending which country you are going to will determine which injections you need, whether a Yellow Fever vaccine, Hepatitis A vaccine or Hepatitis B vaccine, it is always worth making sure that you have the right vaccines before boarding your plane. As soon as you know your travel dates make an appointment with the nurse at your doctor’s surgery who should be able to advise you of any you may need.
N.b. If you're ready to plan your solo trip but are unsure how to do it, read my how to plan a solo trip article.
Some vaccinations are standard such as tetanus and only need one jab, but others, such as Hepatitis A, need additional boosters for maximum coverage, so as soon as you know your travel date, make an appointment. Most injections are free for UK citizens except Yellow Fever and Rabies. If you can’t get a doctor’s appointment in time, Nomads Travel Health Clinic are in some UK cities and offer a same day travel vaccination service for last minute travellers.
Your nurse should check that you aren’t travelling to a malaria zone as malaria tablets are needed if you are. Some malaria tablets need to be taken at least one or two weeks before you arrive in a country and are prescription only, so make an appointment to see a nurse at least six weeks before you go. Depending on which malaria area you’re going to, will determine which malaria tablets you need.
Malarone has the least side effects and only need to be taken two days before you travel but they are the most expensive. You can buy these in Asda once you’ve had a medical consultation with their on-site doctor. Others like Doxycycline can be brought over the counter in some countries abroad (in Latin America) but as this is also an antibiotic, it can reduce the effectiveness of your contraceptive pill.
If you’re going scuba diving avoid Larium which isn’t recommended for those diving. Be careful mixing alcohol with any malaria tablets and always check the side effects first. No malaria tablet is 100% effective, so make sure you stick to wearing light colours and using mosquito repellent with Deet.
Don’t forget to stock up on the contraceptive pill for the amount of time that you will be away. Most doctors only write prescriptions for six months so if you need longer, advise them how long you will be away. If you need tablets for a medical condition get a doctor’s note and carry it with you to prevent being interrogated upon entering a country. Singapore for example, is really strict on the medicines you can bring in. Some are even banned in the country so do your research before you go if you need to take anything out of the ordinary.
Standards of hygiene may not be what you’re used to and many travellers can suffer stomach problems when abroad, even if it’s just mild. You can avoid any stomach problems when you’re abroad by taking a prebiotic which improves your body’s ability to get rid of harmful bacteria.
Fit for Travel – Malaria maps for each country.
Net Doctor – Travel vaccinations for each country.
Nomad Travel Health Clinics – Travel health vaccination services.
Vaccines. Gov – Vaccinations for U.S. citizens.