In two months we are heading off to South America for 6 weeks, we have used a travel agent to book our flights and some trips, the accommodation we are doing ourselves – lots to think about!
One of the disadvantages of planning some or all of your travel on the internet is that you can forget some key elements that a travel agent would remind you of – two are Vaccinations and Visas.
Vaccinations – try a Specialised Travel Doctor
I went to India last year, so a lot of my shots were up to date, but since we are going to the Amazon Rainforest, it was highly recommended that we have a yellow fever vaccination, and for that we needed a special trip to the Travel Doctor.
In New Zealand we headed off to the Travel Doctor and I can highly recommend going to a specialist. Dr Susanne Maclarin did a thorough history for both of us, noting particular issues we may have, then went through the vaccinations we might need, including the pros and cons of each, and taking note of our own particular history. Being a dispensing doctor, they are able to dispense the drugs there and then.
We decided against a rabies vaccine, but to keep aware of the need to seek immediate medical attention if we are bitten by a dog or monkey.
The trickiest one was Yellow Fever which is a live vaccine, and does have some significant downsides. However the only other real option was NOT going to the Amazon Rainforest, which we were not going to miss. We did however decide we would come back for that injection, as we had a busy week, and wanted to go at a time that was a little less frenetic and would give us a chance for some down time if needed.
Health Travel Kit
The Travel Doctor has an excellent Travel Kit for $144NZ for travelling more than two weeks and out of Urban/Resort areas especially in India, Nepal, Central and South America, South East Asia and Africa.
It includes a Gastro Kit, some prescription antibiotics, antihistamine, and two syringes and needles in case you end up somewhere they may be re-using them. We decide to get one Kit, and take some extras of some of the items we have at home. Malaria tablets are extra but they can be purchased separately
Have you got a Visa?
Firstly remember you need at least 6 months to run on your passport before you leave, in my opinion if you are down to the last year on your passport, it is a good time to upgrade.
Many countries allow tourists fairly free entry, but you need to double check for every country you are going to. This website has a good list, but remember it depends on what passport you are travelling under. Read more
Once I flew from Ireland to Paris and got stopped at the border. My companion was travelling on a NZ Passport and sailed through. I was travelling on an Australian Passport and did not have the Visa I was meant to have. A very tense hour or two followed with being threatened with being sent back to Ireland and the airline that brought me here being threatened with a large fine. Luckily the local head of the airline concerned talked us through it and I was able to get a Visa there and then. But it was almost a disaster.
Check on line, and if in doubt ask your Travel Agent
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