Getting Prepped To Stay Healthy Overseas
If you told me a month or two ago that I was closer to traveling the world than I thought, I'm not sure I would have believed you. Even now, knowing I take off in just a few weeks, I can't fathom it. I'm extremely excited, but I'm also starting to realize, I have a lot to do before this world tour begins.
I've been so focused on destinations, flight/bus/boat/train schedules, and all the fun stuff, that I totally forgot about my health. I think it's easy to forget about it when you live a fairly healthy life and lets be honest, it's more fun to think about the cool places I'll see rather than things that could go wrong. As much as I don't want to think about it, I realize I need to take steps to stay healthy overseas to insure I can travel indefinitely.
So I had two goals this week: 1. Check to see what immunizations I might need. 2. Look into travel health insurance.
The last time I went to receive my immunization shot was back in 2008 before my trip to South America. For that trip, it was required I receive a yellow fever vaccination to enter Ecuador.
I did a quick google search and fortunately, there are no specific requirements for the Philippines. But since I have no idea where exactly I'm going after that, I figured it would be best to check in with a local physician.
I booked my appointment with Passport Health. They have locations all over the US and had good reviews on Yelp. And let me tell you, the appointment was much more than I bargained for and a much different experience that I received almost a decade ago from a local health clinic.
It was led by Corey McVey. He'sactually a nurse I interviewed for a story I did about Uber give out flu shots when I first moved to Milwaukee. I didn't realize we had met until after I made the appointment.
He handed me a booklet, full of information about the countries I plan on visiting, along with what health concerns travelers deal with (diarrhea is number one, in case you're wondering).
He opened my eyes to much more than just the immunizations I had gone there for. We talked about travel water filtration systems, insect repellants, and diseases I had never heard of before. He assured me, he wasn't trying to scare me or upsell me on anything, he just wanted to provide as much information as possible.
I'll be honest, I was a little overwhelmed. We talked about how to stay safe and healthy on the trip. In the end, I opted for Hepatitis A & Typhoid immunizations. Both help prevent getting sick from contaminated food or water, although I still have to take extra precautions. For example, it's not recommended I have ice in my drinks because it could be made from contaminated water. I should only consume water from a closed container, and be sure to wipe it down before taking my first sip. There's a lot to take in, but I'm sure once I get into the swing of things, it'll be second nature.
This was what I was least looking forward too. Obviously, as a budget traveler, my biggest concern is cost. But while I hope I don't have to use it, I do feel like it is a necessity.
Insurance is something I had started to look into months and months ago but it drifted into the back of my mind.
For me, it was hard to gage what type of coverage I should get. There are a lot of unknowns about my trip: how long I'll be, where all I'm going, etc.
In my first blog post, I talked about how my trip is indefinite. I really had to think about that this week. There is no timeline. So I felt like the best thing to do was to sign up for an annual policy.
I did a bit of research and ended up purchasing my policy this morning with Allianz Travel Insurance. They have a few annual plans to choose from. I chose the Annual Deluxe Plan. It's right in the middle of the pack at $249 for the entire year. It covers everything from travel related expenses to medical emergencies (again, I hope I don't have to use this.) I'd rather pay the $249 instead of a $50,000 medical flight if needed.
I realize this isn't the most exciting post, but I think it's an important one if you are thinking about taking a world trip like this. Don't ignore it.