Helpful Tips for Planning a Year Long Trip Around the World Part 8
You think you’re ready to go around the world, and that’s just great. That’s super. But have you been to see a doctor yet? No. Well you really should. Sure your body is great at fighting off all of the diseases that you encounter on a regular basis, but outside of your own country things can change pretty fast.
There are a number of things that you need to be aware of. This is by no means a comprehensive list of diseases you should look out for, but it is a good starting point, and you’ll be pointed in the right direction for further research. Be sure to ask your travel doctor for further information (yes, travel doctors cost more money – but they specialize in the field. Your doctor may be great at soar throats or achy knees, but when was the last time he looked up on Myanmar’s health requirements? Go to someone who knows.)
Links for the following are taken from the CDC Yellow Book (available free online.)
Hepatitis A / B
You should inoculate yourself against both Hepatitis A / B as soon as you can. This normally requires two or three needles taken a few months apart. The first needle will protect you for a year, but if you get the second you’re secure for life. A number of doctors complain about people not returning for the second, which almost makes it a waste to get the first shot. Even countries like Canada are prone to Hep A and Hep B. Ice cubes, spa tools, and any number of other items can infect you.
Getting your yellow fever jab isn’t just important, it’s an entry requirement for some countries. This is mostly found in central Africa, and South America. If you’re in a yellow fever zone, playing the odds is not a good idea. Again, if you’re travelling from an infected zone into some countries you will need to prove that you have had your jabs, just to get out of the airport.
From India, through South East Asia, up to the Russian border, this is prominent. Though it mostly affects children anyone can become infected. This can be a seasonal disease, and as such you should ask your travel doctor just how much of a threat it will be for your travels.
If you’re travelling through rural areas, or any environment where there are a number of wild animals you need to be careful about rabies. Often in the western world people get a rabies shot after they have been bitten – but can you be sure of quick hospital access when you’re on the road?
Malaria is a tricky little bugger. Once you get it, you’ve got it. And, upsettingly, it’s pretty easy to avoid. You just need to take pills. A lot of pills. And they vary depending on where you travel to. The malaria pills for South America may not be the same ones you need for Africa. The virus is constantly changing. It is transmitted by mosquitoes, so wearing long clothes, and covering yourself in DEET is a great preventative method, but they should not be used to replace the pills.
Remember, most pills need to be taken for four weeks after leaving the infected zone. If you take them for two weeks after leaving, think you feel fine, and stop taking them – you are subject to malaria. Do not take chances with your health.
Travel Insurance is the way to make sure you won’t risk your health on the road. If you’re leaving for a one year trip, World Nomads is the company to go through. They offer good coverage at a low cost (relatively speaking, of course.) They cover lost / stolen luggage, as well as trip cancellation. They also, of course, cover your medical, expenses. And since most of their information is available over the internet, filing a claim is easy.
Some credit cards, or CAA / AAA offer insurance as well. I would recommend World Nomads however, as they specialize in people taking one year trips. Just make sure you have the proper requirements for long coverage. For example, in Ontario, Canada you need to request out of country OHIP coverage to quality for travel insurance.
You’re all set to go, but you need to leave everyone else behind. They’re jealous, or they’re excited, or their terrified. How do you deal with all that emotion all at once? And how will you stay connected once you’ve got your pack on your back, and you’re trekking around the world?
Jump to other Parts
0. Index / Summary
1. Planning Destinations
2. Budget / Culling
3. Hotels vs Hostels
4. Internet Research
5. Tour Groups / Solo Travel
6. Important Travel Gear
7. Packs / Packing
8. Medical Requirements
9. Saying Goodbye / Staying Connected
10. No Fear Travel
Bonus: Overlooked Travel Tips and Tricks