Getting your shots is probably one of the easier things on the to-do list of planning a trip around the world. Well, it’s easy as long as you’re not deathly afraid of needles and would lie about when you got your last Tetanus booster because you’d rather risk getting Tetanus than get the booster shot. Luckily, neither Kevin nor I have phobias that include getting shots, though I have a long list of things I’m frightened of, near the top of which is “looking over the railing in the mall.” Don’t make fun.
Anyway, it’s a relatively easy thing because you don’t necessarily need to do a whole lot of research if you don’t want to. What we did was probably the easiest, though not the cheapest, way of doing things. We looked up our nearest travel clinic (we used Passport Health, but there are others), made an appointment, filled out all the paperwork, including a list of all the regions/countries we were visiting, and the nurse gave us the requisite shots and prescriptions.
If you’re only visiting a few areas or if you’re not visiting any high risk areas (think Africa and part of Asia), it might be better to look up what shots you need (you can go to the WHO website or to the country’s tourism website) and get them at your local community health clinic, where they only charge the cost of the shot.
As for health insurance, GET SOME. There seem to be lots and lots of relatively cheap options for travelers from other countries (like the UK and Australia) for travel health insurance, but not so many for those of us from the US. And most global health insurance policies will cover you everywhere EXCEPT the US, that’s how notoriously difficult-to-navigate our healthcare system is. Anyway. Health insurance is one of those things we really didn’t want to skimp on, so even though we looked at cheaper options, we signed on with World Nomads, which was recommended by Lonely Planet, among others. It’s going to cost us about $1000 for the two of us for the amount of time we’ll be gone.