health

The one thing you can't forget before your next trip to Bali.

I have a very good friend who once took a three-month, round the world trip – with no vaccinations, no travel insurance, no nothing.

Granted, she was a carefree, irresponsible teenager at the time, so I guess a little lack of preparation could be forgiven.

I have a very good friend who once took a three-month, round the world trip – without insurance.

But when she ended up catching malaria in South-East Asia, and paying a fortune to be treated, she well and truly learnt her lesson.

We’ve often laughed about that story together (it’s been a few years since that fateful trip, so her embarrassment has worn off, finally). And yet, I recently almost fell into the exact same trap. Face-palm.

As a bit of background, you should know that my partner and I have both been bitten hard by the travel bug, and he constantly sends me messages with travel deals and discounts. In fact, he’s become a bit of a travel guru.

 Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by VaccineHub. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

And so we have started to look at our options for kid-friendly overseas holidays this year. I know – we’re brave. But the urge to travel is just too strong.

“There are super cheap flights to Bali right now,” he messaged one day, out of the blue. I was in between grocery shopping and trying to stop one of my kids from throwing a full-on tantrum, so I was a little distracted.

But within minutes I had pulled out my phone and jumped on the website, I was that excited. And he was right. Sales galore. Holiday here we come.

From where you’d rather be.

We’d been tossing up where our next holiday would be, and the bait of cheap flights was definitely tempting. I started to get excited and by the next day, I had planned the entire trip in my head – but I was completely caught off guard when a friend casually asked what my boys thought about having to get needles before they could go.

“You need vaccines for Bali?” I asked, stunned.

“They recommend vaccines for a lot of countries in that region,” she replied, looking at me like I was an idiot.

I honestly had no idea this was the case. I’m a bit embarrassed about it now that I’ve done all my research, but at the time it didn’t occur to me that we should consider getting vaccinated. Because Bali is just next door to us. Aussies travel there all the time. It is such a tourist mecca these days that I didn’t think we would need to plan to protect our health specifically, except maybe choose food a bit more wisely to avoid the dreaded BB (Bali Belly). But I was wrong, clearly.

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I immediately went and looked it up – partly because I wanted to keep my family safe and healthy (obviously) and also because I was feeling a little bit sheepish still. As it turns out, vaccinations are recommended for lots of popular tourist destinations throughout South East Asia, India and South America. Good to know.

Vaccinations are recommended for lots of popular tourist destination.

I remembered another holiday horror story about a family we’d met in Fiji when we travelled there last year. The father got a large wound from sharp coral and they rushed him back to the mainland for a tetanus shot (you can get it from soil bacteria entering through an open wound), because he couldn’t remember if he was up-to-date with his routine immunisations. They weren’t taking any chances and apparently the staff at the hospital told him – quite sternly – that he should have checked his immunisation record before he even left Australia. He would have saved himself a bumpy, long boat ride and a claim on travel insurance if he’d just been to see his doctor before he left.

In the end, I checked the official recommendation of vaccines for Bali and I almost fell over. The list is a little….well long.

But it really depends on where you are going and what you plan on doing – and also how much of an adventurous eater you are!

I found that the best advice is really from your GP, or a clinic that specialises in travel medicine. As it turns out, vaccination recommendations are pretty similar for many popular tourist destinations and some can even provide travellers with protection for later trips too.

The vaccinations you need depend on where you are going and what you plan on doing while you’re there.

It was a much-needed wake up call, especially for someone who loves to travel as much as I do. So now, I’ve vowed to do my research next time – before getting carried away by cheap travel deals.

Do you have any horror stories from your travels?

We want to make it a little easier for you and your family to get the facts on immunisation. VaccineHub is a go to destination for the latest health information for your baby from birth. The hub will be regularly updated with breaking news and seasonal information. For the latest on vaccination visit www.vaccinehub.com.au.