Vaccinations are a hot and widely contested topic these days. Most of the controversy surrounds vaccinations given to children and the dangers of receiving them or not getting them at all. We’re going to skip that entire debate completely and focus on vaccinations that are recommended before travelling to other countries.

Whether you’re planning on trekking through the Amazon, going on a safari, going to do some Roatan scuba diving or planning to spend some time in an ashram in Tamil Nadu, you may have been advised by your travel agent, airline or doctor that you should be vaccinated against various diseases. In this article we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of travel vaccinations.

Common Travel Vaccinations

Depending on where you’re going you may be advised to get different types of vaccinations. Travellers to places such as Africa or South America are usually advised to receive vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis and typhoid. Travellers to Southeast Asia may also be told they need vaccinations for Japanese encephalitis. Most travellers are told to keep current with vaccinations like polio and rabies. However, some travellers might wonder if the vaccinations are actually necessary, whereas others might ignore the recommendations altogether. What are the factors that should be kept in mind when preparing for your travels?

Disease Prevention

Probably the largest benefit of being vaccinated before traveling is the fact that you will ideally be protecting yourself against some serious diseases. Being sick can ruin costly and long awaited travel plans. If you’re spending thousands of dollars to travel halfway around the world you don’t want to be sent home shortly after you arrive. Another thing to keep in mind is that certain diseases such as yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis can be very serious and may have lifelong effects if, in fact, you actually survive.

Visa Regulations

In certain countries you must supply proof that you’ve received vaccines for specific diseases before they’ll allow you to enter. You’d be hard pressed to come up with a worse scenario than flying for hours on end to be told upon arrival that you have to turn around and go back home because you neglected to get the required vaccinations beforehand. Also remember that certain vaccines require multiple shots over an extended period of time, so if you leave it until the last minute you may not have enough time to complete the vaccination regime.


Some vaccinations are quite costly. You may be required to spend several hundred dollars to complete the process and those costs might not be covered by insurance. Although many vaccines are good for several years, if you’re a frequent traveller you may end up spending as much on vaccinations as a short trip would cost you.


Because you’re being injected with minute traces of the disease itself, some vaccines will make you feel sick for a few days after the injection. This can be hard to deal with when you’re in stress mode trying to organize everything for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Some people might also suffer reactions to certain vaccines. Although the chances of this are quite low, if you’re one of the unlucky ones, certain side effects could have lifelong consequences.

Vaccination Alternatives

If you’re visiting a place where vaccinations aren’t compulsory, such as the aforementioned Roatan diving trip, there are some precautions you can take to make sure you don’t get sick. Make sure to wash your hands regularly, ensure the area’s drinking water is safe and use a good mosquito repellent to avoid diseases spread through bug bites.

Author's Bio: 

Misty Jhones