Our decision to travel was a very sudden turn of events and we booked our flights in a very short space of time. We looked online at a few sites (try skyscanner) but booked an appointment with an STA travel advisor to see what deals were available. We managed to get return flights (London to Bangkok, Singapore to London) for £500 each, with STA. Unfortunately, our trip is going to be affected by how well we do in exams – if we pass we will travel for 10 weeks but if we don’t we need to be back in the UK for resits after a 5 week trip. However, with STA Travel (a great company for students) you can alter your flight once for £50. They also offer a funky multiflex option, which allows you to make numerous changes to your flights for a set price. This option is worthwhile if you think you may need to make more than one alteration.
Booking flights gives you the goal; something to work towards and makes it all feel a little more real. With flights sorted, we started on the next steps: vaccinations and insurance.
Some vaccinations are compulsory, and free-of-charge through your GP, others are a hefty sum of money. For our 10 week Southeast Asia trip we needed to consider whether to get the Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies vaccinations (both roughly £200 each). Travel experts highly recommend the Rabies vaccination that gives you an extra 24 hours (doubles your time) to get the relevant medical treatment if bitten. However, the disease is spread through saliva of an infected animal and regardless of immunisation; you still need to seek urgent medical treatment if bitten. The vaccine is given as a course of three injections, and a booster is also needed. Japanese Encephalitis is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Of the two, travel experts seems to encourage vaccination protection against rabies as the most important but emphasise that care and common sense precautions (e.g. insect repellent and not touching animals) is very important. For more information check out fitfortravel. Although not 100%, I think Liv and I are both going to get immunised against Rabies but not Japanese Encephalitis. We plan to get Rabies vaccinations because we were informed that sometimes the hospitals do not have the relevant medications for Rabies and need to get them shipped in, so every moment is crucial.
I am lucky enough to be covered under my parent’s insurance but policies are usually very restrictive and it’s crucial you double and triple check your policies to ensure you are covered for everything you may (no matter how unlikely) need. Liv opted for STA’s Blue Premium insurance and paid an extra £12 to waive all medical excess. Alternatively, the medical excess is £50 each time, which you generally pay to the hospital then and there. Other friends have used outbacker insurance. Having good insurance allows you to be certain you are as protected as you can be and is likely to put your parent’s minds at ease.
The next step for us is securing the relevant visa’s and we will update on how we get on with that soon.