Checking in

Where are we at?

  • Backpacks
  • Vaccinations
  • Malaria tablets
  • Visas
  • Packing

With exams completed and Liv currently interrailing around Europe, I thought I would take the time to update you on where we are up to in terms of planning for Asia.

Backpacks

After a lot of researching we both fell back to our original find of the Osprey Farpoint 40 (one in black and one in blue so we can tell them apart). Whilst there are other backpacks on the market none seem to match up to the ease, quality and support offered by the Osprey. We had a checklist of things the backpack needed to do for us and this rucksack was the only one that ticked every box:

  • Suitable for hand luggage / carry-on
  • Over 35 litre (capacity)
  • Shoulder and waist straps for maximum support
  • Open all the way round for easy access (i.e not top loading)
  • Extremely durable
  • Under £90

The reviews for this rucksack are consistently great and nothing else seems to offer what we need at less than £100. This bag checks in at RRP £80 but is available in stores with student discount (Blacks and Cotswold). I managed to get mine from Trekkit on sale at £67.50.

farpoint40lagoonblue

Vaccinations

We opted to get vaccinated against rabies, but not Japanese Encephalitis. We used STA travel clinic which offers student discount. The whole course of vaccinations (3 separate jabs) came in at a total of £150.

All we can suggest is checking out the varying prices in areas local to you and finding out how at risk you are to each disease before forking out for all your vaccinations.

Price list for vaccinations

1 price list for vaccinations (prices will vary)

Malaria tablets

In order to get the cheapest prescription for malaria tablets go and see your GP. They can advise you on all the different types, how many you’ll need and how to take them. One of the most popular options is Malarone (now available much cheaper in non branded form – Atovaquone/proguanil). However, we saved ourselves a fortune by going with Doxycycline which protects in the same way but can be purchased from independent chemists, with a GP prescription, for roughly £10 for 100 tablets (enough for a 10 week trip). Whereas, the malarone tablet comes in at over £100.

Each different type of malaria tablet has different side effects and it is worth researching these before investing in them. Additionally, it might be worth trying a few tablets out to ensure they do not make you vomit, before you travel, so you can switch to a different type instead.

Visas

Visas for Vietnam are sorted. For anyone who needs to get a visa for Vietnam (anyone visiting or travelling Vietnam) ensure you do this before you go through the Vietnam Embassy ONLY as other companies are out to scam you. We purchased our visas through the post, sending them off together to save money.

We are also visiting other countries that require a visa (e.g. Thailand and Burma) but we will be getting them on arrival rather than in advance.

Packing 

With the bag sorted and packing cubes, to utilise space, purchased, the real struggle begins…

I am currently in the process of deciding what it is we need to take with us (while Liv drinks £1 beer for 3 weeks in Europe). So far we have opted for the following (baring in mind we are restricted in weight and liquid allowance):

  • Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack
  • Packing cubes
  • Clear cosmetic bags, like these, to hold 100ml bottles of liquid (e.g. suncream/toothpaste)
  • Once a day application suncream in 100ml bottles, check it out here
  • Insect repellent with 50% deet protection, like this

We are also planning to take limited clothing, underwear and footwear. We will upload our packing list closer to the time.

Katrina x

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