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What A Bunch Of Little Pricks!

This will only hurt for a minute

If you plan on going around the world, you had better not be afraid of needles!

Shawna and I have been poked and prodded with so many vaccines over the past months, that I keep telling people I am nearly immortal….and it just might be true.

However, even if I am not officially eternal, these vaccines will no doubt keep life extended substantially longer as my chances of acquiring one of several nasty viral diseases while travelling are greatly reduced with just a couple of jabs!

Here’s a list of what is bound to keep us healthy while we are travelling the globe!!

Hepatitis A & B

Bad news for the liver. Fortunately Twinrix will look after both of them. Two doses of $85 each plus a booster 6-8 months later at the same cost.
Total Investment – $255

Not as fun as it looks

Meningococcal Disease

Infected fluid around the brain – no joke….
Get Yours Today for only $175!

Yellow Fever

You won’t be allowed to cross many African borders without proof of vaccination against yellow fever. Although most cases of this mosquito-borne fever are pretty mild, the most severe case can cause the ominous black vomit….yikes!
A bargain of a vaccine at only $155

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

The unholy trio of diseases which we have been trying to avoid since we were kids. I didn’t know this before, but apparently Rubella is also known as German Measles…. I don’t know about you, but ever since lederhosen, I am pretty wary of those Germans. (I can say that, only because of my Kraut heritage…don’t hate the player)
Three for one special….just for you my friend….$85 (like shopping for vaccines at a garage sale!)

Paying for your rabies vaccine is going to be "ruff"


Okay, there is no arguing here, rabies will substantially decrease the ‘fun-factor’ of our trip. The end results are not pretty, and before Mr. Louis Pasteur there was no vaccine, so a single bite from a rabid animal was the end of the line for you. The good news, the vaccine exists
The bad news….well, how about $735 worth of bad news. I almost hope a monkey bites me, just so I feel I got my money’s worth.

Tetanus, Diptheria, and Whooping Cough

Another 3-for-1 bargain. They must bring this one out after the rabies shot. Severe cough, lock-jaw, and paralysis are some of the things you will experience, if you picked up these three bacterium…and there is really no need.
TDP will only cost you $90!


Polio was one of those dreaded childhood disease in the 19th and 20th century, sadly crippling hundreds of thousands of people on an annual basis, before the vaccine was invented in the 1950′s.
Stay Polio-free for $95


A common worldwide illness, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person….um seriously, wash your hands after using the washroom. Nothing good about the 104 degree fever that will hit you if you do not. And of course the Typhoid vaccine is a pretty good back up.
This vaccine can be injected or ingested orally. Shawna and I took the pills, and although there was a fairly strict schedule you had to follow, it wasn’t so bad.
Cost – $80

Japanese Encephalitis

We have been told that the chances of picking this up were rare, especially if we stayed on the backpacker trail in Asia, however we figured better safe than sorry. Yet another mosquito-borne disease, and prevention here doesn’t come cheap.
Two doses would run us a grand total of $530!!! 

More than irritating, these fellas can be downright dangerous if you aren't loaded up with all the proper vaccinations.

So quick math gives us a pretty hefty pricetag…$2,200 to be exact…PER PERSON!!! That sort of cost will take a chunk out of any budget traveller’s budget. In some cases we have heard of travellers who have foregone some of these shots just due to the expense attached to them.

For Shawna and I however, we were extremely fortunate. As it stood, our current Blue Cross plan covered, get this, absolutely EVERYTHING!!!

At our $100/day budget it is pretty clear that this helps to extend our trip substantially.
However, even in the event that we would have had to foot the full bill, I think both Shawna and I would have paid. This journey for us, is all about adventure. We have no doubt there will be more than a few challenges we will face, but all of these will be much easier to endure if we have our health.

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25 Responses to “What A Bunch Of Little Pricks!”

  1. Megan May 19, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    How awesome your coverage paid for all this! Vaccinations are expensive. I just had to update a heap of mine, plus get jabbed for yellow fever – I let my health insurance lapse while I was travelling last year and so I had to fork out a small fortune…it hurts, but not as much as foaming at the mouth and bleeding from the eyes would! (hmm not really sure what disease that would be, but I’m sure one of the above has those symptoms!)
    Megan recently posted..Harvest time in Bhaktapur

    • Skott May 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      Yeah, I actually kept thinking Shawna misunderstood what the Blue Cross lady was telling her, but time and time again, the reimbursement cheques came in the mail!! Once again, my wife proves me wrong!

      Yeah, paying for these would have been brutal, but you are right, it beats thee old mouth foam….I’d never get kissed again!

  2. Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth May 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Ah shots, did you guys start to feel run down while in the midst of your weekly vaccination visits? Ashley and I started to feel pretty tired and sapped of energy. Now that we haven’t had any shots in a few weeks we are feeling much better.

    For us, Oral Typhoid was by far the worst. I didn’t think it was too bad, but I think Ashley will still be complaining about it 7 years from now.
    Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth recently posted..Why Ashley Wants to Travel

    • Skott May 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      I actually started feeling like a human guinea pig….or pin cushion… they weren’t so bad though…it got us out of work for 30 min!! :) As far as the Oral Typhoid, that didn’t seem to be so bad for us, but you are not the first people who I have heard were challenged with this…was it the schedule you had to remember?

      • Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth May 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

        I think it was mostly not being able to eat for an hour after taking the pills first thing in the morning. There’s something about mixing that pill with a glass of water on an empty stomach and jostling it all around as we drive in on the bumpy highway that made us sick every day.
        Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth recently posted..Why Ashley Wants to Travel

  3. jill May 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    So lucky that your insurance covers it. We’re getting our vaccinations here on the road because our insurance didn’t cover it. So much cheaper ($5/FREE for yellow fever for example) but does take some research/planning.
    jill recently posted..The Lazy Hikers Guide to Valle de Cocora

    • Skott May 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      Yeah – we’ve heard of other travellers doing this…Dollar-wise it is an awesome ideas, as your savings are HUGE. But you are right, it does require a little research as you likely don’t want to get your jabs from Guito the back alley tattoo artist :)

  4. Fearful Girl May 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Blue Cross saved me several thousand before I went sailing offshore for two years. Not in vaccines but in supplies for the medical kit. 100 Vicodin? $10. 4 epinephrine pens? $10. 10 boxes of steroids? $10 No matter how many units in each prescription, the cost was $10 per script. Our vial of Vicodin alone had a street value of $1000. I have no idea what the full kit would’ve cost us, but the insurance made it so easy. The hardest part was convincing the doctor to write the prescriptions!

    BTW hilarious that you’re *almost* hoping for a monkey bite!

    • Skott May 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Geez – you could have turned that into some pretty sweet secondary income, hey? But yes, you might as well get away with whatever you can…on top of our vaccines, we have 6 months of malarials (in our case Doxycycline) that we will be taking with us as well. Thank you indeed Blue Cross!!!

  5. Raymond May 22, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    $735 for the rabies vaccine is insane!! Gotta love health care coverage in Canada though… :)
    Raymond recently posted..Travel Photo of the Week — Water Wheel in Hama Syria

    • Skott May 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

      We are indeed blessed, no doubt…For some reason I thought rabies would be one of the cheaper ones as well…it seems so much less foreign that say Yellow Fever…

  6. Nomadic Chick May 25, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    This seemingly informative post had me going, believing that at the end you would gripe about it NOT being covered. Surprise! I love surprise endings. And what in the world would you need Vicodin on a boat for, Torre? Pop two and steer the boat for fun? That’s what I’d do. :)
    Nomadic Chick recently posted..El Amor and Travel

    • Skott May 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      okay, I must be naive…I don’t think either of us know what Vicodin is all about….but clearly it is something we should be investigating.

  7. Matt May 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm #


    I noticed nothing to do with Malaria. But just in case, Maegan (my wife) wanted me to tell you – that if you feel fit – skip it.
    The Malaria vaccines are apparently horrible – they turned her in an aggressive, violent shell of herself that impacted her trips to S.E Asia. They make you a little crazy i guess.

    She has since realized that the side effects do not justify taking the pills. – do with that what you will.

    • Skott May 26, 2011 at 12:22 am #

      Hey Matty – No, we didn’t get Malaria vaccines…didn’t even know there was one, or if we did, decided against it… we do however have Doxycycline, which is also an anti-biotic, and gets the best reviews from our experience as it is relatively cheap, with the least side effects….I Larium, apparently is the one that can make you a wee bit nutty, or at least has a tendency to do so.

      That being said, I don’t know if there are that many places in SEAsia where we need to be taking the pills…our ‘need’ for the pills would center more around Africa/India I believe.

      Advice, as always…very much appreciated.

  8. Steph May 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    You know what’s really sad? When I decided to travel to Colombia, I needed to get Hep A, Typhoid, Diptheria, Tetnus and Yellow Fever. I was living in London at the time and they were all free except for Yellow Fever which was a grand total of £45. Gotta love American health care…*rolls eyes*
    Steph recently posted..5 things I’ve learned from my Colombian boyfriend

  9. Shelley February 8, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Stumbled upon you guys while searching out RTW packing lists. Great site! My hubby and I are leaving in 2 weeks…yikes! I am totally aghast at how much vaccinations cost in Canada (and kinda glad we aren’t planning our trip from there). We just got yellow fever and typhoid done here in Korea (where we’re currently living) and the total cost for both was only about $55!

    • Shawna February 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Wow!! Looks like we should have started our trip in South Korea and got our vaccinations there! I hope you got everything sorted out as far as your packing list…since we did that post the thing I can think of is that whenever we went to places with extremely different climates we just went to a flea market and bought a few things so less is definitely more!! Where is your first destination? If you’re keeping a blog, let us know, we’d love to see where your trip takes you. Cheers!

      • Shelley February 9, 2012 at 3:59 am #

        Hey Shawna! Actually, we’re such last minuters – we’re leaving on Feb. 20th and haven’t packed up our apartment or bought a thing yet. It’ll all work itself out, I’m sure. ;) I’ll definitely be checking out more of your blog, cuz from what I’ve read, it seems like our travel styles are quite similar. My hubby and I are not really total backpacker budget travellers anymore – definitely more budget to mid-range now. And thanks for the tip on the Budget Your Trip website. I started using it and it looks excellent for tracking everything!!!

        After a stop in Canada and the US to see friends and family and gear up, our first stop will be Colombia, and then onto the Inca Trail in Peru!! My blog’s at (
        Shelley recently posted..Getting a Brazil Tourist Visa in Seoul (in 11 Easy Steps)

      • Shelley February 11, 2012 at 5:55 am #

        I think we’ve literally saved thousands of dollars just by starting here. The difference in RTW ticket prices for the EXACT same route, just starting in Korea, instead of Canada, was $3000 per ticket!! Nuts eh? Yeah, so we haven’t packed up our apartment or started packing yet and we’re leaving on Feb. 20th. Yikes!. After a stopover in Vancouver and the US to see friends and family, our real trip begins in Colombia!

        I’ll definitely be checking out more info on your site, since it seems like our traveling styles are similar. Budget – mid-range, rather than full out backpacker style. Our blog is at:

        PS: If you’re still looking for a great meditation retreat, we did the one at the Suan Mokkh International Dhamma Hermitage, in Chaiya, Thailand. It’s a 10 day silent one and pretty intense (sleeping on concrete beds and absolutely no talking), but it was a great experience and only $60 for the full 10 days, everything included. Here’s the link:
        Shelley recently posted..Vaccinated! Getting Yellow Fever Certified in Korea

        • Shawna February 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

          I can’t get over the price difference in the RTW tickets! That $3000 that you saved will go a long way in Columbia I bet! I’ll definitely check out your blog and thanks so much for the recommendation about the meditation retreat-Skott is really interested in giving this a try. I’m skeptical as to whether I could manage not to talk for an entire day, let along 10 days, but it would certainly be an experience of a lifetime I bet!

          • Shelley February 22, 2012 at 8:04 am #

            Hey! Sorry for the double commenting…i was having some trouble with it. The retreat is definitely a challenging and worthwhile experience. There are some shorter length ones on Koh Samui i think…maybe 5 days?

            If you do decide to go, show up early and sugn up for chores right away…otherwise you’ll end up with burning used toilet paper and cleaning the bathroom, instead of sweeping (like we did) ;)
            Shelley recently posted..Leg 1: Canada

          • Skott February 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

            Hey Shelley – thanks for the heads up. Yes indeed, I do plan on attending the 10-day retreat, and thanks to you I will definitely be there a day early – appreciated!

  10. Denise March 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi, sort of a silly question but did the travel clinics give you an itemized receipt of everything and then you contacted your insurance company? Or did you contact your insurance company first? I’m about to start my vaccinations but am a little confused on the process and like you want to be able to save as much as possible.

    Appreciate your time!!

    • Skott and Shawna April 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Hi sorry – for the long wait for our response… being home now we don’t check our little blog nearly that often. Anyways, to answer your question we went to the travel clinic at home to get all of our shots and paid for them all there. They were not covered by insurance. In our case we were fortunate enough that the benefits plan at our work DID actually cover them however, so we were very fortunate in that sense. We hope your trip is going well… Cheers!

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