Traveling Over the Summer? Don't Forget This First

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Traveling Over the Summer? Don't Forget This First
May 27, 2022
RxLocal Team

Summer Vacations Mean Travel Vaccinations: Your Complete Guide to Traveling Abroad

School is out, the sun is up, and summer vacation is right around the bend.

For most people, the summer months mean a chance to get away, take some time for R&R, and make some new memories in the process. If you’re getting ready for a getaway this summer, you’ve probably booked your flights, packed your bags, and bought a bottle of sunscreen or two.

But before you step foot on your flight or embark on your drive, make sure you have something else in check: your travel vaccines.

The last two years have shown us just how important vaccines are — but your COVID-19 shot isn’t the only one you should cross off your list. When you’re taking a trip across state lines or making a trek around the world, vaccines are essential.

If you want to stay safe this summer and ensure your trip is one to remember, don’t forget to stop by your local pharmacy and get the vaccines you need.

Here’s your guide to all things travel vaccines this summer:

Do I need a travel vaccine?

Whether you’re skiing in Colorado, backpacking in Switzerland, or exploring the beaches of Aruba, you need to be up-to-date on all your vaccines.

Vaccinations are important no matter where you are — in the United States or abroad. But when it comes to international travel in particular, vaccines are essential. In other parts of the world, other viruses and diseases uncommon in the U.S. may still be afoot. Because of this, it’s important that you do your part to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your fellow travelers safe.

For more information on the international travel vaccines, visit the CDC.

What vaccines do I need before I travel?

If you’re planning to take your next trip in the coming weeks, you should be up-to-date on 3 vaccines: routine, required, and recommended vaccines.

  • Routine vaccines are vaccines you normally get at your annual check-up.
  • Required vaccines are vaccines you have to get to enter another country, based on that country’s travel requirements.
  • Recommended vaccines are vaccines that the WHO and CDC recommend you get, regardless of whether or not it’s required in your country of travel.

Each of these vaccines is essential to maintain optimal health while you’re traveling, but different countries have different protocols. In most circumstances, yellow fever is the only vaccine required by certain countries to travel.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises travelers to stay up-to-date on other recommended vaccines, including:

  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis E
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Polio (adult booster dose)
  • Rabies
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Typhoid fever

In order to find out which vaccines your destination requires, visit this free resource from the CDC.

When should I get a travel vaccine?

The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated at least a month before you travel.

That’s because your body needs time to build up immunity and ensure that you’re protected from incoming bacteria and viruses. Some countries even require that you get your vaccines within a certain time frame before you travel.

For example, if you’re getting a yellow fever vaccine, you must get it at least 10 days before travel.

In addition, certain vaccines require multiple doses, so you’ll want to set aside time to make sure you get all of your appointments in.

Where can I get a travel vaccine?

There are several places you can go to get your routine, required, and recommended vaccines before traveling.

These include your primary doctor’s office, a travel medical clinic, or, perhaps the most affordable and accessible option, your local independent pharmacy.

These days, more and more pharmacies offer a variety of vaccines, including the ones you need to stay safe while traveling. Many pharmacies even specialize in yellow fever vaccines.

Getting vaccinated at a pharmacy has its perks. Often, you can walk into the pharmacy and get your vaccine in a matter of minutes, rather than sitting in waiting rooms or shuffling through long lines. Vaccines given at the pharmacy are typically cheaper than other options, meaning you can save some cash and put it towards your upcoming travels.

Plus, you’ll get the one-on-one care independent pharmacies are known for.

Check out our Pharmacy Finder in order to find out which pharmacies in your area offer travel vaccines.

What else should I do before traveling?

After you’re up-to-date on all of your travel vaccines, you’ll still want to do a few more things to make sure you’re all set for your trip. Before you head out, make sure that you cross these items off your checklist:

  • Stay up to-do-date on the latest COVID-19 international travel requirements. You can find the requirements here.
  • Pack your prescription medications.
  • Pack your over-the-counter medications.
  • Keep a copy of your health insurance card and documents.
  • Review hospitals or clinics at your destination.
  • Be mindful of how you feel and don’t travel if you’re sick.

For more information on how to keep yourself safe while traveling, visit the CDC’s Resources for Travelers.

Summer vacations are coming up fast. In between your planning and packing, make sure you’re setting aside time to get your necessary travel vaccines. Research which vaccines you need and set up an appointment at least a month in an advance. With the right vaccines, you can ensure your peace of mind and have plenty of fun on your upcoming vacation. Happy travels!