First mistake? Not much allowance in the budget for this. All I can say is "ouch" when we found out how much they were going to cost!!
We contacted MASTA (www.masta.org) to find out the latest information on health considerations whilst in South America.
At the time we were looking for the information, MASTA did not provide detailed country by country information on their website; you had to phone the premium number (0906 8224100, £0.60/min) and give the relevant answers to the voice prompts: where we were intending to travel to, when, and what our living conditions would be like in each country. After a fairly lengthy phone call going through each of our 6 countries in turn, a very detailed brief arrived in the post two days later.(See note below *)
This listed required immunisations, recommended immunisations and immunisations to be considered, together with fairly up to date health news and security advice for each country. We then took this information with us to the Travel Clinic at our local doctor's surgery and the sister, Isobel, took us through what we needed to have - and how much it would all cost!!
Due to previous travel we have done, most of our inoculations were up to date for the trip:
But there were two we had managed to do without in the past - Hepatitis B and Rabies. Although neither of these was deemed to be essential, they were recommended by both MASTA and our travel clinic for our planned trip. They certainly weren't cheap - a course of three injections for Rabies at £35 a shot and the same for Hepatitis B at a slightly cheaper £27.50 a shot!!
Update 1st August 2003: The recommended antimalarials for our circumstances were Paludrine and Avloclor. We estimate that we need approximately 12 weeks worth, and travelpharm.com seemed to offer the best deal at only £1.95 for a week's supply (including VAT and delivery). I only made the order today, and this should arrive by Monday. They were certainly very prompt in answering any questions, so first impressions would lead me to recommend them.
Update 16th August 2003: The malaria tablets all arrived on Monday morning as promised. A very efficient service.
* Since receiving our list from MASTA, they now offer an additional option of getting your brief via the Internet for a one-off fee of £4.99. This may be a cheaper option if you need information on a number of countries.
First Aid Kit
I always err on the side of caution with a First Aid Kit. The list below comprises everything we will be taking in our kit. The items chosen are based partly on past experience of travelling, and partly on research on the web for suggested kit contents. The following websites were useful for both First Aid Kits and general travel health advice: