Thursday, January 10, 2008

Visas, Diseases and Health Insurance

There are some great links if you want good info on immunizations, what meds you should take etc when you're traveling - just check out the CDC Travelers Health Home website for lists of the world's regions, which are then further broken down by categories. Looks like there's nothing unexpected - we'll need to be up-to-date on our MMR, DTP, Hep A/B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and they say rabies - I didn't know there was a vaccine for that. Then a bunch of places have some malaria risk depending on what region you're visiting, and the CDC also describes which malaria meds still work for those regions (resistance is an big problem worldwide).

In terms of visas, the State Department Country Specific website lists the visa requirements country by country - I think the only places for which we'll need visas are El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, and Chile, but we'll double check. For each country they have different requirements describing how to get a visa - some look like a pain but others look pretty easy.

Finally, for health insurance there are a bunch of options - MultiNational Underwriters, Worldwide Medical, and New York International Group had the most info online. Looks like it will be around $1000/6 months - this includes the 'extreme sports/adventure' package, which really isn't very extreme. Unless you get this, if you're doing anything fun like like rock climbing, kayaking, scuba diving and you get hurt, you won't be covered. Check the details of the policy to make sure they cover emergency evacuation back to the US as well. I think all of these do but we'll make sure before we purchase a plan.


  1. So there is a vaccine for rabies- I think it's a 3 shot series, so you should probably get started on that sooner rather than later, if you qualify. According to the pediatric bible on vaccines, it should be given to kids (what do I know about adults?) who are traveling to areas where they might encounter wild or domestic animals (particularly in developing countries) or involved in activities with increased risk of exposure (and the 2 they mention include camping and spelunking). You guys should probably just go to a travel clinic at UCSF- vaccine recommendations can be pretty tricky and complex.

  2. Don't get rabies guys!
    It would be ever so slightly detrimental to the rediscovery of gainful employment.
    ~Sara Maxine

  3. Kristin ended up getting her rabies vaccination, but I was denied due to a worldwide shortage of rabies vaccine. I will make sure to keep Kristin between myself and any growling dogs during our travels.

  4. My fiancee and I are planning to leave on a very similar trip in about a month. I wondered if you guys took any anti-malarials and how you dealt with them. I know since we're passing through so many countries we'll have to take a couple different ones. How did you guys deal with switching between them with a gap in covereage seeing as how you need to take them a few weeks before and after entering/leaving a particular area. Any advice would be great. I'll be contacting my travel clinic also, but just wanted some real world advice. Thanks for the great website, your trip is definitely part of what made our trip seem possible!

  5. Hi Ann,
    We started on chloroquine once we were in southern Mexico, and then switched to mefloquine for South America. The key is that mefloquine works where chloroquine works, but not chloroquine doesn't work where mefloquine does. So 4 weeks before we hit South America we switched from chloroquine (which we used in Mexico and Central America) to mefloquine and there wasn't really a gap that way. Does that make sense?
    Also, in case you didn't find your way to our travel wiki, please check out Drive The Americas. It has really comprehensive info on driving Latin America. When you do start your trip be sure to contact us and we can profile you in our roadtripper profiles section. Happy travels!


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