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If you’ve decided to travel abroad, one of the wisest things you can do is immunize. Staying healthy and not picking up  a foreign disease is an incredibly important precaution if you don’t want to end up in quarantine.

But there are a huge range of vaccines available nowadays, so how do you know which you actually need?

To make your travel arrangements easier, we’ve outlined the 5 most common vaccines. Always consult with your medical practitioner about possible side effects first.

 5 Common Vaccinations You Should Get When Traveling Around the World

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Yellow fever is common in the tropics, mainly in South America and Africa. That’s why it is important to get a yellow fever vaccine before taking a trip to these parts of the world.

One thing you need to know about this vaccine is that it’s only valid 10 days after it is administered. So you should make an early appointment with a travel medicine clinic so that you don’t hamper your travel arrangements due to a delayed yellow fever shot.

Proof of this vaccination may be required to enter certain countries, so make sure you’ve confirmed this if you’re heading to subtropical areas of Africa and South America.

Common Vaccinations Every Traveler Needs

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a common disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. It spreads through mistakenly ingesting human waste, for instance shaking hands with someone with contaminated hands and then eating food, or via sexual contact.

It is prevalent throughout the world (though more common in developing countries), so all travelers should be protected against it. People get sick two to six weeks after they get the virus, and it could take up to six months to fully recover.

The vaccination is done in two stages, with the first stage being immediately before travel. The second one is administered 6 months later.

Make sure to get both vaccinations. The vaccine is incredibly effective, so you won’t have to ever worry about Hepatitis A again.

Hepatitis B

Like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B is a viral disease that affects the liver. It is recommended for long term travellers to hot spots which include Africa, China, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

This vaccine is offered in 3 doses, but the first dosage is offered immediately before travel.  The idea is to protect you from contracting this disease in case you get open wounds on your travels (Hep B is transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids).

On top of getting this vaccination, your medic should advise you on things to do so to protect yourself from contracting Hepatitis B. For instance, having unprotected sex while on foreign travel can increase your chances of contracting Hepatitis B.


Influenza is a respiratory tract infection that is usually common in crowded places, and also has a higher prevalence in certain times of the year, especially during the cold season.

If you intend to travel to a country in its cold season, it would be best to get vaccinated against influenza. It is also prudent to get vaccinated against influenza if you have some underlying conditions that have weakened your immunity.

DO NOT underestimate influenza by brushing it off as the common flu.

A flu epidemic in Australia this year has claimed 288 lives in the worst flu season in many decades.

Meningococcal Vaccine

This is a vaccination meant to protect you from meningitis, a deadly condition that can kill within a few hours.

This vaccine is recommended if you intend to travel to sub-Saharan Africa, an area of the world that is prone to Meningitis outbreaks.

However, even after getting vaccinated, it is always advisable to get a booster shot once you are back home if you happen to travel to the Meningitis belt during an outbreak.


How the Immune System Works: The How to Series

101 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body


Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. I believe that Tetanus, Typhoid, and Rabies (for some countries) are more important than Influenza vaccination. Specially in third world countries you encounter outbreaks of Typhoid after almost every disaster, small or big. There’s a combined Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine available to reduce the stress from too many injections in a short period of time.

    • Thanks for the heads up on Tetanus, Typhoid, and Rabies Juergen. Absolutely, as you’ve noted, it depends on the country, for instance Australia had a deadly outbreak of Influenza this year, so I would have recommended the shot of vital importance to anyone traveling here. But perhaps you would’t need it as urgently for other parts of the world.

      Combining the Hepatitis A and Typhoid is a great way to go – especially for those who stress out from injections. Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

  2. I’m dreadful about organising vaccinations. I’m not so bad about actually having them done these days but I almost need to be dragged there. Thanks for the good advice on why we all should!

    • A lot of them are very important, though you obviously have to need it for it to be useful, otherwise the side effects might not be worth the vaccination. For instance if you’re not hitting South America or Africa, a yellow fever shot may not be necessary,

      But highly recommend researching before your trips, especially if you’re heading to potentially vulnerable regions.

      Glad the post was helpful for you :)

    • Dr. Deb, the Travel Doctor has a free app on the App Store available for both Android and IOS for you to keep track of your travel vaccine shots and your regular vaccines also. I keep track of my vaccinations very carefully.

    • Thanks for the tip Robert, will check it out. Agreed, it’s so important to keep track :)

  3. Megan & Mike, so glad you touched on this topic. It’s something many travelers overlook assuming they’ll be fine. But it’s crucial to be educated on taking care of your health before traveling. Glad that you mentioned which countries you’ll need each vaccine. For example, we’ve been wanting to go to Peru so when we plan that we’ll for sure look up the yellow fever vaccine. Very educational post!

    • Hi Steph & Zach, so glad the post was helpful for you. Yes, I agree, I think vaccinations is something many travelers overlook, but it’s always wise to immunise! And sometimes mandatory to be allowed to travel at all (re getting a yellow fever certificate for certain countries).

      Have an amazing time in Peru – just remember to carry that yellow fever certificate with you :)

      Happy travels!

  4. Oops, I did not know that Influenza can kill too. I always thought of it as something that comes with the weather change and can irritate you a lot while traveling. Never knew it can be dangerous.

    Apart from vaccination, it is important to have simple and easy to digest food while traveling. In India, I always suggest people not to have raw food as their system may not be geared up for local bacterias.

    • Yes, it’s been a terrible season for influenza in Australia this year, has claimed far too many lives, and left others fighting :(

      Glad we could let you know about the potential dangers of it. Not something to be underestimated, and highly recommend a flu shot if you read that a flu epidemic has affected a destination you’re heading to.

      Agree too about the importance of easy to digest food while traveling. I wouldn’t recommend raw food in India either – you’re right, it’s not necessarily that it’s bad food, just that people’s bodies won’t be used to the local bacteria. Great tip, thanks for sharing Anu. Travel safe!

  5. Excellent information. When it comes to your health, you can never be too careful. Getting the proper vaccinations needs to be on the to-do list of anyone planning a trip to prone locations. We got our Hep A & B shots a few years ago prior to traveling to some countries where the shots were recommended. Last year, we had a trip planned through southern Africa, so we got our Yellow Fever vaccination. Boarder control did check for our Yellow Fever cards upon entry where the Yellow Fever vaccination was mandatory.

    • Thanks Heather – agree that health is a priority, and when you’re visiting other parts of the world you need to protect your immune system and body from vulnerabilities.

      Glad to hear you’re set with your Hep A & B shots. And yellow fever too. Yes, Australian immigration always asks to see our Yellow fever certificate when we return home after having visited South America – even if it wasn’t mandatory for the country itself. So that’s an important one if you’re heading to an affected region.

  6. Posts like these always terrify me, but in a necessary way. I’m all about getting the vaccines I need when traveling, and a few that are just suggested as well. I didn’t get the Hep B vaccine, but I feel like I got that as a kid and it’s good for life, right? I’m off to do that search now! haha!

    • We don’t mean to be alarmist by any means, there are definitely vaccines that some travelers won’t need. But hopefully we pushed the point home that you should research those you do need, and definitely prioritize your health before traveling.

      If you’re not sure about your Heb B vaccination, I would definitely recommend checking :)

  7. Great list. I took Yellow Fever vaccination in India before I travelled to Africa and the adventure to get it rivaled that of traveling in Africa too (just kidding). I think influenza is another one which we often don’t think about much, but should…

    • Thanks Siddhartha – glad it was helpful for you. Yes, you’ll need Yellow fever for Africa, and in fact I realized that Australian immigration even asked me for it on the way back in after having traveled. So don’t lose your certificate :)

      Influenza is definitely one which people don’t think about, because they think it’s and easy one to get over, just the common flu. But it’s wiped people out in AUstralia this year, and many have ended up with serious conditions. Flu shot this year has been vital here.

  8. Have been a meningitis survivor so I know how important this post is. So so glad someone wrote a post on vaccinations and their importance. It is UTMOST important to be healthy and wary of all health issues because when you travel in sickness you actually end up losing on everything and above all you suffer and your companions suffer with you.

    • Sorry to hear you suffered meningitis Divyakshi – but I’m glad to hear that you recovered. Yes, it’s essential to put our health first and be preventative about the vulnerabilities we expose ourselves to by visiting new regions.

      You travel to enjoy the experience, not to wind up sick, and to leave with something you don’t want brought home with you.

      Safe travels XX

  9. This is such an important topic for travelers. There are so many diseases around the world, but we are lucky to live at a time in history when vaccines are accessible and can prevent most of them. This is also a good reminder that we need to visit a travel clinic soon to make sure we’re up on our vaccines! Like my grandma always says, “Health is wealth!”

    • Absolutely Jennifer – I use the saying “it’s wise to immunise”, but I totally love your grandma’s saying that “health is wealth!” It’s so true – without our health we have nothing else.

      We are very lucky indeed to live in an age where we have access to vaccines. So there’s no reason to risk traveling without having had the relevant shots.

  10. Great tips! I think I have all of these except yellow fever as I have not needed that yet. Another one people might need is Typhoid when traveling to developing countries and being an adventures eater.

    • Thanks Candiss – glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the tip on Typhoid – not one I’ve personally had, though my eating habits are usually pretty conservative overseas. I might look into the potential scenarios where it would be useful though. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Hi guys,
    Loving your blog and articles, but don’t agree with this one. I am against vaccinations and traveling the world perfectly fine without any of them. I got only three vaccinations as a child and two of them didn’t work at all.
    I became very sick with two diseases later during my childhood. My parents decided not to vaccinate me any more and I have never gotten any other shots in my life.
    Yes, nowadays I can’t go to certain countries because of the yellow fever vaccine, but besides those a few countries there is still so much to explore. Even in South America, not every country requires you to have a proof of a vaccine. You just need to follow important rules and take care of your health and you will be totally fine.
    Also, I may understand why people get lifetime vaccinations against some diseases, but why do they get shots from flu just doesn’t make sense. There are hundreds of different viruses and getting a shot from one will not help your body fight another one. Instead, it will effect your immune system tremendously. I see people eating trashy foods and leading unhealthy lifestyle and then bombarding their bodies with extra stress as vaccines.
    But I guess it works differently for everyone.
    Just my modest opinion,
    Happy travels! ;)

    • Hi Anya, thanks for sharing your perspective, I’m sorry to hear that vaccinations don’t work for you.

      You’re absolutely right that vaccinations work differently for everyone, however I (personally) don’t think people should write off vaccinations just because they don’t work for others, or because people like yourself are able to travel without contracting anything.

      I also don’t agree with the perspective that you shouldn’t vaccinate against the most common viruses just because there are hundreds out there, and you could be hit by a different one. Sure, you could definitely become sick from a different virus, but the vaccinations which exist are there to treat the most common. I think that type of view would be like saying you wouldn’t want to wear a seatbelt because there are hundreds of ways you could die in a car crash. Yes, but wearing a seatbelt prevents the most common injuries and deaths.

      You definitely need to follow important rules and take care of your health, a vaccination shouldn’t mean that you’re able to throw other healthy habits out the window. And I do acknowledge that vaccines can effect your immune system and some people experience side effects. Which is why they are medically advised to occur so many weeks before your travel date, to allow sufficient time before a journey. I absolutely encourage people to first consult with their medical practitioner about possible side effects.

      Ultimately, it’s up to every individual, and I respect your opinion not to take them. But we had people dying in Australia this year because of the flu, and if they had gone to the doctors and had the recommended shots it would have given them a far better chance of fighting it.

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your opinion :)

      Happy travels XX

  12. Great article but it’s a bit of scarring for me to read about all those common vaccinations! Anyway, I guess they help some people but it can also harm as well! In Germany, there is a big culture for natural treatment aka non-medical treatment as a first priority. In my opinion, this is the right way to go.

    I have to admit that the pharmaceutical companies are pretty good to use all kind of scary campaigns and it seems to work and to be a pretty BIG business. Just read this one

    You mention that several people are dead by Influenza in Australia.
    Is there any in Europe or USA?

    Thanks for sharing.


    • Hi Berit, thanks for sharing your perspective, it’s fantastic to hear about the culture of natural treatments in Germany.

      I agree that there is sadly an element of scare tactic these days in pharmaceutical campaigns, and it can often be difficult to know how to read between the lines and find the facts. The immunizations I’ve included here though are the common, mainstream shots that prevent really widespread diseases, and in cases like the yellow fever vaccine, it’s actually government mandated in most Western countries that you have it if you’re traveling to regions like South America.

      You’re right that sometimes vaccines and immunizations can cause adverse side effects, and definitely if there’s a natural alternative that does the same thing, I’m all for it. I personally think that putting yourself at risk though when there’s a vaccine readily available is irresponsible, but everyone has to make their own personal decision over their health, especially if they’ve been known to have really bad reactions.

      I’m not 100% sure about the death rate of Influenza in Europe or the USA, in the US specifically I have clocked news reports during flu season of hospitals becoming inundated, but I wouldn’t be able to quote facts on that without doing some more research.

      Thanks for contributing to the discussion here :)

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