Planning Christmas in the Philippines and most probably the most boring blog post although it covers the answers to lots of peoples questions to us.
Flights booked, suppose we better figure out where we are going to stay and plan some stuff. Then there’s a knock at the door and the postman delivers a parcel for us. What could it be? It’s flowers and chocolates from Merlin the dog to say thank you for looking after him, what a lovely surprise!
Where do you start, well we started a while ago.
Don’t under estimate travel vaccinations. Yes these are expensive but if there is one thing to spend your hard earned money on this has to be the one. If you’re in the UK don’t rely on getting the NHS injections done in time. Deb has had her appointments cancelled on various occasions to the point that it became too late to be fully covered as the appointment was 4 weeks too late. For peace of mind she ended up paying to go private.
Off we went to the local doctors recommended clinic in Southampton for a consultation. Well if there were nominations for the rudest, most intimidating travel nurse, Southampton Travel Clinic would surely win. Considering we have to pay a private charge just to see this women you would have expected at least some customer service. “What do you mean, you don’t know where you are travelling in Asia and you don’t know for how long, how can I do risk assessments based on this information.” Sorry, have you never met a backpacker, Lady? (Well that’s what we were thinking in our heads, goodness knows what would have happened if we would have said it out loud) Scary lady 😨
Deb sets to Googling and ends up finding Go Global who has a private clinic not far away from home. So refreshing, turns out to be a good call. You couldn’t wish for a better person. Andrea is really nice and welcoming. If your local to Chandler’s Ford, Southampton, UK area, she’s your travel lady.
Deb looks at all the countries on the wish list and Google searches the vaccinations then works out which country needs the most and if any are different to other areas.
Sorted! Prepare for Myanmar and confirm with Go Global.
Hepatitis A – Already covered
Hepatitis B – Some say it’s not needed but we wouldn’t go without it.
Japanese Encephalitis – Got to get
Typhiod – Already covered
Rabies – Another that some say not required but on our list to have. Some of these animals may look cute but you just never know if they have rabies. Steve foaming at the mouth wouldn’t be a good look.
Polio – Already covered
Tetnus – Already covered
Diptheria – Already covered
Malaria – Complicated but Andrea helped us sort it out and Asda supplied cheaper than anywhere else without the need of a prescription!
Total cost £1167
Yes it’s very expensive and some are only recommended but not essential but if you’re wise it’s better to have them rather than pay for it later. You can’t put a price on life, it’s priceless so why risk it? This is the cost without Dr Debs 1st Aid Kit, more about this later.
Next – Check out the country, is it safe?
Get it in perspective..
Check its not in a war zone or in a state of lawlessness.
Check you’re covered under your travel insurance.
Look at the latest government advice from the country you’re visiting.
Do you need any special cover, natural disaster recovery?
Look at the risk and measure against how safe your country is for a visitor from another country?
Lets look at the Phillipines.
In the UK media the president is shooting all drug dealers, it’s carnage. They have employed local people from the slums to assassinate their fellow neighbours if they are involved. People are saying to us is it safe for you to go there, won’t you get kidnapped?
A – Are you telling me that you are going to wander around the the dodgy parts of town? 🔫 Check out the no go areas where you are going and don’t go there! 🚫
B – Are you going to be involved in drugs? 😲 If you have prescription medication to take or want to take your 1st aid supply of pills, take the instructions and get a letter from your doctor for prescription drugs. Remember that a drug may be legal in your country but not in the country you are going to. Example: Codeine is classed as an illegal narcotic. That means no migraine tablets for Deb.. Well only until landing in Philippines. They can come on the plane 🙄 Just not off it and it’s the long flight that gives her a migraine!
C – Are you really going to just book the 1st cheap hotel you see without checking out why it’s so cheap? 🛏
Check out on google the best area for tourists to stay, this may not always be the area you thought. In Manila it’s the financial district of Makati, right next to the red light district.. It wasn’t Debs 1st choice but after research and recommendations this is where we have booked.. Will let you know in January how it went.
D – Are you just going to jump in any old taxi you see? 🚕 You have the Internet, yes? Use it. Google how much is a taxi, best taxis to use. We land at 23:00hr and have pre booked a taxi, after a long journey we are happy to pay the extra to have a person standing there with our name ready to take us straight to the overnight hotel. This adds to the comfort of travel. Before you ask, yes of course we checked out the taxi company reviews 😉
E – Are you going to open your wallet full of cash in front of everyone, remember some of these countries are poor, what is only £10 to you is 4 days wages to someone else?
After a morning of rushing around, the time has suddenly come. Off to the train station we go. 6 minutes before the train arrives its cancelled! 2 trains, 4 taxi’s, 1 boat, 3 flights, various minibuses, overnight hotel in Manila and a coach later, we are in Boracay!
Debs and Steve