So today we purchased our flight tickets to Thailand. It’s been pretty ‘official’ for a while, but now it is OFFICIAL. It’s a pretty amazing and daunting idea, and I now feel the push to purge out material goods and take account of what is important to travel with. What parts of your life would you put in 2 checked bags, a carry-on, and a personal item? That is my current dilemma.
As this will be my first international flight, I have been curious about the exact procedure for booking. I’m told that booking 3 months in advance is the best way to secure a good price. The catch is that you need to book in advance but you can’t confirm the booking until you have your visa officially stamped in your passport. We are currently patiently waiting on all documents to be submitted to the Thai Ministry of Education in order to go to the Thai Consulate here in the USA to apply for the visa. We were told that we won’t have the necessary documents until July of this year and we plan to fly out by the end of July, which makes the application for the visa very “down to the wire”. As I am already a detailed and slightly O.C.D. person, this is a slight cause of anxiety. Nevertheless I’ve heard that in the worse-case scenario we would enter on a tourist visa and then apply for the non-immigrant visa once there.
Immunizations have been a serious matter at hand as of late. Having two small children makes this all the more important so we can ensure their health and safety. The CDC website advises all of us to get the routine shots: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and the yearly flu shot. In addition, they also encourage most travelers to get the Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines. We were all able to get the Hepatitis A vaccine covered by insurance as long as our GP billed it as “preventative”. The typhoid vaccination will have to be administered at a travel clinic.
Now comes the difficult part of the vaccination process. Are ALL of these really necessary for OUR family? Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, Rabies, and Yellow Fever are all vaccinations suggested for SOME travelers. I opted for the Hepatitis B because it was offered at my doctor’s office and covered by insurance. However, with the other vaccinations I am unsure of their necessity. We also don’t want to subject our children to any unneccesary pain. As the internet is flooded with opinions it becomes overwhelming and difficult to know truth vs. uneducated assumptions. With that being said, I am heeding the advice of our pediatrician as well as our local travel clinic. Our pediatrician has recommended the typhoid vaccination as well as prevention for malaria should we venture into areas with a high concentration of malaria outbreaks. As far as rabies, she suggested we use the post-exposure medication in the chance we were to get exposed (plus the side effects of the vaccine can be horrible).