Skip to the content

What travel vaccines do you need before your holiday?

Travel vaccines | Private Medical Insurance

The world is full of wonderful places, and the last thing you want when exploring is to be struck down by nasty bacteria and viruses. Travel vaccinations are an essential part of a holiday especially if you’re jetting off to a tropical destination!

Planning an epic adventure? Get clued up on vaccinations with our handy guide below. Discuss the locations you’re traveling to with your GP, and book in for any required vaccines at least 6-8 weeks before you go.

Why are travel vaccinations so important?

Adventure tourism is on the rise and we’re seeing more people travelling to exotic locations where there are risks of getting particular viruses. Every year, the NHS estimates that a number of British holidaymakers will travel without getting the required vaccinations.

But by not getting the required vaccines, you’re putting yourself at risk of contracting a potentially serious, infectious disease. There’s also a chance you could bring it back to the UK when you travel home, too.

Are vaccines free?

Not all vaccines are free, but some are, especially if they protect against a disease that poses a greater risk to the public if brought back into the UK from somewhere else.

The following vaccines are free on the NHS:

  • Polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera

Vaccines/medicine you need to pay for include:

  • Malaria (You’ll need a prescription for antimalarial tablets)
  • Hepatitis B (unless combined with hepatitis A)
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Meningitis vaccines
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Yellow fever

What are the illnesses to be aware of and where could you catch them?


A serious viral infection which is rare, but can cause temporary or permanent paralysis.

  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan


A bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. With early diagnosis, the infection can be managed. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious complications and in some cases, fatality.

  • Indian subcontinent
  • Africa
  • South and Southeast Asia
  • South America

Hepatitis A

A liver infection caused by a virus, of which symptoms include sickness, pain and high temperature. Most people who get Hepatitis A can expect to get better within a few months.

  • Parts of Africa
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • South and Central America


A potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

The NHS states the vaccine is usually only recommended if: you’re travelling to an area where cholera is common and you’ll be visiting remote places without access to medical care, or you’re an aid/disaster relief worker where a cholera outbreak is likely.

  • Parts of Asia
  • Parts of Africa

Yellow Fever

A serious infection spread by mosquitoes. Its symptoms can include a high temperature, headaches, vomiting and muscle pain.

  • Parts of Africa

Further information can be found on this Yellow Fever map.


A rare but serious infection of the brain and nerves, usually caught from the bite or scratch of an infected animal, often dogs.

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Central and South America


A serious tropical disease spread by mosquitos. Symptoms usually appear between 7-18 days after you’ve been bitten, but can appear months after travel.

  • Large areas of Africa and Asia
  • Central and South America
  • Dominican Republic and Haiti
  • Parts of the Middle East
  • Some Pacific Islands

More information can be found on the NHS website.

Don't forget travel insurance

It’s always worth making sure you’ve the right travel insurance in place, before you go away. Whether you get travel vaccines or not, you never know what medical emergencies you might face. Unexpected costs can rise if you need urgent medical treatment or if your bags have been lost or stolen. Always check your policy before you leave to ensure it covers any activities you wish to do while you’re out there.

General & Medical customers have the option to upgrade their healthcare policy to include Multi-Trip Travel Insurance, for an additional fee per member.

Private Health Insurance

Did you know, some of our Private Healthcare products include Non-UK Medical Cover? Here at General & Medical, we know the importance of looking after the health of you and your family whether you’re home or away.

This content is subject to our Disclaimer.

Existing Clients

Log in to your secure area.

Client Login

Pre-existing Conditions

We offer Private Health Insurance that can cover some pre-existing conditions.

View Conditions

Get a Quote

To get a free, no-obligation quote today please click the button below, or you can contact us.

0800 980 4601


Recommend us?




Follow us on Instagram

Customer Reviews

We’re proud of our 5 Star service.

Read Reviews

Hospital Finder

Find participating hospitals near you.

Find A Hospital

What's next?

Our Private Health Insurance has been designed to suit all needs and budgets, take a look to see what covers we have available. You can also enhance your private healthcare cover to include certain pre-existing conditions, include in-patient mental health treatment and more.

Get a quote Find out more

Contact us

To find out more about how we can help you then give us a call and a member of our friendly team will be on hand to help out.

Request a callback