How Much do Travel Vaccinations Cost?

Needles on a map, travel vaccinations

According to a recent survey carried out by Post Office Travel Insurance, a whopping 47% of gap year travellers have left home without the correct vaccinations required for their destination. I was genuinely surprised that the number was so high, especially when most vaccines are relatively cheap – or even free – to get in the UK.

If you’re heading off on a gap year, RTW trip or any other kind of backpacking experience, it’s so important to make sure you’re properly immunised against potential diseases. You can check the Fit For Travel website from the NHS to see exactly what vaccinations you need, and you should try to make an appointment with your GP or practice nurse around 6-8 weeks before you travel.

Read more: Planning a RTW trip? Check out How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World? for some fab traveller tips! 

365/251 H1N1 Vaccine

Image by Noodles and Beef

Although travel jabs are important, what puts a lot of people off the idea of vaccinations is the cost involved. But, what many people don’t realise is that most injections you need are available free on the NHS. A friend of mine once forked out a couple of hundred pounds for vaccinations at a private clinic – only to find out laterthat most of them would have been completely free on the NHS. You can even get a few months worth of malaria tablets on an NHS prescription at the standard prescription price of £8.05.

This cool infographic shows the exact cost of jabs at various clinics around the UK, including the NHS. As you can see, prices vary a fair bit – which brings me to my other tip. Once you know what vaccinations you need, and you’ve had all the free ones the NHS can give you,  make sure you shop around for the remaining jabs. Most travel clinics have a price list online, so do a search around your area and find the cheapest one. There’s nothing stopping you from going to a different clinic for each jab – which is exactly what I did last year – and it could save you a lot of money. An example – when I needed to get my rabies jab in London last year, the price I paid was exactly half the amount I’d been quoted at another clinic, but the yellow fever vaccinations at the second clinic were much cheaper than at the first. Definitely worth searching for the cheapest deal.

Inoculation-costs-infographic-aph

 

Do you skip the jabs when you travel? Tell us why in the comments!

About Emily Luxton

An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!

17 Comments

  1. Luckily I got all mine free. I would have paid though… I worry about everything so it definitely puts my mine at rest!

  2. I made the same list before travelling abroad, and picked the clinics that had the cheapest vaccinations 🙂 I think I visited three different clinics + my doctor for free shots
    Trailfinders and Nomad Travel were my favourite clinics

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one! I visited two clinics and my Dr, I think trailfinders is where I got my yellow fever jab as they were by far the cheapest at the time. I also went to a private gp clinic for my rabies shots as that was loads cheaper than any travel clinics – just proves how important it is to shop around! I think I saved a few hundred pounds!!

  3. Wow, you guys are crazy lucky. I’ve been investigating vaccines for travel to SE Asia and the cost is astronomical! I’m not joking. Well, I’d still get them but I think it’s now just going to hurt a little bit more 🙁 BTW, this relates to Australia.

    • I’ve heard that before about jabs in Australia, how annoying for you. If you don’t need the vaccines to get into SE Asia in the first place (check the border rules), you may find it works out cheaper to wait until you’re there to get some of them. Of course, that only works for ones which take effect immediately – some you have to get weeks in advance. Worth looking into that as an option, though. Although it is expensive, I genuinely don’t think it’s worth the risk to skip the jabs – just think how much the trip would be ruined if you got seriously ill.

      Also – I ordered my malaria tablets online for a fraction of the cost from any private pharmacies, so if you need those it is definitely worth doing that!

  4. Great info Emily. It is so important to shop around. They have a great travel clinic here in Boston. I didn’t even know you could get a rabies vaccine!?

    • Didn’t you?! It’s not super effective, it just increases the amount of time you have to get to a hospital in if you get bitten. Worth it if you’re travelling somewhere effective 🙂

  5. This is really great to know, we had been worrying about the cost of all those vaccinations and had been told it would be expensive. Knowing you can get so many on the NHS is amazing and just shows what a great service we have here in the UK. Thanks for the info.

    • I’m glad it helped – I think many people in the UK don’t realise that a lot of the jabs are covered. Sam forked out about £400 or something ridiculous for all his a few years ago at a private travel clinic, but it’s just not necessary! So grateful for the NHS sometimes 🙂

  6. Wow. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of vaccines out there. And they’re all pretty cheap here in India I’m sure. Just need to start figuring which ones I really need.

    • Yes, there are lots! The best way to find out what you need is to go to a doctor with a list of where you’ll be going. There’s a lot of conflicting info on the net so don’t trust that – always ask a professional 🙂

  7. Better safe than sorry! Prices vary from country to country tho. This is very helpful and informative. Thanks a lot!

    • Thanks Megsy, you’re exactly right – it is better to be safe than sorry. This post was aimed mostly at my UK readership – since I myself am from the UK – I have to say compared with many other countries we are quite lucky here!

  8. Cool post. Yep, on top of travel tickets and accommodation and food money you also have to think of vaccines too. I had to folk out for a few last year that were not available on NHS so ended up spending an extra £ I50 I think on meds and vaccines… A pain in the ass literary.

    • Oh how annoying! So many are covered on the NHS but there are still lots which aren’t – the only way to get these as cheap as possible is to shop around. I went to multiple places to get all the jabs I needed for South America last year. It’s hassle but I think I saved around £100-200!

  9. Hi, sorry to post on an old thread but I’d love to know how to get these free on the NHS? I’ve spoken to my nurse and they’ve quoted me hundreds of pounds for all the jabs I’d need, including Hep B, Hep A and they have told me it will cost £16 to be prescribed anit-malarials + the cost of the pills themselves. Any tips to get these on the NHS would be much appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • You just need to make an appointment with an NHS gp. Some surgeries run a travel clinic, so you’ll need to mention that it’s for travel jabs, but as long as you’re speaking to a gp all the standard ones will be free. There are still some that you have to pay for, such as yellow fever – for these it can be cheaper to find a private clinic (most have the prices of jabs on their websites so you can shop around to get the best price). But Hep A and B, tetanus, that sort of thing are all free of charge.

      As for the malarial pills, you do need to pay for those. The NHS have a standard prescription fee of something like £8 ish for a certain number of pills. It could be that you need two prescriptions worth – hence why it’s £16. Or it could be that the price has gone up a tad since I last got malaria pills. If it helps, you can often get these much more cheaply over the counter in Asian countries without needing a prescription – so that’s an option to explore too if you’re headed to Asia and will be starting in a big city.

      Good luck with it 🙂

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