On my last big overseas trip, I was shocked to spend £750 on vaccinations and prescription medication. And that is EXCLUDING all the smaller items that I took in a medical kit.
I vowed to find ways to save money on travel vaccinations & medication. It can be done. These are my top tips:
1. Negotiate the price
I know, right?! Who’d have thought?
In the UK, many pharmacies are independent businesses so you can go in and ask to speak to the manager and negotiate the best price for things.
I only know this because it was the pharmacy manager when I handed him my prescription and without prompting, said:
‘I can do the malaria tablets for £185 instead of £195 and we can do something with the price on the altitude tablets’.
erm....okaaay. I never even thought the price was up for discussion!
2. Shop around
Now that I knew the price might be up for negotiation, I began to shop around. You can get on the phone and call the pharmacies in your area for a quick price check as well as looking online.
Many companies have their price list available online so it's easy to do a price comparison but be aware prices given can be per dose or for the full set of vaccinations. So if it looks very cheap, it may be the ‘dose’ price.
In the end, I found NHS Travel Vaccinations via my GP Surgery were the best prices for vaccinations.
3. Use an online pharmacy
There are online pharmacists in the UK and although I’ve not used them yet I know people who have and they made quite a saving. Dr. Fox Pharmacy, based in Glasgow is one option.
Do get this sorted in plenty of time as a friend's medication got lost in the post and they only received it just in time.
4. Buy at your destination
Depending on where you're travelling to, you could make substantial savings by buying medication at your destination.
This brings some risk such as it not being available without a prescription or needing more time to organise.
It’s not an option I would choose for all medication but some generic antibiotics I probably would.
You may also find that in certain destinations are well set up to purchase medicines frequently used by travellers to that area.
For example, in Nepal, you could easily by Diamox for altitude sickness in the local store waaaaaay cheaper than the £30 I paid in the UK. Especially as I never used them and gave them away!
If you have other suggestions, I'm all ears!
Before you go here are some other articles you might enjoy:
- A round-up of inspiring travel journals
- How to entertain yourself on a long flight
- Useful travel gift ideas
- How to survive long-haul flights in economy
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