Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Places you can go this summer that don’t need jabs

Laura TaitMon 04 Jul, 2011 08:00 AM UTC
Nothing ruins a holiday like hepatitis A, typhoid or a spot of yellow fever. Not only is contracting a disease abroad less than fun, in some cases it can have permanent health consequences. That’s why it’s important to check up on your destination before you go, and have any immunisations recommended.
However, if you’re booking a last minute break and haven’t got time for doctor’s appointments – or you’re just a bit squeamish when it comes to needles – then there are plenty of places you don’t need any jabs for.
Mykonos, Greece
For sunshine, several destinations in Europe have glorious weather coupled with great beaches. Mykonos in Greece has coastlines that match the scenery and party vibe you’d find in south-east Asia, including the aptly named Paradise Beach.
Some people consider Spain a tad unadventurous, but there’s a good reason it’s the third most popular tourist country in the world. As well as its vast array of beaches and numerous nightlife options, there is also a great deal of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. It’s worth a visit to one of the National Parks where walks, hiking trails and jeep excursions are available to help you explore marshes and wetlands, coastal dunes and isolated mountain peaks – and of course the beaches.
Cyprus’ geographic proximity to Asia and Africa gives it a real feel of the East, making it a jab-free alternative to consider, while still retaining its own beguiling character. Likewise, Malta borrows from its North African and Arabic influences but keep its European charm – with its Sicilian-inspired cuisine and concentrated history, architecture and beaches. Other exotic but health-scare-free European destinations include the South of France, Italy, Monaco, San Marino and the Canary Islands.
If you’d rather go longer haul and more exotic then you can’t beat Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda, with its stunning pink sands and sparkling turquoise waters. Honolulu and Waikiki in Hawaii combine the culture and foodie qualities of Asia, with glorious white sands and nature-friendly rainforests, and no threat of disease.
Just because staying jab-free rules out most hardcore safaris, doesn’t mean you can’t choose a holiday based on animal exploration. In the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia you can track lynx and wolves across snow capped peaks, and see eagles, black storks and brown bear. Two thirds of Europe's bear population actually live in the Romanian mountains so if you’re a fan then Piatra Craiului Mountains inRomania is the best choice – with chamois, wolves and lynx also in the mix. Orca sailing safari inPortugal’s Azores is great for whale watching, with species including fin, blue, pygmy sperm, blue, pilot and orca whales. There are also dolphins and you might glimpse sharks and turtles.
If you have your recommended immunisations for life in Britain (which include tetanus and hepatitis A) and regularly have boosters anyway, then there are many destinations that you don’t need anything additional for, including much of the Caribbean. While they sometimes recommend diphtheria and hepatitis B jabs, there is no current situation that suggests it should be vital this summer. St Lucia has stunning beaches as well as an idyllic rainforest with rolling hills and volcanic mountains. It’s also a great place for scuba diving and sailing. The Dominican Republic offers a great deal of variety – boasting both the highest peak and the lowest point in the Caribbean, and combining the urban street life of Santo Domingo with rural villages only a short drive away.
It’s worth noting that while some countries consider immunisation a necessary condition for entry (sometimes you will be asked to carry a certificate), many recommend the jabs but leave the choice up to you. Always make sure you read advice for your destination before deciding whether to take the risk.

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