My Week - Victoria Hawkins

TO jab or not to jab? Now that the Dreaded Daughter (AKA The Travelling Pin Cushion since yesterday) is heading off to the Far East next month, we've not only become conversant with the basic needs of backpackers but she and I have just taken a crash course in the entire business of tropical diseases and medicines.

Victoria Hawkins

TO jab or not to jab? Now that the Dreaded Daughter (AKA The Travelling Pin Cushion since yesterday) is heading off to the Far East next month, we've not only become conversant with the basic needs of backpackers but she and I have just taken a crash course in the entire business of tropical diseases and medicines.

Thankfully, some of the jabs you need before you go up these foreign parts are free and she's just had her first three (free) - typhoid and hep A and B - darted into her arms. The one that's giving her gyp having gone into her right, writing, side so she's whimpering quietly as day two progresses and there are two more shots each of those to go.

However the others, which she's been told she might want to consider - viz. rabies and Japanese encephalitis - would run up a tidy bill getting on for £300 and, for her, every single decimal smidge of a penny counts. For though she is doing a day job 9-5, as well as several shifts waiting tables at night, her travelling fund isn't going to be exactly huge.

The Pin Cushion is definitely going budget no frills and travelling light. Well okay, make that light-ish. There's been the big hair debate, naturally, to go with her, um, big hair - as in is her man-size hairdryer travelling, or not? There's not much room in the rucksack so Barnet-wise it's a bit of a women and children first affair and it's a no-brainer on the GHDs (hair straighteners), obviously they are definitely in. Healthwise though, I've just realised that we haven't even started talking malaria pills yet, which cost a small fortune again if you take Malarone (like £30-40 a week and she's there for seven) but I wouldn't want her taking the other sort because they once made me go itchy all over to almost the point of dementia. Oh, crikey, and I now see that there's been a bit of an outbreak of Dengue Fever in Thailand as well. Help! Should she have the rabies jab? What about the encephalitis one and even though the area she is going to is only moderately malarial, should she take precautions against that? Perhaps I better just send her off wrapped up from head to foot like a mummy in a couple of mosquito nets.