We are preparing for our year-long backpacking trip.
Today, I arranged my international driving licence and we also stopped at the pharmacy to organise our malaria prophylaxis and other medicines.
Do we need an international driving licence?
When driving abroad, you may be asked to show an international driving licence.
This does vary from country to country and we may want to rent a car in some countries during our year-long trip.
Therefore, we decided that it would be a good idea to get an international driver’s licence, just in case.
Getting an international driver’s licence in Canada
We live in the countryside in Quebec, Canada. So, we had to drive an hour to the nearest the office where we could apply for an international driver’s licence.
Coincidentally, we were invited to lunch by a friend who lives in the area, so we decided to stop to get it on the way to her house.
The office was located in a shopping mall, right next to a liquor store, and it was easy to find.
I said to the lady behind the counter that I wanted to get an international driving licence, and she then took my photo and we waited for about 15 minutes, most of it in the liquor store.
My name was called and I was able to collect my international driving licence. It was very easy and quick to get it.
The fee was about $40 Canadian dollars, including the cost of having the photograph taken.
Prepare medication: malaria pills
After getting my international driving licence, we went to a friend’s house for lunch. It was great to see her and the food was delicious.
On the way home, we went to our local pharmacy and asked for medicines and other items we wanted to take with us during our trip.
We wanted to get some malaria prophylaxis, as we are likely to be in malaria risk areas during our trip, and also some antigen tests for Covid-19.
The antigen tests for Covid-19 are provided free of charge to holders of a Quebec health insurance card – up to one box per month. Each box contains five tests.
In fact, the last time we travelled to Mexico, we both got Covid and the antigen test set that we had brought with us was useful. We want to bring the tests with us again, just in case.
We went to our normal pharmacy which is the nearest one and around a ten minute drive from our house. I ordered malaria prophylaxis and some antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin).
The pharmacy said it would take some time to arrange that and they would call us when it was ready.
We were able to get the antigen test kits immediately. One box each for both of us means we got 10 tests and additionally, we still have five tests in stock at home. So we will take 15 tests for the two of us.
The fourth dose of Corona vaccine
Now we just have to wait for the pharmacy to contact us to pick them up.
In addition to the malaria prophylaxis, we also ordered the minimum required amount of anti-diarrhoea which we would only take if we had to travel with a bad stomach. We don’t normally take them, but a useful back up to have in case of real emergency.
We have been vaccinated against Covid-19 three times so far, although after the third vaccination we caught Covid in Mexico.
We decided that it would be better to have another dose of the vaccine before we leave, so we are going to get it this week.