Tips for Choosing the Best Backpackers Travel Insurance

Travel insurance with a focus on backpacking is always super important, and this article provides a few handy tips!

I just got back from a backpacking trip around Cambodia and Thailand and it was truly the experience of a lifetime – I got off the beaten track, met some amazing people and saw sights I’d never thought I’d see.

But – it could’ve all gone wrong. Two weeks in, I cut my arm while kayaking. And then it got infected. Luckily, I found a local hospital to treat me. And double luckily, I had backpackers travel insurance to cover my costs.

If you’re going backpacking, getting the right insurance for your trip is vital, especially since you’ll likely be off the beaten track and travelling on a budget. But how do you choose the right cover?

Photo Credit: jeeked | cc

Trip Particulars

First up, look for a travel insurance package that suits all the particulars of your trip – but also give you the opportunity to add useful extras to your policy. I find this works great for me.

How long are you going for? Are you covered for all of your destinations? Lots of backpacking trips aren’t set in stone, so look for one that offers you lengthy cover (e.g. 18 months) or that will let you extend your cover if you decide to travel for longer or go someplace new.

Medical Stuff

Unlimited medical is generally ideal for any type of trip, but especially for backpacking. If you fall sick or become injured and need treatment, it means your medical costs will be covered.

For me, this is critical. As a backpacker, I’m usually travelling cheap and on a tight budget. Dipping into my trip savings to pay for medical costs would pretty much mean the end of my holiday.

Bags & Gear

Choose a package that will give you cover for everything you’re taking with you. Clothes, shoes, camping equipment, phones, electronics … everything. Don’t forget stuff like money and passports, too.

The insurance should include cover in case your things get lost or damaged. Or if they get nicked.

Make sure you read the terms and conditions really carefully (as you should with all travel insurance policies) to understand what types of inclusions and exclusions apply.

For example, I know that if I left my bag on a beach in Thailand, went swimming and then came back to find it’d been stolen, I wouldn’t be covered (because I’d left it unattended). It’s pretty straightforward – but keep your eyes peeled when you read through your T&Cs for things like this.

Photo Credit: Steffen Roller | cc

Fun & Adventure

Yeaaaah! The best thing about backpacking is the adventure activities you often get to do along the way. BUT – you need to ensure that they’re covered.

How? Check your Product Disclosure Statement. Most travel insurances will include a standard list of sports and activities that they cover.

For instance, in Thailand, I went rock climbing, scuba diving and bungee jumping. In Cambodia, I went kayaking and took a quad bike tour. All of these were covered in my policy as ‘standard activities’;

Here’s the cool thing. If you can find a dedicated backpackers travel insurance package, it will often include additional activities. With my policy, I was also covered for additional stuff like mountain biking, cascading and skydiving!

As with everything, read the terms and conditions for each activity too, just to make sure you understand under what circumstances it’s covered (e.g. my scuba dive was only covered up to 30 metres, and only if I dived with someone else, not alone).


Emergencies. Not so fun. But they’re the one thing you absolutely need travel insurance for. Emergencies are often divided into different things for insurance, but in general check that you are getting cover for:

  • Medical emergencies (see above).
  • Emergencies that happen before you leave, and force you to cancel your trip (this will usually be covered under Cancellation) – check with your provider to see exactly what constitutes a ‘cancellation emergency.’
  • Emergencies that happen back home, and that require you to return home (e.g. a death in the family, a cyclone in your city) – the insurance should cover your flights, accommodation etc.

One Response to “Tips for Choosing the Best Backpackers Travel Insurance”

  1. Louise Brown says:

    I think that Medical stuff and some essential survival skills – especially, foraging food and drink are needed to get started.

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