Backpackers insurance

Compare backpacker travel insurance

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Compare backpackers travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket to find a great deal and save your hard earned cash for your next backpacking adventure.

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What is backpacker insurance?

Backpacker insurance is designed to safeguard you when you’re on a multi-country trip over a lengthy period of time.

People who go backpacking often talk about ‘travelling’ rather than simply taking a holiday, so backpacker insurance is designed to allow you to enjoy a wide range of activities safe in the knowledge you are insured if anything goes wrong.

When to book your travel insurance

Lots of people organise their travel insurance relatively late — 11% book on the same day that they leave. But it’s important to take out insurance as soon as you book your trip. Then, if you have to cancel your journey because of illness or injury or the death of a relative, for example, you’ll be able to claim back the cost. 

How late do travellers book insurance infographic

MoneySuperMarket data. Collected between January 2015 and June 2017

Common exclusions with insurance for backpackers

While backpacker insurance may be the most suitable type of policy for your trip, it can still come with a number of exclusions — things the policy won’t pay out for. That makes it crucial to check the key facts and policy documents before selecting a policy.

When you obtain a quote at MoneySuperMarket, you can click through and read these documents to help you make your choice.

Here are some examples of exclusions to look out for:

Cover in areas of political unrest: Most policies will not provide cover where there is civil unrest or the country is at war and the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) has advised against travel.

Adventure sports: While some basic adventure sports may be covered, activities such as scuba diving or potholing may need separate cover, or to be added as a bolt-on to your policy.  

Pre-existing medical conditions: It’s crucial you inform your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions or you risk invalidating your cover should you need to make a claim.  

Length of trip

Backpacking used to be seen primarily as an extended trip option, usually for 12 months. However, more people are choosing to go backpacking for shorter periods, with the number of trips lasting 90 days or more having fallen by almost 10% since 2015. 

Since 2015, the number of extended trips has dropped by 10%

MoneySuperMarket data. Collected between January 2015 and June 2017

Age of backpackers

The average backpacking trip may be changing, but the average backpacker still tends to be relatively young:

  • Since 2015, there’s been a 16% rise in the number of backpackers between the ages of 18 and 25. This age group now accounts for 66% of all backpackers.
  • The next highest age group is 26 to 30-year-olds, making up 20% of the total number of backpack-laden travellers.
  • Older adventurers are still out there, though. 7% of the backpacking community is made up of 31 to 35-year-olds. While young people remain the most common type of backpacker, the onset of age doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the adventure.

The average age of a backpacker infographic

MoneySuperMarket data. Collected between January 2015 and June 2017

Backpacker travel tips

As well as getting the right backpacker travel insurance, there are other preparations you’ll need to make well in advance of the date you set off.

Get your vaccinations. Not only do some jabs need to be administered over a course of several weeks, but the effects can knock you for six. Give yourself time to feel well again before you leave. It's also a good idea to check if you will be travelling to any malaria hotspots and seek antimalarial tablets from your GP where necessary.

Apply for your tourist visas. A visa for Vietnam, for example, which you will need in advance, will take at least seven days to process and could delay your trip if you don't sort your paperwork out before travelling.

Be savvy with your spending money. When it comes to your spending money, make sure you shop around for the best currency conversion rates and consider getting a pre-paid card which is a safer way to carry holiday spending money.

To make sure you don't have to call your trip short in the event of your wallet or backpack being stolen, split your spending money over 2 or 3 cards and keep these in a hidden money belt on your person at all times.

Finally, it's always a good idea to have some currency on you when you first arrive at your destination in case of unexpected expenses.

Take copies of your paperwork. Make sure your travel insurance policy — as well as all other travel documents, including a photocopy of your passport — are printed out and kept on your person.

Make a note of emergency numbers. Highlight relevant phone numbers to save having to look for them in an emergency — such as the British Embassy at your destination, local emergency service numbers and 24-hour help lines provided by some travel insurers — and always remember to keep your mobile phone charged at all times.

Register with the FCO Locate System. Registering for the free FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) Locate System can help the embassy get in touch with you easily in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. This is a brilliant idea if you have friends and family back home who might be worried about you.

Find out about the 'Know Before You Go’ campaign. The FCO launched this campaign in 2011 with the purpose of educating would be backpackers on travel tips and country specific advice.

You can find more info here.

Weighing up price and cover

While it's always a good idea to shop around and compare deals on backpacker insurance, you should ensure you opt for the most suitable policy with the cover levels you need in the relevant areas, rather than simply choosing the cheapest policy.

It's quite common for cheaper policies to have higher excesses (the amount you would have to contribute to any claim you made) and you could be getting inadequate cover in key areas such as medical, baggage and personal item cover.

To begin comparing travel insurance for backpackers, why not click on the link below or hit the 'get a quote now' button at the top of the page.


*Based on MoneySuperMarket travel insurance data, 2015 - 2017

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