Backpacker and Longstay
Backpacking is one of the most liberating types of trips you can have and an extremely rewarding experience when everything goes right. You may have the next year planned out and a job secured at an animal sanctuary or you may have just booked your flight and see where you end up.
Backpacking gives you the freedom to explore everything the world has to offer, and gives you the opportunity to experience countries and cultures in a way conventional holidays wouldn’t. But venturing off the beaten track can hold its fair share of risks; this is why the correct travel insurance is a must when planning a trip of this nature.
Backpacking insurance can cover trips such as:
Exploring the world
You don’t need any excuses to go out and see the world. Just pack a bag, book your return flights, travel insurance and first night’s accommodation and start exploring new cultures, cuisines and countries.
You may be travelling for the purpose of working abroad, to gain new skills and to do something different. Or you may be travelling and want to earn some money to help fund the rest of your trip.
Volunteer work is very rewarding, imagine if you are volunteering abroad, learning a new culture, helping communities or wildlife and gaining life experience amongst making new friends and sometimes taking home well deserved qualifications.
Although called ‘gap years’ there are many students now taking ‘gap breaks’, not necessarily travelling for 12 months but taking shorter adventures. This can be down to lack of funds (12 months funding can be thousands of pounds), wanting to start the next stage in either a career or at university without too much of a gap in between or simply not wanting to spend so much time away from home.
Making sure you have the right gap year insurance is so important and should be one of the top items on your travelling checklist. At the very least you should have adequate emergency medical expenses and repatriation cover included.
Extended/long term trips
There are many travellers these days that want to get out and see the world, you don’t have to be a student to experience new adventures and enjoy long holidays away from the every day chores.
Whatever your plans are for your trip of a lifetime you must make sure you have adequate backpacker travel insurance. Unfortunately accidents and illnesses can (and do) happen for a variety of reasons. Some countries have a higher risk of diseases, or have a poorer quality of hygiene, for example.
If you would like to speak to someone to discuss your insurance needs or you need confirmation that your planned activity will be covered, then please call us on 02392 419 044.
We are open Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm, closed Bank Holidays.
Handy tips when shopping for backpacker travel insurance
- Make sure you cover every destination you are visiting
- You need your departure and return dates, you must return home on or before your return date to be fully protected.
- Check the activities list to ensure you are covered for any activities or work you will get involved in – call your provider if you need clarification
- If you are taking valuable items with you such as cameras, laptops, jewellery etc check policy limits. You may need to insure these items under your home insurance policy.
- Read the policy wording – the cooling off period gives you 14 days to return your policy for a full refund if it doesn’t suit your needs (if you haven’t already travelled or have made or intend to make a claim).
- If you have medical conditions, you will need to declare these.
Backpacker Insurance FAQs:
I’ve already left the UK, can I still get cover?
We cannot provide cover under our 24/7 travel insurance policies. However, we have teamed up with Voyager Insurance Services Ltd to offer an extensive range of International and expatriate travel insurance policies.
Please visit our Already travelled? page.
How can I keep backpacking gear dry?
Bin bags are one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep your backpacking gear dry. While many backpacks are made of waterproof fabric, the stitching creates little holes that will let water leak through. Having the waterproof bin bag to line your backpack will give you an extra layer for your gear to stay protected.
You can also buy rain covers for your backpack. These are designed to keep the water off of your bag but many travellers don’t bother with them because they don’t often fit very well and they also can’t stop internal condensation. A trusty bin bag is your best bet.
What should I pack on a short backpacking trip?
Shorter trips involve only packing the essentials to get you through the trip. Don’t forget navigation equipment including a map, compass and a watch. Your clothes should include two pairs of socks, underwear, a raincoat, waterproof clothing, night clothes and extra layers for insulation. A sleeping bag, ground sheet and a head lamp should also be included.
Other obvious items to pack include food and drink, a camping stove and utensils, a repair kit and somewhere to shelter, namely a tent. The aim of the game is to pack light and only take what you need. If you’re only travelling for three days, don’t pack for a fortnight.
What tasks will I need to complete to set up camp?
Being organised is the key to setting up camp. Have a list in your head of things that you need to do to ensure you don’t miss anything. Start off by setting up your shelters and filling up your water bottles, purifying them if needed. Get your sleeping bag and night gear all ready, then cook your dinner.
After you’ve eaten, wash up any utensils and yourself, packing everything away afterwards and before nightfall.
Before you even leave for your trip, you should decide whether you want to sleep in a hammock, a tent or under a tarpaulin. This will change how you set up camp as you may need to allocate more time if you are going to build a shelter.
What equipment should I take when backpacking in wet destinations?
Obviously, waterproof gear is going to be top of your list. A fleece with good wicking properties should be a staple piece of clothing. Thin layers that you build up are going to be more effective than one thick, clumpy waterproof coat so don’t forget about a hat, a hood and some gloves. The key is packing items that prevent you from sweating; this will help you maintain a consistent body temperature.
A waterproof groundsheet and sleeping bag, as well as a backpack liner will make a huge difference. Skip the backpack cover and line your bag with a waterproof plastic bag instead. This will keep everything dry, even when you’re on the move and have no shelter.
How to pack a backpack?
Be brutal with what you need to take. If you don’t really need it, then don’t pack it. Remember to attach things like a sleeping bag to the outside of your pack and put things into your cooking pot to save space. Try rolling your clothes up as well because they are less likely to crease and can also then be squished into little corners, using all the available space.
Repackage any food you are taking; you’ll be amazed at the amount of space it saves you. Boxes and bags often have a lot of wasted space so unwrap what you can and you can often find it fits into little spaces in your bag, freeing up a larger area for bigger things.
Read more from our blog post Top tips for packing your backpack
How can I keep insects away without using chemicals?
The clothing choices you make can have a huge impact on how well you keep insects away from you. The more of your skin that you cover up, the less chance the bugs have of latching onto you. If you have long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, the bugs can only have access to your hands and face – removing the need for chemical insect repellents.
Look for fabrics that won’t chafe but also have good wicking qualities. You don’t want to be wearing thick trousers when it’s hot and you’re hiking up a mountain so find some that will give you good ventilation but also keep you protected from the flying nasty’s.
Backpacking insurance including activities and maximum cover limits
When planning to go on a backpacking trip, whether you are going for; exploring the globe, working abroad, volunteering as a student or mature student or as a gap year or extended break, you will most likely have planned a number of activities that will require specific holiday insurance.
Depending on the countries you are visiting and your enthusiasm to take in new experiences, you might surprise yourself with the types of activities you need to get insurance for (ideally, before you leave).
In addition to this, longer stay travelling is also likely to mean that you require a higher level of cover. Think about the increased needs for personal money cover, personal possessions you will take and acquire during your entire stay, plus increased risks of needing emergency expenses. Make sure you consider which level of cover you need for your longer stay before buying the cheapest available.