Photo of students with their backpacks

Things to keep in mind when buying backpacker insurance

Backpacking remains one of the most popular kinds of travelling for those who want to see it all. This is because it’s still one of the most liberating forms of travel; one that doesn’t seriously impede on your ability to try out new things, or tie you down to any particular locale.

Considering how dependent backpackers are though on what they’re carrying, it’s easy to make mistakes before you set off. These mistakes range from not carrying the right kinds of medication to not packing the right clothing for the environment.

Even not investing in a top quality backpack could land you in all kinds of trouble; it’s vital to have a pack that can go the distance and not fall to pieces, no matter what the environment it’s in.

Perhaps one of the safest things to do then, prior to travelling, is to seek out a specialist backpackers’ insurance deal so you’re not caught short, should anything happen.

How do you go about this though? What should your checklist be when buying backpacker travel insurance?

What kinds of things you a carrying?

Take stock of what you’re carrying. As mentioned, you’ll likely be living out of your bag for weeks, or perhaps even months, on end.

You’ll no doubt then be relying on your bag as a place to store your important travel documents, clothes, technology and communication devices – as well as medications and/or food.

Ensure you’ve taken adequate steps to protect these wares whilst in your bag – especially your electronic devices, as these are most vulnerable to the cold and wet.

While these devices are undoubtedly important and will enhance the quality of your trip, it’s still vital to check that they are covered under your insurance policy. It’s possible that particular devices have to be insured separately, like your smartphone for example.

Do you have enough/the right cover?

There are dozens of variations in insurance policies for backpacking. Some will cover you to also carry out specific activities while abroad, for example, like water sports, climbing, or other adventurous pursuits.

If it’s too hard for you to pre-think these activities, then you should probably try to get at least some of the basics covered in your policy.

Even without committing to a bungee jump or a fire walk(!) it’s sensible to read through the medical terms and conditions of your policy, should you be taken ill – or worse, need help getting back home in a hurry. Keep a copy of your policy on you when travelling so you can refer to it and also have emergency contact details to hand, if needed.

Where are you going? 

This is another instance where you’ll need to do some homework. We’re all aware that there are some dangerous places out there in the world, so just make sure that your policy cover applies when travelling within certain countries.

If in any doubt, it’s always advisable to call and confirm with your backpacking travel insurer. Again, while you might not be able to concretely plan for, say, an 18-month trip, it does pay to prepare.

About the Author: Brand journalist Chris Taylor wrote this article for UK insurer, 24/7 travel insurance. Take a look at the company’s traveller’s checklist page for further advice before you travel.