How to Find the Best Backpacker Travel Insurance

Whether you’re traveling through the historic cities of Europe or the scenic countryside of Southeast Asia, backpacking is an adventurous, affordable, and exciting way to see the world. Both young and old travelers alike enjoy backpacking across the globe because it offers incredible experiences at minimum expense.

However, backpacking isn’t without risks. From unexpected medical emergencies to common travel related disruptions, it’s important for backpackers to stay protected while traveling. This page explains what you need to know when it comes time to start looking for backpacker travel insurance.

What Travel Insurance Do I Need For Backpacking?

While backpacking can be a budget-friendly way to explore the world, it's important to account for things that may go wrong along the way.

The costs associated with getting sick and seeking medical attention in a foreign country can add up, especially in remote areas that may require helicopter rescues. Traditional travel disruptions such as flight delays, lost baggage, and trip cancellations can also severely impact a backpacker's travel plans.

Whether backpacking overseas or here in the USA, getting a backpacking travel insurance policy is a great way to protect your travel investment and give you peace of mind along the way.

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Trip Cancellation Coverage For Backpackers

Trouble can begin before you head off on your backpacking adventure. If an emergency occurs before departure, the Trip Cancellation benefit can help you recover your trip costs.

The best backpacker travel insurance plans include Trip Cancellation benefits, which cover pre-departure disruptions that may prevent you leaving for your trip. Most Trip Cancellation plans can reimburse backpackers that need to cancel their trip due to a covered reason, such as an unexpected injury or illness. Other covered reasons include inclement weather, terrorism, and natural disasters. This benefit can reimburse up to 100% of a traveler's prepaid, nonrefundable trip payments, such as flight costs, accommodations, tours, and more.

Although Trip Cancellation is the most common travel insurance claim, some events may not be covered. For example, worries about the weather ruining your plans, a pet falling ill, or fear of getting COVID-19 on your trip aren't covered by Trip Cancellation.

For added protection, travelers who are concerned about canceling should consider adding Cancel For Any Reason to their backpacking travel insurance policy. Cancel For Any Reason offers the most possible flexibility for travelers, and can still help recover between 50% and 75% of your non-refundable trip costs.

Backpacking Trip Interruption Coverage

Once you've started your trip, the Trip Cancellation benefit no longer applies. However, the Trip Interruption benefit on backpacking travel insurance plans offer the same covered reasons, and applies during your trip instead of before.

In most cases, Trip Interruption will cover you if you are forced to return home early from your trip due to a covered reason such as an injury, illness, or a mandatory evacuation. Backpackers with this coverage can be reimbursed any used expenses like accommodation, tours, or flights. Depending on the policy, Trip Interruption benefits can cover anywhere between 100% and 200% of the insured travel costs.

Backpacker Emergency Medical Coverage

Backpacking can take travelers to remote areas of the world. While this can lead to some incredible experiences, it can also lead you far away from medical facilities. Given your personal health insurance may not be able to cover medical care overseas, you may be forced to pay for unexpected medical expenses out-of-pocket. One way to limit this financial risk is through travel medical insurance.

Emergency Medical coverage is included within most backpacking travel insurance plans. This benefit can help travelers get reimbursed for costs associated with treating an illness or injury during a trip. Commonly covered medical costs include ambulance rides, hospital bills, and x-rays. We recommend travelers purchase at least $100,000 in emergency travel medical insurance when planning for a backpacking trip.

Medical Evacuation is another key component of medical coverage that can help travelers pay for the cost of an air ambulance to the nearest adequate medical facility or even back home if it is deemed medically necessary by the treating doctor. This benefit may also cover repatriation of remains. Due to the potentially high-costs of emergency evacuations while backpacking, we recommend travelers get at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage.

If you are backpacking with pre-existing medical conditions, coverage may be limited as many travel insurance companies have exclusions for known illnesses and injuries. However, purchasing a policy that includes the Pre-Existing Condition benefit will waive these exclusions and extend medical benefits for the duration of your trip.

Travel Delay and Missed Connection Coverage For Backpackers

For many international backpacking trips, it can take multiple flights to reach the final destination. Trip delays can happen at any time, and can cause backpackers to miss important connecting flights and important parts of their trip.

Because of these elaborate travel plans, Travel Delay and Missed Connection are key benefits of an adequate backpacker travel insurance policy. If a common carrier (like an airline or train line) forces a portion of your trip to get pushed back, your trip insurance may reimburse costs incurred during the delay, such as a meal, replacement toiletries, or a hotel room for the night.

If that delay forces you to fall behind on your backpacking trip, Missed Connection benefits could help cover your costs to get caught up. Maximum benefits paying for missed connections range from $250 to $2,000, depending on the policy.

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Baggage Coverage for Backpacker

Given the limited space, many backpackers spend weeks leading up to their trip carefully packing their bag with essential travel items. So when baggage is delayed or outright lost by an airline, it can really put a hindrance on their trip.

Fortunately, travel insurance plans for backpackers often include Baggage Delay benefits, and coverage for Baggage & Personal Items Loss. Baggage Delay benefits may reimburse travelers for essentials they may have to replace while their luggage is in transit, such as clothes and toiletries.

If your bags are permanently lost, Baggage & Personal Item Loss benefits could help you recover the cost of replacing those belongings. However, most plans have limits on single items and total loss, meaning expensive items may not be fully insurable under this benefit.

Backpacker Insurance For Adventure Sports

Backpackers are often adventurers that enjoy thrills and excitement. Unfortunately, most standard travel insurance policies exclude dangerous itinerary items from coverage. However, some travel insurance providers offer policies that include the Sports & Activities benefit, which extends coverage to backpackers partaking in commonly excluded adventure activities.

Common activities that may be covered by the Sports & Activities benefit include:

  • Scuba Diving
  • Rock Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Mountaineering and Trekking
  • Bungee Jumping
  • White Water Rafting

Most Sports & Activities plans also provide protection for those traveling with sports equipment in the event any gear is delayed or lost in transit.

Annual Backpacker Insurance Policies

For many backpackers, getting out and seeing the world with just the bare essentials in their bag is less a hobby and more of a passion. This can often lead to backpackers taking multiple trips in a year, visiting different destinations each time.

Backpackers with multiple trips planned over the course of a year should seek out an annual travel insurance policy. Annual travel insurance policies, also known as multi-trip plans, are primarily designed to provide medical benefits while traveling, and are ideal for backpackers planning to take multiple trips throughout a 12-month period. These long-term travel insurance policies often save money, as they can be less expensive than purchasing several single trip policies.

Popular Coverages for Backpackers

The best travel insurance policies for backpackers include:

If you already have a policy and have any questions for your travel insurance provider or would like to file a claim, please contact your provider directly. Click here to find your provider's contact information.

Where Should I Get a Backpacker Travel Insurance Plan?

Easily find affordable backpacking coverage for medical emergencies, flight cancellations, and more.

Just like any purchase decision, the more information you have, the better. Comparison sites like Squaremouth help backpackers and other travelers compare hundreds of travel plans to help them find the best policy at the best price.

Getting the right backpacker travel insurance doesn't have to be complicated. To begin your search, simply input your upcoming trip's details into the Squaremouth comparison tool. Even if your departure date is around the corner, it's still possible to buy a plan at the last minute.

If you're unsure which plan is right for your adventure, Squaremouth's experts are available to help you make the right decision for your trip.

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