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.
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 baggage delays and flight cancellations can also severely impact a backpacker's travel plans.
Whether backpacking overseas or here in the United States, getting a backpacking travel insurance policy is a great way to protect your travel investment and give you peace of mind along the way.
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, most commonly an injury or illness. Other covered reasons include inclement weather, terrorism, and death of a loved one. 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.
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.
Backpacking can take travelers to remote areas of the world. While this can lead to some incredible experiences, it can also lead to expensive hospital and transportation costs if you were to get sick or injured. Plus, your personal health insurance may not be able to cover your treatment overseas. This is where backpacking medical coverage can help.
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. Common costs covered include ambulance treatment to a hospital, hospital charges, 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. Due to the potential for a high-cost evacuation while backpacking, we recommend travelers get at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage.
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.
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.
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 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 policies often save money, as they can be less expensive than purchasing several single trip policies.
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.
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.
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.