Travel insurance for round-the-world backpackers

Travel insurance for round-the-world backpackers

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 18, 2014 12:29 hrs
People travel on a boat in an artificial lake at Dubai Mall area in Dubai

Setting out on a round-the-world adventure during a gap year is exciting. But travelling abroad for months at a time also presents considerable opportunity for things to go wrong. You cannot predict what the future will hold, but you can at least ensure that your travel insurance is wide-ranging enough to cover multiple scenarios in case your travels do not go according to plan.

Regular travel insurance will not cut it

A good backpacker's travel insurance is essential regardless of your travel destination/s. For shorter trips, you could get regular travel insurance but this would cover you only for shorter jaunts; even multi-trip insurance that provides coverage for a year would not provide coverage beyond a period of 30 to 60 days per trip. Hence, it is important to get backpacker's insurance instead as it provides longer-duration coverage over multiple destinations.

myinsuranceclub.comCoverage that your backpacker's insurance must offer

  • Considerable medical cover as healthcare costs abroad could be prohibitive

  • Repatriation in case of a medical emergency, including an air ambulance option

  • Sufficient cancellation or trip interruption cover - e.g. in case you need to head back to your home country

  • Adequate personal liability insurance

  • Cover for your baggage and personal belongings

Additional covers and details:

  • If you are planning to work abroad during your travels (it could even be volunteer work), make sure that the insurer is aware of your intentions and look for an insurance plan that covers the kind of work that you are planning to do.

  • If you plan to enjoy some adventure sports during your vacation (e.g. jet skiing), look for a policy that provides coverage for the same.

  • If you have some kind of pre-existing medical conditions, make sure to inform the insurer of the same. Otherwise, your insurance could be deemed invalid.

Do the research to find the best option

It would certainly be helpful if your insurer offers a 24-hour helpline service or an online option. It is important to do your research ahead of time in order to ascertain which insurers provide the best service to their backpacking customers. Remember, you will be out of your home country and it may not always be possible or convenient to follow up with the insurance company. Moreover, insurance hassles can take the wind out of your carefree vacation plans. Among other things, acquaint yourself with the claims process. If necessary, leave your policy details with a friend or family member and ask them to approach the insurer if the need for making a claim urgently arises.

Read the fine print on your backpacker's insurance

One can never under-emphasize the value of knowing all that your policy offers or does not offer. A simple example involves adventure sports. Your travel insurance plan may provide coverage for basic adventure sports, but would it cover you in specific cases like, say, if you were to go scuba diving? Similarly, does the medical coverage on your policy extend to all possible medical conditions, or are there some restrictions? Knowing the exclusions in your insurance will enable you to prepare for future contingencies in a better way; you might even be able to seek extended coverage following payment of additional premium.

Written By:  Deepak Yohannan
The author is the CEO of, an online insurance price & features comparison portal

Deepak Yohannan


The author is the CEO of, an online insurance price & features comparison portal

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