Choosing the best backpackers travel insurance for taking a trip around the world, can be the last thing we think about when planning our trip, right? But you know it’s SO important and you’ve got to have it.
Then you never find the time to compare the best travel insurance policies or understand the technical jargon, so you just pick any one and hope for the best? I hear you.
Sometimes I’ve been so busy planning in the lead-up to the trip, I’ve actually booked my travel insurance last minute, in the car on the way to the airport (ok I’ve done that a few times). Once I was so slack I even did it waiting at the gate at the airport. Talk about living on the edge!
Do you really need Travel Insurance?
Travel Insurance protects your belongings, your trip specifics and your health whilst you’re travelling. It also gives you piece of mind to travel confidently and adventurously.
After 7 years of travelling, in my opinion, YES – everyone should have travel insurance when travelling. Your amazing trip isn’t worth compromising.
Because as we all know – shit happens. We hope it won’t and tell ourselves we won’t take risks, but even the most experienced travellers run into problems sometimes.
Why do you need Travel Insurance?
Mostly to cover you for medical bills and loss of belongings. For me, the most important factor is to be insured for Emergency Medical Repatriation.
This is the cost of evacuation to a medical facility or medical transportation to return you home, in a medical emergency. Without travel insurance, the cost of this can be thousands – give it a Google if you’re not convinced.
Think this won’t happen to you?
- Falling down a ravine whilst skiing on a mountain
- Falling off a camel during a desert trek
- Getting ill with dengue fever on an island that doesn’t have a hospital to treat you
- Twisting your ankle whilst hiking a rural track
All of these are examples of situations in which you would need some kind of Medical Evacuation.
And even if you’re travelling in cheap countries, general medical costs can cost a lot more than your average backpacker budget would allow.
Here are some of the real costs of medical treatment around the world:
$2,000, Indonesia, Bali: Rabies vaccination and treatment for monkey bite
$5,500, Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh: Hospital treatment for injuries resulting from motorbike accident
$8,000, Africa, Ghana: Eight- day hospital treatment for malaria
$11,200, Vanuatu, Port Vila: Three treatments for decompression sickness
$25,000, Japan, Niseko: Hospital admission and surgery for broken arm
$50,000 Thailand, Bangkok: 14-day hospital treatment for seizures
$120,000, Germany, Bavarian Alps: Cost of helicopter air ambulance
$800,000 (!) USA, Houston: 18-day hospital treatment for pneumonia
Ouch to that last one.
And we’ve all heard a first hand story from some unfortunate traveller and their travel mishaps. I met a woman in Cairns, Australia who had broken her leg, from falling off a wall. She had to cancel all her trips – including missing out on diving the Great Barrier Reef.
A traveller I met in Thailand who had a minor scrape on her leg that got infected (happens easily in the humid climate of Asia), had to visit the medical clinic multiple times – for weeks. Subsequently she had to cancel the rest of her flights she’d booked in Asia, as she couldn’t be cleared by her doctor to fly.
My boyfriend got ill on Koh Lanta in Thailand, with severe E-Coli poisoning. He had a fever of 102 and he needed immediate attention. We got him to the medical clinic on Koh Lanta straight away, knowing we’d be covered. But if we didn’t have travel insurance, we might’ve put it off for a day thinking it was just ‘travellers stomach flu’.
The peace of mind we had having travel insurance, meant we could go to the medical clinic straightaway and not worry about the cost.
And yes we got reimbursed for the cost.
These reasons along with my many years of travel experience are why now, I won’t travel without travel insurance – you never know what will happen.
Why World Nomads is the best backpackers travel insurance
Most travel insurance companies as standard, will sell you a policy that covers you, as long as your trip starts and ends in the same country – usually the country you’re buying it in.
But what if your trip doesn’t start and end in the same country?
What if you’re not going back home anytime soon? What if you’re leaving from the UK or Europe but going to live in Australia or NZ for a year? Or what if you go to Southeast Asia for 3 months but then decide you want to stay longer?
And then you can’t renew with your insurance provider because you’re in the middle of Thailand or Bali.
That’s exactly why I use World Nomads and why they are the best backpackers travel insurance, you can buy or renew your policy whilst you’re still travelling – it doesn’t matter where you are.
And you can do it all online. Winning!
World Nomads are a bunch of innovative travel insurance guys who are geared towards helping travellers, backpackers and adventure travellers. And I only recommend or endorse something I use and believe in.
What does World Nomads Travel Insurance cover?
World Nomads cover every adventure or crazy activity you can think of. This is what sets them apart from other providers who don’t cover adventure activities.
Want to do bungee jumping, glacier walking, jet-boating, sand-boarding, camel trekking, shark cage diving and zip-lining? No worries – you’ll be covered.
They also cover theft, replacement of personal belongings, lost luggage, emergency medical transportation and other medical costs. (Coverage varies based on age and destination, to find your exact coverage with World Nomads, click here).
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Enter your details in this quick quote box and see why they are recommended so highly by travellers.
5 Reasons to book World Nomads Travel Insurance
1. Value for money with the cover you need
WorldNomads.com provides cover for what’s important for travellers from 140 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
2. Flexibility when you need it most
3. Cover for a range of adventure activities
From bungee jumping & snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, WorldNomads.com covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
4. World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
All WorldNomads.com members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
5. More than just great value travel insurance
Best Backpackers Travel Insurance Tips
Always read your policy! I cannot stress this enough. So many people don’t read the policy before they buy – this is so important, because you need to know it covers your needs. Once bought, you also need to know what to do if you need to claim.
Make a note of your policy number and the emergency contact number in your phone. Once you’ve bought your policy, you’ll get emailed or mailed the policy documents. Make a hard copy, take it with you and leave the original behind with someone – if you can. Also I keep the policy number & emergency contact number in my mobile phone – and a notepad backup if I have a smartphone fail.
Research your destination before you go, check latest advice on the FCO, or your country’s official foreign office’s website. I also like to note down my country’s Embassy or Consulate emergency phone number and location, in the country I’m visiting.
If you’re from the UK, get an EHIC card as well as travel insurance. Don’t solely depend in the EHIC though – it doesn’t cover everything. Apply for an EHIC here.
Document your belongings and keep medical documents. If you want to make a claim you’ll need proof of purchase or proof you had it with you. I recommend keeping all purchase receipts and it’s also useful to have a dated picture of your backpack/luggage and belongings – it might help if all your stuff gets stolen.
If you get ill, always keep all of your medical documentation or receipts and always ask the hospital for a medical certificate – this is vital for claiming.
Be travel smart. Aside from researching your destination for fun & interesting things to do, also make sure you’re aware of the following: any vaccinations you’ll need, any epidemics or outbreaks to be aware of – check the WHO website for updates, the country’s local laws and customs, any cultural dress codes, the emergency services number, where your local hospital is and how to get there, allowing for any language barriers.