Backpacker travel insurance

Coverage for your big adventure

There’s nothing like the thrill of packing your most important belongings in your backpack, grabbing your passport and taking off to explore the world with a couple of travel companions.

Whether you’re discovering Europe’s fascinating capitals, experiencing the many cultures of Southeast Asia, adventure traveling Down Under, or exploring majestic national parks, the time for adventure has arrived.

With global exploration sometimes comes unexpected surprises, so be sure to always pack a backpacker travel insurance policy before you set off.

Customizable travel insurance for backpackers is perfect for travelers heading out to explore the world. Why? Because if and when the unexpected happens, whether you’re halfway across the country or on the other side of the world, your backpacker insurance policy will help protect the hard-earned money you’ve spent on the trip — and get you the medical care you might need in case of a medical emergency.

Travel insurance that’s got your back(pack): what does backpacker travel insurance cover?

Backpacker travel insurance policies include a few key coverages:

  • Travel medical coverage: in case you fall ill or are injured while traveling you will have coverage for medical expenses and medical emergencies. You can even include coverage for adventure sports like scuba diving and mountain climbing. After all, your everyday private health insurance may not cover you when you’re traveling outside the country
  • Emergency medical evacuation: if you become seriously ill or injured while backpacking, chances are the local medical facilities may not be adequate to treat your condition. That’s when emergency evacuation coverage comes in — it can pay for medical transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility, or even to your home if necessary. An air ambulance can easily cost $100,000, so you can see how important this coverage can be. It’s also primary, which means you don’t have to pay out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed later
  • Trip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay: despite the best-laid travel plans, sometimes things go sideways. Backpacker travel insurance protects you if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip unexpectedly, or if your trip is delayed as a result of a wide range of reasons
  • Lost, stolen or delayed baggage: when traveling in foreign countries via planes, trains, and automobiles, lost, stolen or delayed baggage can be an unfortunate reality. Affordable travel insurance ensures you can replace your most important belongings, without having to go home early. You’ll even be covered if you have to replace a lost or stolen passport

Top backpacking destinations

Australia & New Zealand

From chic Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is a must-see destination for many. Throw in a week or two in gorgeous New Zealand and you’ve got all the makings of an epic trip.


With stunning landscapes, a laid-back and welcoming vibe, incredible culture, and not to be missed nightlife, it’s no wonder shoestring travelers from all over the world flock to Spain.


Long established as a wonderful destination for budget and solo travelers, Thailand tempts with incredible food, vibrant nightlife, amazing outdoor recreation, and a wealth of fascinating history.


Cross bucket-list destinations such as Buenos Aires, Ushuaia (the “end of the world”), and the Iguazu Falls off your list in cosmopolitan and traveler-friendly Argentina.

What is not covered by backpacker travel insurance?

There are a few key things that aren’t covered by your typical travel insurance plan:

    • Wear and tear of your travel gear, including your trusty ‘pack
    • Search and rescue, unless additional coverage is added
    • Certain excluded extreme sports
    • Trips lasting more than 90 days

Good to know

What kind of backpacker insurance cover is best?

Look for a policy from a travel insurance company that covers you when the unexpected happens. For example, your US health insurance policy may not cover you when you’re out of the country, so you should consider travel medical expense coverage. Also be sure your travel insurance policy includes coverage for your baggage and passport in case it gets lost or stolen.

Will my regular health insurance cover me if I'm injured or fall ill during my backpacking trip?

You should check with your health insurer before you depart, as some may cover international travel, but many don’t. Even if you are covered, you should be aware that you generally need to pay out of pocket and then seek reimbursement when you return home. Other considerations include:

  1. An emergency medical evacuation can easily cost $100,000 or more. Travel insurance generally pays this cost up front, and it can protect you against a huge medical expenses bill later.
  2. For those on US Medicare, be aware that Medicare does not cover you outside the United States.
  3. Don’t expect the State Department to come to your rescue. According to their website: “We do not pay medical bills. Payment of hospital and other expenses is the patient’s responsibility.”

Can I get reimbursed if I have to cancel my trip?

Trip cancellation is a pre-departure benefit that can reimburse up to 100% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip cost if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason. The most common covered reason is unforeseen sickness, injury, or death of the traveler, a traveling companion, or a non-traveling family member, but there are many other covered reasons, such as damage to your home, being laid off from your job, strikes, common carrier delays, extension of the school year, being called to active military duty, terrorist incidents, inclement weather, or a natural disaster. In fact, there are more than 20 different covered reasons. Make sure you read your policy carefully for full details.

If you want more flexibility in cancellations, consider buying trip cancellation coverage in the form of Cancel For Any Reason. As the name suggests, you can cancel for any reason without penalty up to a certain number of days before your trip.

Is backpacker travel insurance coverage available in every country?

Certain countries are usually excluded from coverage. For a battleface policy, trips to Afghanistan, Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Mauritania, Niger, North Korea, Republic of South Sudan, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen are not eligible for coverage.

Can I get a backpacker travel insurance policy for domestic travel?

Backpacker travel insurance isn’t just for international trips. You can also buy backpacker travel insurance for domestic trips, as long as you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home. Road trip, anyone?

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