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Travel insurance for backpacking

If something unexpected happens, we’ve got your back – pack or no pack.

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Just you and the open road, the basics on your back, the world at your feet. Backpacking is a rite of passage for many nomads seeking maximum experience for minimum expense.

You might be setting out to find your crew or yourself, to connect with a destination or frolic at every festival.

But even if you can do without your creature comforts, travel insurance may be a good idea.

World Nomads covers backpackers as they travel all over the world with travel insurance designed for backpacking in ThailandAustraliaSouth Americathe UK and more.

Why should I consider travel insurance when backpacking?

If your travels take you on the wrong kind of adventure – like a sudden illness or injury, a freak natural disaster, stolen or misdirected belongings, or an emergency that means you have to head home pronto – travel insurance may be able to help you with expenses. Plus, the 24/7 Emergency Assistance team is here for you in a crisis, such as providing guidance and pre-approving costs.

What’s covered when backpacking?

World Nomads supports backpacking adventures of all types, with protection for:

What doesn't World Nomads insurance cover for backpackers? 

Travel insurance isn’t designed to cover everything. Here are a few things we don’t cover:

Travel insurance tips for backpackers

Here are some pointers to help keep you covered while backpacking.

  • For you, does backpacking = hiking or mountain climbing? Make sure you list all the activities you plan to participate in when you buy your policy. Level 1 activities are automatically covered when you buy your policy. You’ll need to pay an additional premium to be covered for Level 2 and Level 3 activities like skiing and hiking between 3000 and 6000 metres. You cannot add activities after you’ve purchased your policy, so it's important to get this right on the first go.
  • While having fun is a must-do, risky behavior isn’t covered. Yes, you can take the road less travelled but incidents that occur if you are not acting in a prudent manner or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be covered under your plan.
  • If you want to work or volunteer while you’re away, coverage for work such as teaching, nannying, office and bar work may be covered but higher risk activities like mountaineering, working on offshore oil rigs or with dangerous animals are not covered.  Remember, you need to list all activities, including volunteering, when you purchase your policy in order to be eligible for coverage.
  • Going wherever the breeze blows? If you want to cross borders and explore a new country or region, check with our customer service team first as your policy may not apply in all countries.

Are you traveling long-term, you lucky thing? You can buy more travel insurance while abroad (waiting periods may apply) even if you don’t have a return ticket. World Nomads policies for Canadian residents can cover you for up to 365 days. Remember, transportation expenses to return you to your home province are not covered under any section of the policy if prior to your policy effective date, you did not purchase a return air ticket to return to your home province as part of Your Trip. 

Get a quote 24/7

With World Nomads you can buy travel insurance before you go or when you're already travelling, any time anywhere, 24-hours a day. Fill out the quick quote form below to get an instant quote.

When you buy a World Nomads travel insurance policy, rest assured your coverage has been crafted by passionate travellers who have lugged backpacks, battled bedbugs and waited in line for the restroom too. For trip ideas and tips, check out our article on backpacking dos and don’ts and much more.

This is only a summary of coverage and does not include the full terms and conditions of the policy.  It is important you read and understand your policy as it contains benefits, conditions, exclusions and pre-existing condition exclusions.  If you do not understand your coverage, of if you have questions about your coverage, just ask us.

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you

Trip Cancellation

Protect your hard earned vacation from unexpected cancellation.

  • Explorer Plan: $5,000
  • Standard Plan: $2,500
Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalized?
  • Travel buddy unfit to travel?
  • Close relative suddenly dies?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Insurance

Take the pain out of medical or dental costs.

  • Explorer Plan: $10 million
  • Standard Plan: $5 million
Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation

We’ll get you to hospital or home quickly.

  • Explorer Plan: $500,000
  • Standard Plan: $500,000
Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medevac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Covers the theft, damage or delay of your bags, tech and sports gear.

  • Explorer Plan: $3,000
  • Standard Plan: $1,000
Protect your gear
  • Passport or tech stolen?
  • Airline lost your gear?
  • Bags delayed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Emergency Dental for Injury or Sickness
  • Bedside Companion Travel and Subsistence
  • Emergency Professional Services
  • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Return of Travel Companion/Dependent Children
  • Return to Your Trip Destination
  • Return of Remains
  • Travel Accident
  • Flight Accident
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Trip Delay
  • Baggage and Personal Effects Theft or Damage
  • Baggage and Sporting Equipment Delay
  • Travel Documents Theft or Damage
  • Sporting Equipment Theft or Loss by a Common Carrier
  • Covered Adventure Sports listed in Policy
Assistance Services Included
  • LiveTravelTM Emergency Assistance
  • Worldwide Travel Assistance
  • Adventure Travel Hotline
  • 24/7 Security
  • Travel Medical Assistance
  • Bag Trak
This is a general summary for Canadian residents only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all provinces. Check the Travel Insurance Policy for full details.

24/7 emergency assistance

Whether you need medical or dental assistance or advice, emergency evacuation or travel assistance, our team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year before and during your trip.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

Telephone +1 866 878 0192 (toll-free from Canada and the Continental U.S.) or +1 416 646 3723 (collect from anywhere else in the world)

Contact the team

Travel insurance. Simple & flexible.

Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.

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Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about backpacking. You can also find the answers to other questions in our Help Center or you can get in touch with our customer service team.

  • Does my insurance pay for my accident upfront or do I have to pay and claim?
    Who pays depends on what’s happened. In most cases, you’ll pay upfront and then file a claim reimbursement when you return home. If it’s an emergency where hospital admission and/or medical evacuation is required, the insurer may cover these costs upfront (provided the incident is covered as per the policy wording, of course). The insurer will make every effort, although they cannot guarantee, to pay providers directly. Our 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team can help you figure out the best course of action. Be sure to call them before you seek medical attention or an emergency evacuation.
  • Is there a time period that I have to claim within?
    You're welcome to submit a claim whenever you're ready. If you're waiting on documentation, just let our customer service team know, so they can make a note. Remember, you must notify us immediately of a cancellation, interruption or delay no later than the next business day following a cancellation, interruption or delay and prior to any emergency medical treatment, evacuation or repatriation and prior to any surgery, invasive procedure or hospitalization.