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Travel insurance when backpacking

Protect the freedom of carrying everything on your back.

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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 hit the dance floor. Whatever creature comforts you can do without, travel insurance should be considered.

Why you should consider insurance when backpacking?

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

What’s covered

Here are some pointers to consider when looking at travel insurance policies:

  • Are you traveling long-term, you lucky thing? World Nomads policies generally offer coverage for up to a year. But you can also extend your policy or buy travel insurance while abroad for another 12 months (366 days). You can extend your policy before 11:59pm on the end date shown on your Certificate of Insurance, based on the time and date in the capital city of your country of residence Please note that waiting periods or time excess may apply, even if you don’t have a return ticket.
  • Does backpacking = hiking for you? To have cover for an adventure sport or activity, you may need to add it to your policy when you buy, and pay the extra premium, depending on your country of residence. Remember, you can’t upgrade your coverage after you buy, 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 enjoy a few drinks and take the road less traveled but getting blind drunk or venturing into regions unknown may impact your coverage.
  • If you want to work while you’re away, cover for non-manual work such as admin or childcare may be included in the base policy (make sure you check the conditions in the policy). Manual work such as maintenance, cleaning, WOOFing and bartending may need an upgrade, depending on your country of residence. If so, you should consider adding this to your policy at the time of purchase and pay the extra premium. And some types of work may not be covered at all. Your policy has all the details.
  • Going wherever the breeze blows? If you want to cross the border, check with our customer service team first as your policy may not apply in other countries.

Key benefits for backpackers when considering buying World Nomads travel insurance:

  • Trip interruption: need to return home for work or emergency reasons? You can return home for a visit at your own expense and resume your trip under the same policy before the policy end date. If you decide to end your trip early, or you don’t resume your trip after being repatriated, your cover ceases. Your policy will list every reason or event under which you may be covered. It also specifies the maximum amount that you could be reimbursed.
  • Trip cancellation:has a sick or injured traveling companion put a stop to your backpacking adventure? Depending on your country of residence and plan, you may be able to recover your travel expenses.
  • Emergency medical cover: backpacking can be great for the body and soul but not if it ends up in a bad injury or illness. Emergency medical coverage will help in the case of an accident or when you need urgent medical treatment for an injury. Get to a doctor for treatment and medication and you can submit a claim to recover the costs (up to your benefit limit).
  • Coverage for some Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related events: depending on your Country of Residence and the plan you’ve selected you may be covered for some Coronavirus-related events. To find out more, read our What’s Covered for Coronavirus article.
  • Activities and sports cover: depending on your country of residence, and the plan you choose, you have cover for more than 150 activities such as bungee jumping, kayaking and scuba diving. While many activities are available on the Standard plan, those feeling extra adventurous can upgrade to the Explorer Plan, which offers higher benefits and cover for a broader range of activities and sports. Read your policy to make sure the policy is appropriate for you. 
  • Lost or stolen luggage: had your stuff stolen or lost your bags? Our luggage coverage options can help with replacing belongings that were swiped from under your nose or lost by the carrier.

Note: Coverage depends on your Country of Residence, and on the plan that you choose, make sure you read your policy carefully.

What could affect the cost of my travel insurance?

There are several factors that influence how much you’ll end up paying for your travel insurance, these include:

  • Any existing medical conditions
  • You and your travel partner’s age, as well as any dependants age
  • The length of your trip
  • Any high value items you want to add
  • Any upgrades to sports or activities you want to add
  • The number of destinations you plan to visit.

What’s not covered

While there are several things we can offer coverage for, there are also things we just won’t cover. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Any pre-existing medical conditions 
  • Any items lost, stolen or damaged that are unsupervised or unattended
  • If you travel against medical advice or neglect to adhere to government ‘Do Not Travel’ warnings issued prior to departure
  • Any adventure activities or sports that aren’t covered by our policies.
  • Certain items such as cash, credit cards and sports equipment damaged while in use
  • Any costs related to illegal activities or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When you buy a World Nomads travel insurance policy, your coverage has been crafted by passionate travelers 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 heaps more.

This is only a summary of cover and does not include the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the policy. You should read your policy wording in full, so you understand what is and isn’t covered. That way there won’t be any surprises if you need to use it. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Some FAQs

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

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you*

Trip Cancellation

Been working hard for your trip?

We'll work hard to protect it.

Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalised?
  • Travel buddy unfit to travel?
  • Close relative suddenly dies?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Expenses

Feeling fit and healthy? What if you get sick or injured?

Take the pain out of medical or dental costs.

Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Know where the nearest hospital is?

Don’t stress, we’ll get you there quickly.

Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medivac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Love photography, filming or sport?

Cover your bags, tech or gear.

Protect your gear
  • Passport or tech stolen?
  • Airline lost your gear?
  • Bags delayed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Overseas Medical & Dental Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption
  • 24-Hour Assistance Services
  • Baggage
  • And more (depending on your country of residence)
*This is a general summary only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Coverage may not be available for all countries, states or provinces. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Get a quote for full details.

24/7 emergency assistance

Whether you need medical assistance or emergency evacuation, our teams 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?

Contact the team
Wherever you are, we’re here 24/7 to help you in any emergency.
Aurelie's portrait photo
Aurelie Menard,
Emergency Assistance, World Nomads

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.