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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. Freedom and flexibility are key and we’re here to help with our policies created by travelers, for travelers just like you.

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.

Our policies can help global backpackers

Depending on your Country of Residence and the plan you’ve chosen our policies offer flexible options for your backpacking adventures including:

  • Flexible cover for long-term adventures: World Nomads policies may offer coverage for up to a year. And in some instances - depending on your Country of Residence and the plan you’ve chosen - you may also extend your policy or buy travel insurance while abroad for another 12 months . Please note that waiting periods or time excess may apply, even if you don’t have a return ticket.
  • Backpacking means adventure! Our policies may cover more than 150 activities, sports and experiences so you can adventure with confidence.
  • Want to work or give back? Our policies may offer cover for different types of work, working holidays and volunteering, including for digital nomads.

You can get a quote, make a claim, or extend your policy instantly online, even while traveling.

Choosing the right policy for you

World Nomads travel insurance may help if:

  • You’re injured and need medical transport or evacuation home.
  • You want cover for your bags and valuables in case they’re lost, stolen or damaged. Keep the paperwork and receipts for your gear.
  • You need to cancel your trip, or your trip is unexpectedly delayed.
  • You’ve already left home and need to buy travel insurance.
  • You want cover for some Coronavirus-related events.
  • You need cover for overseas medical expenses and hospitalization costs.
  • You’re looking for cover for adventure sports, activities, and experiences.

Your coverage will vary according to your Country of Residence and whether you choose a Standard or an Explorer plan. Read your policy for details on cover, maximum benefit limits, exclusions and conditions of your coverage.

female at train station
Traveler with backpack waiting for a new journey. Photo credit: Getty / nomadnes

Why should I consider insurance when backpacking?

If your backpacking 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, so you’re not left with a huge bill.

What’s covered when backpacking?

Depending on the plan you choose and your Country of Residence, some of the key benefits on our policies include cover (up to policy limits) for:

Unexpected medical emergencies

Your health and safety are a priority when you’re backpacking around the world. That's why our plans offer cover for emergency medical expenses if you fall ill, get into an accident or get hurt on your travels. Please note that terms and conditions, benefit limits, and exclusions apply

Being avid backpackers ourselves, we know that your adventure may take you far from medical help, and if you need emergency evacuation our policies may also cover you.

24/7 emergency assistance

If something goes wrong in an unfamiliar place, it can be overwhelming. With World Nomads you’ll have access to our 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team. Whether you need help finding a doctor for Bali Belly, if you come off your bicycle touring the countryside or if your gear is stolen, our Emergency Assistance team can help with emergencies in most parts of the world where you may be traveling.

Adventure ‘till you drop!

Our policies are designed to allow for maximum adventure, whatever your budget. Depending on the plan you choose and your Country of Residence, you could be covered for more than 150 sports, activities and adventures including:

  • Scooter and motorbike riding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Hiking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snowboarding
  • Skydiving

It’s important to remember that not all activities, sports, and experiences are covered under every plan. You may have to upgrade the policy and sporting level to receive the cover you require for the activities you plan to do. Some activities may have special terms and some activities may not be covered at all. If you’re not sure whether your activity is covered, contact us.

Trip interruptions and delay

Don’t let an unexpected incident unravel your backpacking trip - our trip interruption coverage can help salvage pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses that you’ve had to forfeit if a covered event has disrupts your plans.

Our policies may also cover you if you experience a delay by making sure you have the essentials to be comfortable such as meals, toiletries and even accommodation. Check your policy for any conditions you need to meet: your delay might need to be a certain number of hours or be caused by a covered reason.

Stolen or lost baggage

When everything you have with you is on your back, it can be confronting if your gear is stolen, or your travel carrier loses your only possessions. With our travel insurance policies, you may be able make a claim for a replacement or a reimbursement of your stolen items, up to a per item and total maximum limit. Terms and conditions apply so be sure to check the policy wording.

Note: Keep in mind that benefit limits, terms and conditions and exclusions apply depending on your Country of Residence, so be sure to read your policy wording carefully. If you have any questions about your cover, contact us.

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.
  • Going against local authority warnings by entering closed or restricted areas or places or putting yourself in an unsafe or dangerous situation.
  • If you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions or what we or the 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team advise you to do.
  • Any remote search or rescue operations to remove you from a life-threatening situation (unless covered by natural catastrophe).
  • 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.

Top tips for backpacking nomads

  • Keep an eye on your gear and belongings. When everything you have is on your back you could be a target for thieves.
  • The cheapest option isn’t always the best choice. Be savvy about things like safety in your activities, transport and accommodation options.
  • Keep digital copies of your important documents like passport, visas and insurance certificates.

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 dont's 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

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.