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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 frolic at every festival.

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

World Nomads covers backpackers as they travel all over the world with travel insurance designed for backpacking in ThailandVietnamSouth AmericaEurope 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, stolen or misdirected belongings or an emergency that requires you to head home pronto – travel insurance may be able to help you with expenses. Plus, our 24/7 Emergency Assistance team is here for you in a crisis, providing guidance and pre-approving costs if necessary.

What’s covered when backpacking?

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

  • Trip cancellation for the recovery of missed, prepaid, non-refundable trip costs when you cancel for a covered reason.
  • Emergency medical expenses for accidents, injuries or sicknesses.
  • Personal belongings, including tents, sleeping bags, and hiking and trekking gear.
  • Emergency evacuation for hospital transfers or a flight back to your home if your condition warrants it.
  • Baggage delays of at least 12 hours on route to your destination.
  • Trip interruption for emergencies that can cut your trip short.
  • More than 200 activities, from water sports to snow-based adventure sports and more. 

What doesn't backpacker insurance cover? 

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

  • Wear and tear from everyday use of sporting equipment.
  • Hikes or treks over 22,965 feet in elevation (Explorer Plan) or 19,685 feet in elevation (Standard Plan).
  • Any activities that arent on our adventure sports coverage list.
  • Search-and-rescue missions.
  • Certain items such as cash and credit cards.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. 

This is not a full list of what is and isn’t covered, so please check your policy for a full list of terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions that may apply to your specific plan. Any example scenarios provided above are not a guarantee of coverage. All claims are subject to review, require documentation and are considered individually. If you have any questions about what is and is not covered, please reach out – we’re happy to help. 

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 select the right policy for your adventure sport or activities. Our article on covered sports and activities should help you decide on whether to buy a Standard or Explorer plan. You can’t upgrade your coverage after you purchase a 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 enjoy a drink and take the road less traveled but incidents that occur while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be covered under your plan.
  • If you want to work while you’re away, coverage for work such as teaching, bar work or conservation work may be included in the Standard plan. Volunteer activities such as NGO support, disaster relief or construction and renovation work may be covered under the Explorer plan. However, keep in mind that some types of work like professional mountain guiding are not covered at all.
  • 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 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 offer coverage for up to 180 days at a time. 

Get a quote 24/7

With World Nomads you can buy travel insurance before you go or when you're already traveling, 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 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 donts and much more.

Travel insurance doesn't cover everything. All of the information we provide is a brief summary. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the plans described. Coverage may not be the same or available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

We cover 200+ activities you love

Snow 26 activities
Water 47 activities
Air 18 activities
Land 61 activities
Sports 80 activities
Experience 40 activities
  • Scuba diving
  • Mountain biking
  • Surfing
  • Bungee jumping
  • Skiing
Blue activities are included in the Standard Plan. Orange and blue activites are included in the Explorer Plan.

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you

Trip Protection

Protect your hard earned vacation from unexpected cancellation.

  • Explorer Plan: $10,000
  • Standard Plan: $2,500
Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalised?
  • 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: $100,000
  • Standard Plan: $100,000
Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Evacuation

We'll provide assistance to get you to the hospital or home quickly.

  • Explorer Plan: $500,000
  • Standard Plan: $300,000
Emergency Evacuation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medivac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Covers the loss, theft or damage of your bags, tech and 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 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
  • Repatriation of Remains
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Trip Delay
  • Baggage & Personal Effects
  • Baggage Delay (outward journey only)
  • Rental Car Damage – where permissible
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Generali Global Assistance 24-Hour Assistance Services
  • Generali Global Assistance Non-Medical Emergency Transportation Services
This is a general summary for US residents only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Check the plan documents for full details.

24/7 emergency assistance

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

Wherever you are, we’re here 24/7 to help you in any emergency.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

Contact Generali Global Assistance:
Telephone: +1 954-334-8143 (Collect outside the US)
+1 877-289-0968 (Toll-free in the US and Canada

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 our most frequently asked questions about overseas medical insurance. You can also find the answers to other questions in our Helpdesk or you can ask our customer service team.

  • Does my insurance pay for my accident upfront or do I have to pay and claim?
    World Nomads plans provide secondary insurance and are in excess to any other insurance you may have. You should pay upfront and then claim reimbursement with your primary insurance first. Once your primary insurance makes a decision on your claim, you can make a claim with us for the difference (the amount they did not cover) up to your policy limits. Be sure to include your primary insurer’s Explanation of Benefits along with your claim. If you don’t have primary insurance, you’ll submit a claim to us for the full amount, up to the policy limits. If you have ay questions in an emergency, please contact our emergency assistance team for guidance.
  • Is there a time period that I have to claim within?
    We recommend you make a claim as soon as you are able. The sooner you start your claim, the sooner our team can get working on it. If you're waiting on documentation, just let our customer service team know, so they can make a note. Plus, submitting your claim as soon as possible means less of a chance you’ll misplace your receipts or other required documentation.