We’re going to take a look at how to find the best travel insurance for backpackers. The article highlights some of the best options and main providers whether you are looking for the most extensive cover, the best cheap travel insurance or a happy medium.
There are a large number of travel insurance companies out there in 2023. However very few specialise in providing travel insurance for backpacking trips which are very different to your average holiday or city break, both in their length and the types of risks they involve.
While there are lots of reasons why you should get travel insurance to go backpacking, not all packages are equal and you shouldn’t automatically go for the cheapest backpacker travel insurance. It’s certainly worth reading up on exactly what you will and won’t be covered for if you require insurance when preparing for a trip. This page should help you in that process as we look at some of the best travel insurance companies for backpackers.
Heymondo – Best overall travel Insurance for backpackers in 2023
Heymondo are relative newcomers on the travel insurance scene but they’ve grown a positive reputation amongst backpackers and long-term travellers. Their website and app is very slick and user-friendly which has helped make it popular with younger travellers who might be put off by some of the more wordy, traditional travel insurance providers.
Let’s face it, the task of choosing travel insurance is perhaps the least exciting part of preparing for a big trip. However it’s an important step if you want to have the peace of mind that you’ll have financial help and advice in the event that something goes wrong. Fortunately, Heymondo’s travel insurance is about more than just a nice app and their coverage stands up well against the competition, at a pretty good price too. There are more details about what is and isn’t covered in our Heymondo review.
Key points about Heymondo’s travel insurance
- 24/7 worldwide assistance
This is an important point for anyone doing a big trip around the world that will see you cross many borders and time-zones. No matter where you are, or what time it is, you can get help from Heymondo’s team.
- Chat with a doctor via the app
The assistance app is one of the best things about Heymondo. There is a 24 hour medical chat function which is great if you need quick advice in a place where you don’t have easy access to healthcare facilities. There is also the option for free emergency assistance calls.
- Tailor made to your trip
Unlike some travel insurance providers, Heymondo offer cover that really focuses on the kind of trip you’re going to have which again makes it a good option for backpackers and adventure travellers. When you get a quote from Heymondo, you’ll be able to add on extras such as coverage for stolen electronic equipment. You can also add a host of extra adventure sports such as white-water rafting, canyoning, diving and bungee-jumping which aren’t covered in the standard packages.
- Single trip, annual multi-trip and long stay options
There are three different types of travel insurance you can pick from. Choose cover for just a short break, long stay (90+ day trips) or annual multi-cover (individual trips can be up to 60 days in length). In the latter case, you could for example travel around for Thailand for two months, return home for a bit and then do some travelling around Europe later in the year.
- Make claims from your mobile
The app is also the place to go to make a claim and track its progress. This should be a relatively smooth process and is faster than the typical claims process of other travel insurance companies.
SafetyWing – Best cheap backpacker travel insurance & best option for digital nomads
If you are looking for something flexible and even more affordable, then SafetyWing is a great option. They offer the best travel insurance for digital nomads and are specialists in providing international travel medical insurance, which is the most critical part of any backpacker travel insurance package.
That also makes them a popular choice for remote workers travelling around the world who may not need cover for such a wide range of incidents or activities, but run a greater risk of getting sick given they will in most cases be spending longer abroad than your average traveller.
Key points about SafetyWing’s travel insurance
For nomads and long-term travellers, it works like a typical monthly subscription where you choose your start date and can cancel any time. There is no cap on the duration of a trip and no need to know how long you’ll be travelling in advance. You can set up monthly auto-renewal payments to avoid having your coverage expire and forgetting to renew in time.
- Worldwide coverage & some home visits
They offer worldwide coverage (as long as the country you’re visiting isn’t subject to international sanctions) and in some cases that even includes visits to your own country which is handy if you’ll be nipping back home for short visits. Travel insurance is usually only valid outside of your own country (and often doesn’t include travel in the US, cover for which may cost more).
- Available in 175+ countries
SafetyWing’s travel insurance for backpackers is available for purchase by residents in almost every country in the world. You don’t need to be physically present in your own country to purchase it.
They also offer 24/7 support when a person is in need and can count upon a network of medical partners.
- Medical travel insurance
SafetyWing primarily offer medical travel insurance for everything from emergency dental care to hospital treatment bills of up to $250,000 ($100,000 for anyone 65+ years old). However their cover isn’t as extensive as some companies and does not include as many “high-risk” activities. Their packages also include some cover for travel interruption, delays and lost checked luggage.
Packages start at just $45.08 per 4 weeks for 18-39 year olds or $83.44 per 4 weeks if you want coverage for travel in the US included. People aged 40-69 can also purchase SafetyWing insurance although it will cost more the older you are, as is standard with any travel insurance package.
We have a separate Heymondo vs SafetyWing comparison which highlights some of the main differences between the companies. It also compares some of the main packages they offer.
More of the best travel insurance companies for backpackers
There are a vast number of travel insurance companies out there, but few truly cater to backpackers and long-term independent travellers. The table below enables you to compare backpacker insurance by Trustpilot ratings (customer reviews) and costs for some of the most popular providers.
The cost comparison was based on one month of travel in Southeast Asia (July 2023) for a solo traveller in their 20’s using the standard option for each insurer. Some companies also offer add-ons, as well as premium or basic medical only packages. Exact costs will vary according to your age, length of trip and destination.
You can get a quote in as little as a minute from any of these companies by heading over to their website (linked to from the table) and entering your trip details. It’s also worth noting that many companies offer annual travel insurance as well as single trip insurance which may well prove cost effective for anyone with big plans to travel over the next twelve months.
Backpacker Travel Insurance Reviews Comparison
|Company||Trustpilot Rating||Cost Comparison (based on 1 month of travel)|
|IATI Travel Insurance||4.5||$110|
|Allianz Global Assistance||4||$120|
According to our research, Battleface is the most popular travel insurance company of the eight featured above, closely followed by Heymondo and IATI. However Battleface was also the most expensive for insuring our sample one month trip to Southeast Asia. They do though offer cover for some countries and regions with government “Do Not Travel“ warnings which often invalidates many so-called “worldwide” travel insurance packages.
Travel Guard was by some distance the worst reviewed at the time of research (June 2023) with a worryingly low Trust Pilot score of just 1.6. World Nomads, which for a long time was considered to offer some of the best travel insurance for backpackers in Asia, Australia and other regions, has also seen its popularity decline with a rating of 3.7 – the second worst of the eight we looked at.
In terms of how much travel insurance should cost, it is of course important to remember that no two packages are equal and there will generally be a reason why one is cheaper than another. Sometimes travel insurance covers activities including riskier sports like skiing where the chance of injury is greater whereas cheaper options typically won’t. There can also be significant differences in terms of what you can claim in the event of theft or lost belongings. Therefore it’s important to read the exact terms to know what you will and won’t be covered for, but if you’re looking for the best cheap backpacker travel insurance, Seven Corners and SafetyWing are options that stand out.
Depending on where you’re from, there may also be smaller companies that offer some of the best travel insurance for international travel for people from your country only. For example there are many other providers that claim to offer the best backpacker travel insurance in the UK.
These can be good options if you want to speak to someone in your own language and more of a local touch. However, larger international companies like most of those featured above will generally have larger support networks, global connections and round-the-clock support.
This look at the best backpacker travel insurance options features some affiliate links and was last updated in June 2023.