(Back)Packing essentials

The best travel insurances for backpackers + why you need to buy one

For the majority of us, a travel insurance is something that ultimately ends up unused. However, should an issue arise, then it is a good idea to ensure that you are covered. A travel insurance covers unexpected incidents, such as health problems, losing your luggage, breaking your phone or it can cover flight costs if you have to go home suddenly. In this article I explain why you need to buy a travel insurance and I share my top 5 of the best travel insurances for backpackers.

Why should I buy a travel insurance?

– Easy to purchase

You might not want a lot of stress when you go backpacking, so it can be good to know that buying travel insurance can be a rather simple (online) process. You usually have to state your age, destination, and if you already have any medical conditions. This can enable the provider to give you a quote for the duration of your stay.

– Prioritizing your health and financial security

Should you have health issues, either before your trip or during, travel insurance could help to cover you. There may be a number of conditions that, once diagnosed with, make it unsafe for you to travel. If this becomes the case, you may need to cancel your flight or even your entire trip. However, without insurance, you might find yourself losing some (or all) of the money you paid for the trip. Therefore, having a travel insurance could be a small price to pay for some financial security. In this instance, you may certainly feel like there are benefits to having it.

Should you need any medical attention once your trip has begun, a travel insurance may also help to cover those costs, allowing you to gain the care you need without needing to panic about the financial implications of doing so. From small health care needs like a dental problem, food poisoning or broken ankle to worst-case scenarios requiring hospitalization, quarantine or evacuation, a travel insurance can help you cover the costs.

– The loss of property

It isn’t just your physical self you need to think about. A travel insurance also protects you against unforeseen events such as lost luggage. Each year, numerous backpackers may reach their destination only to find that their backpacks aren’t there with them. Some airports may be more notorious for lost baggage than others, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Some types of travel insurance may cover you for your lost items, allowing you to claim money back. Work out the value of all your belongings and make sure your travel insurance is willing to cover the same value or more if your belonging get lost. Although this may not help you in the short term, it can be somewhat reassuring when you return home, knowing that you could then potentially replace what was lost.

Travel insurances for backpackers

– The difference between a backpack travel insurance and an ordinary travel insurance

A backpacker travel insurance offers more coverage and flexibility than an ordinary travel insurance. It can also cover multiple destinations, different time frames and often includes extreme sports like wintersport, diving, bungee jumping or skydiving.

– How to compare travel insurances for backpackers?

To prepare you trip around the world, I recommend comparing travel insurances 6 months before the start of your trip. There are many travel insurances for backpackers available and it’s important to make a good comparison.

Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option! Make sure to read all the terms and conditions and know what you sign up for. If you compare travel insurances for backpackers, focus on the following things:

  • financial limits (amount of medical coverage, personal liability, lost/stolen possessions and cancellation/delay coverage)
  • age limits
  • duration time
  • excess (amount you have to pay towards the claim before the insurer pays the remainder)
  • ability of visiting multiple countries
  • ability of trip interruptions and cancellations
  • differences compared to your health insurance
  • pre-existing health conditions limits
  • ability to extend
  • accompany possibilities (family policy or couple policy)
  • 24/7 worldwide assistance (preferably online to avoid high phone costs)
  • costs

And if your insurance covers you for:

  • the lost/stolen of expensive possessions like your laptop or phone
  • medical assistance and expenses in the event of COVID-19 infection
  • voluntary work and/or contracted work
  • extreme sports like wintersport, diving, bungee jumping or skydiving
  • evacuation and repatriation (due to natural disasters or global pandemic for example)

– A top 5 of the best travel insurances for backpackers

I’ve compared many travel insurances for my world-trip and have listed the best travel insurances for backpackers (according to me) below. Please keep in mind that choosing the best travel insurance is entirely dependent on the type of trip you are going to make!

Please note that the terms and conditions of each insurance policy may change at any time and the information below may no longer be up-to-date. I recommend that you always carefully read the terms and conditions of the relevant insurer to know exactly what is and is not insured.

Nomad insurance via Safetywing – recommended for long term backpackers

The Nomad insurance of Safetywing is a travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads. The insurance covers for travel delay, lost checked luggage (not on laptops, cameras and other electrical equipment), emergency response, natural disasters, personal liability and costs for if you are in an accident, fall sick or need medical assistance. It can be purchased while already being abroad, covers home trip visits and operates like a monthly subscription. The flexibility of this insurance makes it one of the best travel insurance for backpackers and digital nomads.

Other things SafetyWing includes:

  • Up to $250,000 for medical costs
  • Trip interruption
  • Political evacuation
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Covers many sports, including bungee jumping
  • Personal liability up to $25,000
  • Automatic extension of your policy every month up until one year when they’ll contact you to see if you want to renew
  • Much cheaper than most other insurance providers
  • COVID-19: covers medical assistance and expenses even in the event of coronavirus

Heymondo – recommended for digital nomads

Heymondo is one of the cheapest travel insurances for backpackers and also offers great coverage. Its value for money is unbeatable. Heymondo offers services that other insurances do not offer, such as 24 hours medical attention and an APP from which you can chat with medical professionals or call via internet. It’s very easy (and cheap!) to contact them. Furthermore, they offer many standard reimbursements such as for loss or damage to baggage, travel delay or missed connections, repatriation and medical transportation. What’s more, they have no out-of-pocket fees! This means that if you need help in an emergency, they’ll pay the costs in advance.

Among the different Heymondo insurance policies, you can choose Heymondo Basic, Heymondo Top, Heymondo Premium and Heymondo Medical. I can highly recommend the Heymondo premium insurance.

Other things Heymondo includes:

  • Optional coverage for electronic equipment
  • Optional coverage for sports such as jet skiing, bungee jumping and other extreme sports
  • Group discount if you travel with a family (3+ persons) or if you travel with a group (5+ persons)
  • Personal liability up to $1 million USD
  • Covers up to 7,000 USD for ‘cancellation, delays, or interruptions’
  • COVID-19: covers medical assistance and expenses even in the event of coronavirus

For being a reader of Girlswanderlust, you’ll get a 5% discount on your next Heymondo travel insurance. Next to this, it’s good to know that on certain dates (Black Friday, Easter and certain dates in July), there is an additional 15% promo.

Click here to activate your discount.

World Nomads – recommended for adventurous travelers

World Nomads is a good insurance for adventurous backpackers, because it covers a wide range of adventurous sports and activities. It can be purchased at home or while being abroad. Next to that, you can always buy more coverage while you are away or extend your policy. I love the flexibility! A travel insurance via digital nomads is not the cheapest insurance, but often offers the best reimbursements regarding medical coverage for extreme sports, theft and damage to luggage, repatriation of remains, trip delay and baggage delay. World Nomads offers two types of plans:

  1. The standard plan is a budget-friendly plan that offers pre-and post-departure coverages such as trip cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption, emergency evacuation, emergency medical insurance and baggage and personal effects coverage. Sports like parasailing, mountain biking or bungee jumping are covered.
  2. The explorer plan includes all the coverages found in the standard plan, but it comes with higher coverage limits. For example, emergency evacuation coverage increases from $300,000 to $500,000. Also, you get a few extra benefits such as rental car damage coverage and coverage for more extreme activities such as scuba diving, cliff jumping and free soloing.

Other things World Nomads includes:

  • Cancellation can reimburse you 100% for prepaid, non-refundable costs
  • 24/7 travel assistance hotline
  • Trip interruption
  • $25,000 in coverage for non-medical emergency evacuation for covered events, such as natural disaster or political or security situations
  • Reimbursement of the depreciated value of your lost or stolen luggage
  • Covers (Voluntary) work
  • Covers most volunteering experiences, which many insurance providers don’t. For example, fruit picking or community projects.

FBTO – recommended for Dutch digital nomads

I bought my travel insurance with FBTO for my 1-year trip in Asia. When purchasing the travel insurance you can choose a period of 60, 180 or 365 days. In addition, you can turn all kinds of modules on or off (like extreme sports) and choose whether you pay per month or per year. The cheapest travel insurance of FBTO starts as low as € 1,11 per month! Can you believe it yourself?

Other things FBTO includes:

  • All medical costs that are not covered by your Dutch health insurance
  • Trip interruption
  • Political evacuation
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Excess of € 50 for damage to cell phone, laptop or tablet. Maximum reimbursement of €3.000,- of which €1.250,- for a laptop and €300 for a phone
  • Cancellation fee up to €1.500,-
  • Covers (Voluntary) work
  • Cash is insured up to €250,-
  • Much cheaper than most other insurance providers
  • COVID-19: covers medical assistance and expenses in the event of coronavirus in ‘yellow’ or ‘orange’ declared countries by Dutch government

ANWB – recommended for Dutch backpackers

Another recommended travel insurance for Dutch readers is a travel insurance of the ANWB. This travel insurance has very good conditions. If you turn on the medical formula, all unforeseen and necessary medical expenses are covered. You can also choose to insure winter sports & special sports. In addition, your electronic equipment is insured up to € 4.200,-. So this insurance is ideal for Dutch digital nomads! One of the disadvantages is that the maximum continuous travel duration is 180 days. So you can’t use this insurance if you want to travel for more than 6 consecutive months.

Other things ANWB includes:

  • All medical costs including dentist costs up to €600,-
  • Trip interruption
  • Political evacuation
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • You can choose your excess
  • Maximum reimbursement of €4.200,- of which €3.100,- for a laptop and €1.100 for a phone
  • Coverage of unforeseen costs such as transport and accommodation in case of illness, accident or death of an insured or non-traveling family member (1st + 2nd degree)
  • Coverage of damage to a rented accommodation or loss of the key to the accommodation
  • Cancellation fee up to € 1.500,-
  • Covers (Voluntary) work
  • 24/7 travel assistance hotline
  • Cash is insured up to €350,-
  • COVID-19: covers medical assistance and expenses in the event of coronavirus


Hopefully, this article has given a little more insight into why it is so important to purchase travel insurance. I hope it has given you an idea about the different insurance policies out there. Using a trusted provider, and reading all of the terms, can help you to gain coverage for your trip.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below. Safe travels!

Author: Daphne

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