Gap Year Travel Insurance

Best backpacker insurance

Travel insurance when travelling overseas is absolutely essential, and to leave home without it would be foolish. So please try not to be that person! The chances of you needing to claim on it are thankfully slim, but if you do, you’ll realise that organising it was the best decision you’ve ever made.

Check out our dedicated travel insurance service with World Normads and get yourself a quote.


It’s simply too reckless a gamble not to have it. While it’s true that statistically speaking you won’t need to claim on your backpacker insurance, if you find yourself in a situation where you need it – as thousands of travellers do every year – you will be more grateful than you knew was possible. If you injure yourself, the cost of medical bills abroad can be terrifyingly expensive.

Even for something as relatively minor as fixing a broken arm, you could be looking at thousands of pounds, which will not only put a stop to your gap year, but could land you in life-changing debt. For more serious things, like being airlifted to hospital from a ski slope, you’re looking at tens of thousands of pounds. Out of all your travel essentials, gap year travel insurance is by far the most essential.

Check out our tickets and travel services for more options.

Awesome organised experiences abroad


Summer Blast – South Island

from £1687

16 - 19 days

Experience the best of the South Island on this all points covered tour with stunning accommodation, amazing hikes, awesome bike...

South Island Lick Tour

from £695

7 days

Be awed by stunning mountains, fantastic views, and the amazing Queenstown on this South Island trip where you'll experience unbeatable...

4 Days Amalfi Coast Adventure

from £299

4 days

4 days to explore the land of passion, great food and Italian customs. Visit the ruins of Pompeii, relax on...

All-Inclusive Ibiza Beach Camp

from £120

2 Days - 10 Days days

Join us this summer at their beautiful beach camp in the paradise known as Ibiza!

Hot Rocks – North Island Adventure

from £900

9 - 10 days

Experience the best of the North Island on this unique tour which combines accommodation in stunning locations with optional activities,...

Mini January Ski Package in Austria

from £359

3 days

Early January is dreamland on the slopes, jump on the 08:55 BA flight from Heathrow and spend the next 3...

Backpacking Tour of China

from £1015

16 - 25 days

Backpack to the most populated and vibrant cities in the world and explore untouched countryside. Travel with a group and...


from £120

2 days

Oktoberfest is the biggest beer festival in the world and Stoketoberfest is the biggest party outside the beer halls. Includes...

Legendary New Zealand Tour

from £2005

21 days

From Auckland, we make our way down the beautiful and volcanic North Island to the capital, Wellington, before catching a...

Sail Split to Dubrovnik

from £192

8 days

Soak up Split’s Mediterranean vibes at a waterfront bar, visit the long pebbly beaches and palm fringed port of Makarska.


Western Highlights

from £1429

8 - 8 days

United States

You could easily spend 9-days in LA, losing track of time and doing little more than eat, sleep, shop, party,...

Game Parks, Zanzibar & Mozambique

from £1320

Gear up for an African adventure that’s every bit as exotic and exciting as its name suggests. From Nairobi to...

Best of Northern Spain

from £1130


Spain has been described as less of a country than a collection of small nations all working together. Each region...

Jaffas n Jandals

from £325

2 - 2 days

New Zealand

Clear your schedule for New Zealand NOW – from Auckland to the Bay and everything in between. Cross the Harbour...

Barcelona to Berlin

from £1781


Discover European class and grandeur on this journey from Barcelona to Berlin. Begin the adventure in Barcelona and wander among...

Cycle Cape Town and Winelands

from £1830

South Africa

A ride in South Africa is more than a bit of exercise. It’s a ride through a long and troubled...

Eastern Inspiration

from £1029

Journey through Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and other bucket list countries with your own on-road chef. Get Dutch with a...

Laos Traveller – Bangkok to Vientiane

from £705

In Thailand discover a country where ancient and modern collide to create the glorious chaos of Bangkok and the cultural...

Otavalo & Cotopaxi Independent Adventure


A perfect add-on to any Ecuador or Galápagos adventure, set off along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" to the highlands....

Sri Lanka Explorer

from £1045

Sri Lanka

Drive along the road in Sri Lanka and you can pass Hindu temples, Buddhist shrines, churches and mosques all on...

Articles about travel insurance and keeping safe


What does travel insurance cover?

Every policy varies in how much you can claim, what you’re covered for and how much excess you’ll pay. This is why you need to spend the time now checking exactly what’s included, and this includes the small print. Read it, know it, and get your parents to check it too. The majority of travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses, lost or stolen bags, costs caused by cancellations, and personal liability.

If you want to ski, bungee jump or take part in any other extreme sport considered ‘dangerous’, you will usually need to pay for extra cover. In the incredibly unlikely event that you die, most policies will cover repatriation costs. Many policies won’t cover travellers for acts of terrorism and natural disasters, like earthquakes.

Personal belongings

You should be covered for any cost associated with your belongings being lost, damaged or stolen. This includes your passport, camera, phone, money and luggage. This aspect of cover usually has an upper limit on the total amount you can claim per item, so make sure you individually name anything that’s expensive.

Medical expenses

If you’re taken ill or involved in an accident while you’re away, you should be covered for medical treatment, hospital stays, any additional accommodation required, travel costs and emergency flights home.

Delays and cancellations

You should be able to reclaim the cost of your trip if an operator cancels it (that includes airlines cancelling flights that were due to get you there). Similarly, if a delay causes you to miss a connecting flight, you should be covered for any associated costs, which might include an unexpected hotel stay, or a new flight.

Personal liability

This covers you if you injure someone, like on the ski slopes, or damage their property and are subsequently sued. It may also include legal expenses if you need to take action against a third party.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Travel insurance is cheaper than many people assume, though the exact cost will depend on where you want to go and what you want to do. If you’re travelling to a single country for a week or two and don’t plan to do anything out the ordinary, it’ll cost something like £10-20. Check out World Nomads , who insure independent travellers from more than 130 countries.

If you’re off for a whole year, travelling across different continents and doing lots of adventure activities (in other words, a ‘typical’ gap year), you’ll be looking at something like £300. But that will cover you for literally £millions and every eventuality, so it’s definitely worth it.

What’s the best backpacker insurance?

Some companies are particularly good for backpacking travel insurance, in that they offer the best rates on the types of adventurous trips gappers are prone to take, and associated activities.

We recommend using World Nomads, who insure independent travellers from more than 130 countries. Whatever backpacker insurance you choose, make sure you read the small print to see exactly what you’re covered for and how much your excess is.

Is travel insurance compulsory?

It can be. Some countries won’t allow you to enter unless you can show proof of medical insurance – these include Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (of which Dubai is a part). Other countries require you to have medical insurance if you are visiting on a long-stay visa (think months rather than weeks).

Most tour companies who run trips abroad will insist on seeing proof of your travel insurance, and won’t allow you on the tour if you can’t provide it.

How do I claim back on travel insurance?

It’s possible that you might need to make a claim while you’re still travelling, for example if your bag gets stolen halfway through your trip. Therefore, it’s really important to know exactly how to get in touch with your insurer (like what number to ring) and to be able to tell them your insurance policy number.

It’s a good idea to have these details in a physical document in your bag, though that won’t be much good if the above example occurs, so for backup, make sure you email the relevant information to yourself too.

How to make a claim for lost or stolen luggage

The first thing to note is that you’ll need to have taken reasonable care of your property to be able to make a claim. In other words, no insurance company is going to reimburse you for a bag that’s gone missing after you forgot to carry it from the street to your hotel room. The insurer will also want to see a police report or crime reference number, so it’s important you report any stolen property to the authorities as soon as you realise it’s missing. Make sure you keep receipts for any essential items you’ve had to purchase, like toiletries and clothes, as they’ll act as evidence for whatever you claim back.

How to make a claim for a medical emergency

If you require medical attention, you should contact your insurer immediately to make sure they agree to cover whatever treatment you need. In a serious emergency – for example, if you are unconscious – this obviously won’t be possible, and the insurer will understand that. It’s important to keep hold of any medical receipts, including for prescriptions, as these will be used as evidence for any claim you ultimately make.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you didn’t tell your insurer about a pre-existing health condition while you were taking your policy out, your claim might be voided, so be honest!

How to make a claim for a cancellation

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances can result in a cancellation, whether that’s a single flight or a whole trip. If the cancellation isn’t your fault, like if an airline cancels a flight you’ve already paid for, this won’t be a problem to claim back.

If the cancellation is down to personal circumstances, you can still often make a successful claim, but it will depend on the reason. Valid reasons might include: sudden illness, unexpected damage to your home, redundancy, pregnancy and jury service.

Travel insurance tips and checklist

As well as taking into account all of the above, check out our other top tips for getting your travel insurance right. We realise there is a lot to take in, but this is a super-important aspect of your trip!

  • Stick to your limits: Check your policy to see how much you can claim for each thing (medical treatment, lost luggage etc.), as this can save you a lot of time. Your coverage for medical treatment will be significantly higher than for your personal belongings.
  • Know the exclusions: Make sure you’re aware of the things that could make your claim void. For example, most policies won’t cover medical treatment for injuries sustained while drunk, or doing adventurous sports which you haven’t declared you’ll be doing.
  • Remember the excess: Most insurance policies – travel or not – include some sort of excess payment that you will be expected to cover. For example, if the excess is £100, and you claim £500, the insurance company will only pay £400.
  • More information is best: The more information you make available, the easier it is for the insurer to approve your claim and the quicker you’ll be reimbursed. Always keep receipts, doctors records and police reports for evidence to support your claim.
  • Get several quotes: The best quote for you will depend on the exact nature of your trip, so make sure you get quotes from a few different insurers to compare and get the best deal. It’s sometimes easier to phone rather than fill in forms online.
  • Get an extendable policy: If you’re travelling for a long or indeterminate amount of time, make sure you have the option to extend your policy to cover you for your entire trip. Not all insurers will allow this, so make sure you ask before committing.
  • Read the small print: Seriously. We know it’s boring, but the more knowledge you have about your policy, the more power you have if and when you come to make a claim. Keep a sharp eye out particularly for clauses which would render your policy void.
  • Make sure you’re fully covered: This is especially important for the personal belongings aspect of your policy. Being covered for up to £5000 might look like more than enough, but not if your camera and all its accessories are worth £6000.
  • Tell the truth: Don’t be tempted to make a fraudulent claim. It’s not fair on other backpackers, as it ultimately raises premiums for everyone, and if you get caught you could be in serious trouble.

Better safe than sorry: If you think you might do some extreme sports, or visit a certain country that’s a bit volatile but you’re not sure, then just assume you will do these things when taking out your policy. It’s best to cover all potential bases. recommend using World Nomads, who insure independent travellers from more than 130 countries. 

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]