Travel Alert: Cover excluded for COVID-19 except AUS/NZ with optional COVID-19 Pack or selected countries with "Do Not Travel" advice.

Backpacker Travel Insurance

Sightseeing and jet-setting on a budget? Purchase Backpackers Travel Insurance to cover you for your holiday!

Thousands of Australian travellers get bitten by the travel bug each year, setting off with nothing but a backpack and backpack travel insurance to explore the world.

And there’s so many places you can go when you choose backpack travel. From the cultural chaos of Southeast Asia, to the countless cuisines and castles of Europe, and the natural wonders of South America, backpacking overseas can be a life-changing experience full of new friends, great food and endless adventures.

Whether you’re backpacking at 30, 40 or over 50 years old, Fast Cover’s travel insurance for backpackers provides cover for back packers who are keen to experience the world by going on a working holiday, study, take a gap year, volunteer overseas or simply take in the sights.

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6 things to know about our backpacker travel insurance

  1. Unlimited overseas medical cover. You have unlimited medical cover for costs of things like hospital stays and surgeries for unexpected illness and injuries.
  2. Cover for pre-existing medical conditions. We cover 43 Pre-Existing Medical Conditions including asthma.
  3. Cover for evacuation and repatriation. In the event of a serious overseas medical emergency, you can be covered to be repatriated back to Australia for treatment.
  4. Customise your backpacking travel insurance. Make your policy suit you by upgrading your policy to be covered for snow sports, add on the Adventure Pack to cover higher risk activities like rock climbing, scuba diving and more.
  5. Return home when you want. You can return home for as long as you want, even if it's not for a reason that is covered under your policy, and resume your trip without voiding your policy, as long as you have at least 14 days left on your policy.
  6. Cover up to 24 months. You can purchase your policy for up to 12 months, and then extend it for up to another 12 months if you’re having too much fun.

What is travel insurance for backpackers?

Backpackers travel insurance provides cover for emergencies during your overseas backpacking trip, whether you’re going sightseeing, taking an adventure or working for a few weeks, months or for up to 2 years. 

While no one ever plans to have an accident or have their phone stolen on their backpacking holiday, it can happen.

And if it does? Our emergency assistance team can be there to provide you with assistance so that you and your backpack can continue your travels, or even help you get home if you’re seriously sick or injured.

If you’re travelling on a shoestring, you can get backpacker medical insurance which is often a cheaper option that provides just unlimited overseas medical cover.

However, travel insurance for your backpacking trip doesn’t just have to be for medical emergencies - it can cover a lot more of your trip than you think.

Backpacking travel insurance can also cover you for:

  • Cancellations due to unexpected sickness, injury or death of a family member.
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal effects such as your devices, because let’s face it, everything you own is in that backpack!
  • Snow sports including skiing, snowboarding, heli-skiing and snowmobiling.
  • Adventure activities such as tandem paragliding, scuba diving, white water rafting, bungee jumping, trekking over 3,000 metres and more!

Spending that extra bit on your backpacker travel insurance can potentially save you thousands of dollars if something does go wrong.


Do I really need travel insurance?

While you may be put off by the cost of travel insurance or think it’s all just a bit “too hard” - it doesn’t have to be that way! Fast Cover backpacker travel insurance has been designed to cover you for the essentials, while also allowing you to tailor your policy to suit your specific backpacking holiday and budget. 

Backpacking travel insurance can provide cover if you’re:

Going on a working holiday

You have a working holiday visa so you can do some work in Canada under the IEC program, the United Kingdom, Europe or elsewhere to supplement your travel, and experience living and working overseas.

Studying overseas

You’ve secured a student visa to complete your education and also work part time to support yourself - don’t forget to check if your travel insurance meets the visa requirements!

Travelling for the snow season

Many Australians take seasonal work and head off to Canada, Japan, Europe and the United States each year and work in or near snow resorts to take advantage of easy access to the slopes. 

Taking a gap year overseas

You may be planning on taking a gap year after school, before you start university, TAFE or work. You can also be covered if you’re going on a family gap year to take a break from work and school. 

Travelling during study breaks

That impromptu backpacking trip to Southeast Asia or long-awaited trip to South America can help you unwind and recharge. 

Volunteering overseas

You could be considering volunteering with animals, doing conservation work, building a school or teaching English.

Whether you’re planning your own solo trip or booking an organised group tour through a company such as Contiki or Shoestring, you can purchase travel insurance to cover you for potential emergencies on your backpacking holiday.

Why should you buy backpacker travel insurance?

For the simple reason that things may not go to plan.

If something goes wrong while you’re in Australia, you’ve got your family and friends for support, Medicare for medical expenses and local emergency services to help you out.

If something goes wrong overseas? Your usual support network can be a long, long flight away, and most likely in a different time zone! If you have a backpacking travel insurance policy and you need help overseas, our Emergency assistance team are available 24/7 to assist you.

Emergency situations on international backpacking holidays that can occur:
  • Lose your passport
  • You become sick or injured and require a doctor’s consultation, hospitalisation or at worst, emergency medical repatriation and hospitalisation
  • You’re a victim of theft or lose that new camera or GoPro you purchased for the trip
  • Have to cancel your backpacking holiday (including any pre-paid flights, tours or accommodation bookings) completely due to unexpected sickness, injury or a death in the family
  • Injure yourself while skiing or snowboarding
  • Find yourself stranded overseas after your flights are unexpectedly delayed due to bad weather or even a natural disaster, preventing you from returning home as planned (such as in 2017, when thousands of Australian backpackers were stranded in Bali when a volcanic ash cloud ground all flights)
In any of these emergencies, your backpacker travel insurance can:
  • Coordinate emergency medical evacuation and repatriation home
  • Assess and manage your medical care overseas
  • Cover your medical expenses and act as a guarantor for the payment of hospital expenses and medical bills
  • Provide assistance with alternative travel and accommodation including organising your flights home
  • Direct you to the nearest embassy or consulate
  • Provide access to interpreters in non-English speaking hospitals
  • Relay messages to your family or employer
  • Organise for a registered nurse or family member to accompany you on an emergency flight home
  • Provide advice and direction to ensure you’re safe and to mitigate the financial impact of an emergency

The cost of travel insurance for backpackers is incomparable to the thousands of dollars you would potentially have to pay for emergency hospitalisation expenses, medical evacuation or repatriation, replacing lost or stolen luggage or cancellation costs.

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What does backpacker travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance for backpacking at its most basic can provide cover for unexpected overseas medical and hospital expenses, however, you can also have cover for other unforeseen events including trip cancellations, delays and lost luggage and more.

Regardless of the type of international backpacking you plan to do, or whether you’re an amateur or professional backpacker, you can choose the type of cover that you need for your particular trip.

Overseas Emergency Medical and Hospital Expenses

Medical cover is included across all our international policies. This includes something as small as a doctor’s consultation fee if you feel unwell and need a prescription for antibiotics, or for more expensive emergency situations such as hospitalisation for broken bones after an accident.

You may also be covered for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation home to Australia under medical supervision if it’s required.

While you’ll be able you use your Medicare card if you’re backpacking to a country which has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you won’t be covered for specialty pharmaceutical medicines, doctor’s visits and lab diagnostics not covered by the RHCA.

Most importantly, the agreement won’t cover you for medical repatriation or evacuation. So while you won’t have to pay for some medical expenses in those countries, you still may be liable for other costs. For countries that don’t have a RHCA with Australia, if you get sick or injured and have to see a doctor or go to hospital, you’ll be liable for all the medical expenses.

And that’s where your travel insurance for backpacking can prove handy.

The other benefits that your backpacker travel insurance can provide cover for include:

If you’re constantly moving around a country or travelling through various countries, travel insurance for backpacking can give you the confidence of knowing that if you need it, you can contact the emergency assistance team.

If you’re in a car accident before you travel and become injured, or get sick with an illness such as glandular fever or pneumonia, you will likely have to cancel your trip altogether.

Cancellation cover means you can claim for any unexpected lost deposits or cancellation fees, including flights, tours and accommodation. And once you’re better, you can organise that next backpacking holiday!

If you’re going to the snow to ski or snowboard, make sure you choose a Snow Sports Plus policy that covers those activities in case you’re injured on the snow fields. Snow cover can also provide insurance for your equipment and pre-booked snow passes.

Some adventure activities are covered, including bungee jumping, kayaking and white-water rafting to grade 3, hiking up to 3000m and scuba diving up to 10m.

Other pursuits can be riskier, so you’ll need to purchase the Adventure Pack add-on to have cover for activities including kayaking and white water rafting up to grade 5, hiking up to 6000m (e.g. Everest base camp), diving up to 30m and river tubing.

Add the Motorcycle Pack to your backpacking travel insurance if you’re planning on riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter on your backpacking holiday. The motorcycle pack will cover you if you’re injured while riding a motorcycle.

If you’re hospitalised, the hospital cash allowance benefit will give you some extra cash to spend on your favourite snacks, a magazine or DVD to watch while you rest and recover and make your stay a little more comfortable.

How would it feel to lose that new camera, tablet, laptop or phone overseas? Travel insurance can cover these items, so you won’t need to pay the whole amount to replace them. You can also choose to increase the cover for any valuable items you want to take with you, including laptops and phones.

Imagine the airline losing or misdirecting your checked-in backpack… hopefully you’ve packed an extra pair of clothes in your carry-on! This policy benefit will allow you to claim for the purchase of essential items to tie you over until you’re reunited with your backpack.

Replacing a lost or stolen passport can be expensive and cause frustrating delays. Backpackers holiday insurance can provide cover for travel documents as well as extra accommodation and meal expenses while you wait out the delay.

A weekly financial benefit may be paid to you if you’re unable to go back to your usual work in Australia due to an injury sustained during your backpacking holiday.

If your holiday is shortened because you, your travelling companion or relative back home is unexpectedly sick or injured, you can have cover for the extra expenses that are incurred as a result. You’ll also be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if your holiday is disrupted due to other situations that are out of your control, including your scheduled transport being cancelled or delayed due to a natural disaster or you lose your travel documents.

This benefit provides cover for additional meals and accommodation should your journey be delayed for more than 6 hours due to circumstances outside of your control.

Did you plan your backpacking holiday with the aim of being somewhere at a certain time for a wedding, birthday or sporting event? This cover will reimburse you for your additional travel expenses to get to your destination on time if your originally planned transport is cancelled or delayed.

A road trip with friends can take an expensive turn if you have an accident. Rental vehicle excess cover allows you to claim for the excess you would have to pay on your rental car insurance policy if your hire car is damaged.

Pickpockets target travellers all around the world - even backpackers. If someone steals your money from you, you can be reimbursed up to $250.

An accidental death benefit can be paid to your estate if you were injured during your trip and die within 12 months of the injury. The benefit can also be paid out if you’re travelling on transport like a plane which disappears, sinks or crashes and your body isn’t found within 12 months.

The personal liability benefit can cover the payment of compensation for death, injury, physical loss, damage to property and legal expenses for settling or defending a claim against you.

If you’re going backpacking around Australia, you can be covered with our Domestic Plus travel insurance policies. There’s no medical or hospital cover if you’re backpacking domestically; medical expenses are covered by your Medicare card and/or private health insurance.


What is not covered in travel insurance?

Before purchasing backpackers insurance, you should be aware of the events which aren’t covered by your backpacker travel insurance.

These events include:

This includes breaking local traffic laws, driving a car or riding a moped or motorcycle without the proper licence, taking illicit drugs or being under the influence of alcohol.

If you consume an excessive amount of alcohol or illegal drugs, and this contributed to your claim, we may decline your claim on the basis of you acting irresponsibly.

Thinking of running with the bulls? High risk events such as this are excluded because you’re putting your life at risk and hence acting irresponsibly. So if you choose to participate in the Bull Run or other similar events, you do so at your own risk and own cost if you’re injured. If you’re not sure, check with us first!

Make sure your backpacking travel insurance covers you for the countries that you’re backpacking to, because if you don't, you may not be covered for travel to that country. Depending on the countries that you're travelling to, you may not have to pay any more to travel there!

Similarly, unless you have cruise cover for your policy you won’t have cover on a cruise ship.

Some activities aren’t covered by some of our travel insurance policies, including snow activities such as skiing and snowboarding and more adventurous activities such as trekking to 6,000m and scuba diving to 30m. Without specific cover for these activities, you’ll be responsible for the cost of any medical and cancellation expenses associated with the activity.

Hiring a rental car? If you don’t add the Rental vehicle insurance excess benefit to your backpacking travel insurance policy, and you have an accident in your rental car, you’ll have to pay for the rental vehicle insurance excess out of your own funds.

Also, the rental vehicle insurance excess benefit provides cover for the rental vehicle insurance ‘excess’ only and doesn’t replace rental vehicle insurance. So if you don’t take out rental vehicle insurance with your car hire company, you won’t be able to claim the rental vehicle insurance excess from your backpacker travel insurance.

There’s no cover if you’re not able to go backpacking because:

  • Your working holiday visa application isn’t granted
  • You’re denied entry into a country because you didn’t have a valid work permit
  • You forgot to apply for, or didn’t realise that you needed a work visa

If you leave your personal items unsupervised on the beach while you go for a swim or with a friend while you go to the bathroom, they probably won’t be covered by your backpacker travel insurance if they’re stolen.

Similarly, if you forget your personal items in a taxi or leave something behind in your hotel room after checking out, it’s unlikely to be covered.

Sexually transmitted infections are excluded from cover, including any medical expenses you incur, or if you have to cancel or reschedule your trip because of it.

Routine medical check-ups, prescription medications and vaccines aren’t considered medical emergencies and aren’t covered.

If you’re taking prescription medication, make sure you take enough of your prescription medication with you or be prepared to see a doctor and buy new medication at your own expense.

Travel insurance may not provide you with cover in dangerous destinations.

Always check Smartraveller to ensure your destination is considered safe by the Australian Government. There’s no cover for any claims if your destination is listed as:

  • Level 4 - Do not travel

If you still choose to travel to these regions, be aware that you do so at your own risk, against the government’s advice and you will have no cover from your travel insurance policy should something happen.

While some pre-existing medical conditions are covered, there are a number of conditions that are generally not covered. These may include:

  • Conditions requiring surgery
  • Conditions for which you have been hospitalised
  • Where you are taking certain medications
  • Cancer
  • Where you have a combination of pre-existing medical conditions
  • Mental illnesses including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder
  • Where you’ve received an organ transplant

There’s no cover if you decide that you no longer want to go backpacking because you’ve changed your mind, or you’ve broken up with your travelling partner.

Guys snow climbing backpacking

Does travel insurance increase closer to my departure date?

Buying backpacker travel insurance with cancellation cover closer to your departure date may be cheaper than if you buy your travel insurance a few months beforehand. However, if you’ve already paid for your trip, then buying your travel insurance closer to your departure date may mean that the deposits and payments such as for flights or tours that you’ve already paid for your backpacking holiday are at risk if you have to cancel your backpacking trip due to sickness, injury or natural disaster.

Why? Well if you buy your backpackers travel insurance at the same time that you pay for your trip, while it may cost a little bit more than if you bought it just before you leave Australia, if you’re not able to travel due to reasons out of your control, you may be able to claim for all the prepayments that you’ve already made.

Travel insurance cover can’t be applied retrospectively. For example: if you haven’t already brought your backpacker travel insurance with cancellation cover before a natural disaster occurs at your backpacking destination and you can’t travel, you won’t be covered for that natural disaster. You can’t buy it after the natural disaster occurs, you need to buy it before it does. That means that you may not be compensated for the flights, accommodation, tickets and tours that you’ve already paid for if you don't have travel insurance with cancellation cover!

Also, travel insurance premiums are subject to change. The quote that you got a few months earlier may not be the same a few months later, as the premium may have increased in that time!

Does travel insurance cover cancellation for any reason?

If we were to cover cancellation for any reason, the cost of that type of travel insurance would be huge!

Whether you’re covered for backpacking trip cancellations depends on the reason, and if that reason is due to an event that is covered under the terms and conditions of your backpackers holiday insurance.

You can claim for your trip cancellation costs including flights, cruises, accommodation, tours and tickets for events if an unexpected event occurs, including natural disaster, unexpected sickness, injury or death of a family member.

However, there’s no cover if you simply change your mind about travelling because your personal circumstances have changed including:

  • Being offered your dream job in Australia
  • You and your travelling companion have decided to part ways
  • You just don’t want to go backpacking anymore

 What happens if you cancel a non refundable flight?

If you cancel a non refundable flight due to a reason that’s covered under your travel insurance for backpackers, you can be reimbursed for the cost of that flight. Flight cancellation costs can be reimbursed for several reasons including:

  • You become unexpectedly sick or injured and your doctor advises against travel
  • A close family member is unexpectedly seriously sick or injured

Make sure that you have all the supporting documentation from doctors, as this will make it easier to make your claim.

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How much does travel insurance for backpacking cost?

The cost of your backpacker insurance depends on what you want to be covered for, and the type of travel insurance that you buy.

The cost of travel insurance for your backpacker holiday will be based on:

  • Which countries you’re backpacking in
  • How long you plan on going back packing for
  • The activities that you’re planning on doing, like snow sports, adventure sports, cruising or riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter
  • Your age
  • If you’ll be driving a rental car and want rental vehicle insurance excess
  • The excess that you choose
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Does backpacker, student or working holiday travel insurance cover visa costs?

To go on a working holiday, you will most likely need to apply for a working holiday visa.

Different countries have different work visa requirements, so you’ll need to do your research.

Some work and holiday visas include:

  • IEC Canadian work permit
  • T5 Youth mobility Scheme visa for the UK
  • J1 Work and Study Exchange program in the USA
  • Schengen work visa
  • Z Chinese work visa
  • X Chinese student visa

There’s no cover for the costs of obtaining a visa for your travel, or for any cancellation costs if your work permit application is denied or you don’t have a valid work permit.

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Can I still buy travel insurance if I haven’t decided where I’m actually travelling to?

Yes! You can select your backpacker policy based on the countries that you’ll definitely be backpacking to first. If you then decide to go to other countries, you can send us an email or call us to add these countries to your policy.

Depending on the countries that you decide to visit, you may need to pay an additional premium, or not have to pay any extra at all!

Our policies will provide cover for any countries you may end up backpacking to that are ‘Level 1 - Exercise normal safety precautions’ or ‘Level 2 - Exercise a high degree of caution’or 'Level 3 - Reconsider your need to travel'.

What is the best travel insurance for backpackers?

The best backpacker travel insurance in Australia for your holiday will depend on the type of trip you plan to take, and what you want to be covered for.

When looking for the best backpacker insurance that suits you, you should consider:

What you want to do on your backpacking trip

Including any adventurous activities, hiring a rental car, riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter or snow sports.

What you want to be covered for

Apart from overseas medical cover, you may also want to be covered in case

  • You’re sick or injured before your backpacking travels and have to cancel your trip
  • Your belongings are lost or stolen, including your passport or credit card
  • You’re sick or injured during your trip and you have to return home
  • An earthquake, volcanic eruption or flood prevents you from going on or continuing your trip
  • A family member is unexpectedly sick or injured and you need to return home
If you can tailor your backpacker travel insurance to suit your holiday

The very essence of a backpacking holiday is to save money. Once you’ve worked out what you want to do on your holiday and what you want to be covered for, you should look for a backpackers travel insurance policy which you can customise to suit you, including whether or not you can extend your policy if you decide you want to continue your back packing holiday.

This way, you’re only paying for what you want to be covered for, which can be handy if you’re on a budget.


Can I take out travel insurance for backpackers already abroad?

Yes! If you have left Australia and forgotten to take out backpacker travel insurance, you can buy an Already Overseas policy for your backpacking trip, provided you’ve:

  • been overseas for less than 14 days, or
  • been insured under a travel insurance policy (even if it’s with another company) since you left Australia that’s still current or has been expired for no more than 14 days.

Unfortunately, if you don’t satisfy the above conditions and other conditions that you can find in our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), you won’t be able to take out an Already Overseas policy. So to avoid being stuck overseas without cover for your backpacking holiday, do your research early and buy your backpacker travel insurance before you go!

Can I take out multi-trip backpacker insurance?

If you’re planning on going on several small backpacking trips within 12 months, buying our Frequent Traveller Saver backpackers travel insurance policy can be a cost effective way to cover yourself.

The maximum duration for each backpacking trip under a Frequent Traveller Saver policy is 63 days, and you would need to return to Australia after each trip.

Compare backpacker travel insurance

We know that the aim of a backpacking holiday is to spend as little as you can so you can travel longer.

However, when you’re doing a backpacker travel insurance comparison, you should look at not just the price, but also what you’re going to be covered for.

Fast Cover offer different policies to suit different budgets, so you can compare travel insurance for backpacking and find the policy that suits your type of trip:

Another way to compare travel insurance for your backpacking trip is to consider checking out backpacker travel insurance reviews like Product Review.

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Cheap backpacker insurance

A good way to buy cheap backpacker travel insurance is to look for a policy that covers you for the things you want cover for, like overseas medical expenses or cover for your belongings, and not for things you may not need like rental vehicle excess, if you’re not planning on driving a hire car.

However, don’t make the mistake of foregoing features in your backpacker travel insurance just to save a few dollars upfront (or appease your parents!). Spending a little more of your budget on travel insurance may end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.

For more information on how you can save money when buying travel insurance, check out Fast Cover’s article on the Top 20 Ways To Save With Travel Insurance.

16 travel tips for backpackers

  1. Go for a health check-up and get your vaccinations early
  2. Register with DFAT
  3. Stay up to date with Smartraveller
  4. Apply for all necessary tourist and work visas
  5. Make both digital and hard copies of all your travel documents and paperwork
  6. Share your travel itinerary with family and close friends
  7. Make a list of emergency numbers
  8. Take your student card for discounts at attractions in various destinations
  9. Consider taking a pre-loaded travel debit card
  10. Read up about the most common travel scams at your destination
  11. Consider purchasing a slash-proof bag and locks
  12. Remember that the risk of infection from unsterilized tattoo equipment is significantly higher in some destinations such as Indonesia and Thailand
  13. Avoid direct contact with animals such as monkeys and dogs due to risks of infectious diseases like rabies
  14. Take your own first aid medical pack
  15. Only use popular and well researched tour companies and taxi service providers
  16. Check out our Backpacker Health and Safety Guide for more information on backpacking journeys, tips, tricks and advice!
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Backpacker travel insurance FAQs

Travel insurance can cover expenses related to lost or stolen items during your trip. Just make sure to keep your belongings within your line of sight or stored securely in hostel lockers.

Yes, travel insurance for backpackers can cover you for loss or theft, medical emergencies, personal liability, and cancellations if you book your accommodation through one of these sites. 

Cover is subject to the policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Yes, our policies provide cover for both your work and leisure hours. If something does happen while you’re working, you should seek compensation from your employer first. 

If you cancel your flight due to a reason that is covered under your backpackers travel insurance and you’re not able to get a refund or credit from your airline, you can submit a claim for the cost of the flight and other payments that you had already made, including accommodation and tours.

Yes, as long as you are not performing any dangerous activities.

You should always follow the Australian Government's warnings regarding traveling to unsafe places.

Cover is subject to the policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Things you need to know

* See Product Disclosure Statement and the COVID-19 Pack Document for full terms and conditions and exclusions and limits that apply. For travellers aged 80 and over, additional terms and conditions, limits and excesses apply.