Saving money when we backpack is always a bonus. Spending as little as we can on food, accommodation and transport costs all allow us to spend more time on our backpacking routes.
But the one thing that none of us should cut the spending on is travel insurance.
It may seem like a luxury. After all, you probably don't care if your flight gets delayed, or you lose a couple of t-shirts, but what happens when you're far away from home, and the unexpected happens – you have an accident or fall ill.
You may think that if you're visiting a developing country such as Thailand, having insurance won't matter, but the last thing you want your family and friends to have to do is to start a crowdfunding campaign for your medical bills.
So, do you need insurance when you travel?
The simple answer is yes. Travel insurance is vital, and you really shouldn't think about going away without it. Even if your credit card offers free travel insurance, you should shop around for the best policy. Travel insurance such as Securiglobe, will cover you for all the essentials for your trip.
Here is why travel insurance is vital for backpackers.
If Your Vacation Gets Cancelled
We don't like to think of it, but if a family member falls ill when we're away, we would want to get back as soon as possible.
You could fall ill before your trip and need to cancel it, and if you've booked a cheap flight ticket which can be tough and costly to change, your insurance may cover this so that you can move the dates back or even cancel your ticket.
Losing Your Phone Or Laptop
You may not worry too much about losing your favorite traveling dress or a brand new pair of sneakers, but drop your phone in a swimming pool or lose your laptop to a thief in the new city you arrive in, could spoil your trip.
Travel insurance can cover your personal belongings up to a certain amount.
If the value of what you want to insure is more than the typical amount, you can probably pay an extra premium to ensure that it is covered.
For example, some only cover up to $200 per item, which may cover the cost of your phone but won't be enough for your tablet or laptop. Decide what you can't live without and take steps to get it covered, just in case.
If bungee jumping, white-water rafting, or rappelling off the side of a cliff are on your bucket list, then travel insurance is a must.
Even if you are planning to trek higher than 3,000 meters, then you need insurance to cover you for altitude sickness or any injuries.
Check the small print to see if your activity is included. If not, make sure you can pay extra to get it covered.
You can buy additional winter sports cover, which means that the insurer will pay your hospital bills if you get injured or fall ill during your trip.
Unfortunately, it can happen whether losing your money through an ATM scam, having your wallet stolen or worst case scenario – an express kidnapping (where a robber will take you from ATM to ATM until you have withdrawn all of your money).
Being stuck in a country with no access to money is no fun for anyone. Travel insurance can cover your lost cash, so you don't have to call home and rely on your family to bail you out.
Paying corrupt policemen when we're caught for allegedly “speeding” may only cost us a few extra dollars to continue with our trip, but what happens if you find yourself in an accident, and it wasn't your fault?
We may be used to the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” in our countries, but other countries and cultures may have a different way of looking at it.
This way, you know that you have legal access within that country if you need it, and you won't end up losing your life savings in the process.
Overall, having travel insurance gives you peace of mind, and it shows other backpackers that you are travel savvy. So lead by example and get covered. It will save you in the long run.
If you forget to buy insurance before your trip, you can find companies that will insure you while you're already on the road.
This story was brought to you in partnership with Securiglobe.
Lisa Eldridge is a travel journalist specialising in solo travel. Her background in the travel industry fuelled her passion to see the world and for the last seventeen years, she has travelled extensively as a solo traveller, living and working in numerous countries. She has now been to 100 countries and 60 of these solo.