Tips for backpackers

Some Travel Tips to make your Journey go smoother should anything go wrong

As this is written by us, it won’t contain information on where to find the best cheap hotel or the best meal in town, we’ll leave that to Lonely Planet! What we will do though is share some tips with you we’ve picked up on our travels, and also some lessons some of our clients have learned when they’ve been travelling, and had to claim!

Travel Insurance obviously is an item when you’re travelling that no-one really wants to buy, but put into perspective, generally it costs you less than a cup of coffee a day. But if you lose all your belongings, become ill or have an accident, no one is going to offer you any financial assistance whatsoever aside from your travel insurance or your friends and family.

What to do before you leave

No one ever wants to go to the dentist, but if you’re away for more than a few weeks, you probably won’t want to see a dentist in a far flung area of the world. You’d be wishing you’d just gone to see your dentist before you left!

If you do lose your passport abroad, getting the local Embassy to issue you with an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) is made an awful lot easier if you can print out copies of your documentation for them! So, before you go, take photos or scan all your documents – passports, visas, e-tickets, credit cards and email that to yourself! Note for British Passport holders, you only get an ETD which is very restrictive on what it allows you to do and is not the same thing as a new full British Passport. Getting a full new British Passport when you’re abroad takes many weeks to process, so, if you’re going through lots of different countries on your journey you may want to consider getting a second passport before you leave and get a family member to FedEx it to you should your original passport be lost or stolen.

Getting one of these is very useful, as usually you get free withdrawals from cash machines throughout the world, rather than the 2% or more your bank will probably charge you. You can do all the transfers to it from the internet, and usually you get a secondary card just in case you lose your first one! The ones which are popular choices amongst travellers are CaxtonFx and Ice.

If you do lose your money and cards, you have to phone up all the card issuers to cancel your cards before you get scammed by the thieves. Remember you’re usually responsible for losses before you inform the financial institutions that your cards have gone, and it will save you an enormous amount of time if you have all the numbers you have to call tucked in an e-mail you sent yourself before you left home!

Your travel insurance covers you for cancellation from the time you’ve bought it, and everything else comes into effect on the day you want your cover to start. So if you have an accident before your trip and you have to postpone it or even cancel, your insurance should pay out all those cancellation charges your travel agent will no doubt charge you.

You can get True Traveller Insurance once you’re already travelling, but we’re one of the very few who allows you to do this. Most travel policies are only available for you to buy before you start travelling.

Check your insurance will cover the activities you’re going to be doing on your trip. If you’re going to be doing some manual work like farming for example, most standard policies won’t cover that. So, check the small print!

How to look after your belongings

Pretty obvious really, but thieves won’t steal anything if they can’t get any money for it! If you do take your laptop with you and a very expensive camera, when you’re on the road really keep a very close eye on it, and be especially circumspect when getting on an off busses and trains, as that’s when the thieves strike!

When you’re actually travelling on trains, busses etc., put your passport, cash and cards in your money belt. No one will be able to steal them without you knowing.

There is no point in carrying more than $200 or so of cash at any one time. Just use your card and get more cash out of a cash machine.

If there’s no safe in your room, there will be one in reception. Use it, and put your cash, cards and passport inside it, and your camera and laptop as well if you’re not using them. Then just go out in the day with a small amount of cash and one credit card.

Use a day sack for your camera, laptop etc., and wear it on your front when travelling with your main rucksack.

If you are robbed or lose your money belt, there is nothing worse than not having any money! Sure you can claim your loss to your insurance company, but they won’t repay you today! So, keep one credit card (maybe your extra pre-paid card) and a $50 note hidden and separate from your main stash. Sellotaping a credit card between two pages in a guide book is an idea. Local thieves never steal guide books!

How to look after your well-being

If you’re in a malaria zone, use mosquito spray (buy it locally) but most important of all, use a mosquito net when sleeping. It’s a good idea to buy one before you travel from Amazon, as more often than not, mosquito nets in hostels have seen better days. Malaria is rarely fatal, but no drug is 100% effective against all the different strains. Also Dengue Fever is on the increase, and there’s no immunisation against that yet! Prevention is better than cure!

Always buy water from regular stores and check the seal! Buying bottled water off the street can leave you feeling very ill, as sometimes it’s just re-sealed by enterprising children looking to boost their income! Apart from fancy hotels and restaurants, avoid ice in drinks as well.

Remember refrigeration overseas in some areas just isn't up to our standards, so rather than eat meat which may be spoiled, go vegetarian for a few days!

You can buy these on the web in handy small bags, and they have plasters, antiseptic wipes, Paracetamol and bandages in them. If you do have a mishap, you’ll be pleased you bought it! And, if you do use something from it, don’t forget to replace it when you get the opportunity!

Sounds strange, but when we go away we suddenly think we’re invincible! It may be due to the euphoria of travelling, maybe a few too many beers or peer pressure. Sure, if you go to Queenstown you’ll have a go at Bungee Jumping, but don’t jump into a river from a great height thinking it’ll be fun when you’re in Vietnam. The water may only be a few inches deep! Also, if you’re feeling ill, don’t start a big trek like the Inca Trail. The altitude will make you feel much worse very quickly, and may result in you being helicoptered off the Inca Trail, airlifted to Lima and then all the way back home. Your trip is then over!

OK, you can’t avoid them totally, but the accident levels in Asia and South America are eye-wateringly high. Our travel insurance covers you if you ride a motorcycle up to 125cc and you wear a crash helmet, but do be careful, and be especially careful of motorcycle taxis. If you ride a motorcycle at home, you probably already know that if you fall off, you’re always the loser. In parts of Asia, especially Vietnam and Cambodia, deaths due to scooter accidents are estimated to be many hundreds per month!

If you've been ill for a few days and have been taking lots of fluids but still feel ill, go to a Doctor. It’s better to do this than not go and then get admitted to hospital a week later. Ask your hotel/hostel for the name of a local Doctor or go to a medical clinic. True Traveller Insurance will pay for the costs if you have your insurance with us, as to be honest it’s cheaper for the insurance to pay $200 for your Doctor, than maybe $5000 or more to a hospital a week later!

We get asked numerous times a year if we cover STI check-ups, and, like every other type of insurance, we don’t. Less frequently, we’re asked if we cover terminations. Being pregnant isn’t an illness, so it just isn’t included in your cover with us as it would be deemed to be an elective procedure. Plainly, the safest way to have safe sex is not to have sex at all. But, in the right environment, you may become a little more tempted. Hopkins Medicine advises "Use condoms every time you have sex. Choose a male condom made of latex or polyurethane--not natural materials. Only use polyurethane if you are allergic to latex.". You can read more on the NHS website here.

If you have any hints or advice we can share, just let us know and we’ll add it to this list. These hints won’t help to avoid the big claim which affects a very small percentage of travellers; in those cases they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time! But it may help you avoid those minor claims which just bring about misery for a few weeks, like having all your stuff stolen and having to fill out all those forms, police reports etc., or sitting in a dentist’s chair in Vientiane, when you’re not entirely confident of the dentists’ qualifications!


Our Insurer

Your True Traveller Policy is insured by AWP P&C S.A., trading as Allianz Global Assistance, part of the Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.


According to Forbes Magazine, Allianz is even bigger than Alphabet, the company which owns Google and YouTube, so you’ll be in good hands!

Already Travelling – No Problem

If you’ve already started travelling, and you previous insurance has run out, or you simply forgot before you left to take out travel insurance, you can simply apply online and get cover immediately.

Do however note, if you have already lost an item of baggage, have already seen a medical professional or are feeling ill or have been injured and about to see a medical professional, then we can’t help. Insurance is there to assist you in the event that something may happen, not for things which have already happened.

92 Activities as standard

Your Traveller Policy includes 92 activities as standard, which includes Bungee Jumping, Horse Riding, Safari Touring, Scuba diving to 18M and lots more activities you may end up partaking in on your trip. We even include non-manual work if you’re on a Working Holiday, and include bar and restaurant work as well.

We have our Adventure, Extreme and Ultimate Activity Packs you can select when you apply for your Insurance with us, which covers even more activities, to even include Rock Climbing, Trekking to unlimited altitudes as well as light manual labour again if you’re on a Working Holiday.

24/7 Medical Assistance Service

If you have an accident on your trip and end up in Hospital, we have a team at CEGA Assistance who have multi-lingual staff and medical professionals on duty, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can call them from overseas on +44 20 7660 1505, or if you’re in the USA or Canada, you can also call toll free on 1 800 961 9870.

They will be able to assist you and get your medical bills paid, and in cases where it’s medically necessary, arrange to fly you back home for further medical attention.

Choose your Activity Pack

The Traveller Pack is included as standard on all our policies. However you can upgrade to more adventurous activities to ensure you are covered when undertaking these activities. If there’s an activity not listed, just contact us and we will see if we can get it included for you.

Traveller Pack
Abseiling Aerobics
Archery Athletics
Badminton Ballet
Banana Boating Baseball
Basketball Black Water Rafting (grades 1-3)
Bowls Bungee Jumping (2 jumps)
Camel riding (day tour) Canoeing (inland/ coastal – grades 1-3)
Caving (sightseeing/ tourist attraction) Recreational Visit only Cheerleading
Clay pigeon shooting Cricket
Croquet Cruising (Cruise Ship)
Curling Cycling (incidental to the trip)
Cycling (on an organised tour) Dodge Ball
Dragon Boating (inland/ coastal waters) Dune Bashing
Walking with Elephants (Riding Elephants not covered) Field Hockey
Fitness Training Fishing (inland/ coastal waters) - Sports/ Leisure fishing only – no commercial or rock fishing
Floorball Flying (as a fare paying passenger in a licenced scheduled or chartered aircraft or helicopter)
Football (Soccer) Go Karting
Golf Gymnastics
Horse riding (leisure/ social/ non-competitive) - No racing/ jumping Hot Air ballooning
Ice skating (indoor) Ice skating (outdoor) on a commercially managed rink
Jet boating (inland/ coastal waters) Jet skiing (inland/ coastal – grades 1-3)
Kayaking (inland/ coastal – grades 1-3) Kite boarding (on land or water)
Lacrosse Martial Arts training (non-contact)
Motorcycling (on road under 125cc) (1) – No Motorcycle Touring Netball
Non Manual/ Clerical Work (2) Orienteering
Outdoor endurance courses up to 3 miles Outward Bound Pursuits
Paint Balling/ Airsoft Parachuting (1 jump)
Parasailing/ Parascending (Over water) Racquetball
Rifle range/ Sports shooting River Boarding/ Hydro Speeding (grades 1-3)
Roller Skating/ Rollerblading Rounders
Rowing/ Sculling (inland/ coastal waters – no white water) Running/ Jogging (up to half marathon distance)
Safari Travel Sandboarding/ Sand Skiing
Sailing (inland/ coastal waters) Scuba Diving (up to 18 metres in depth)
Segway Tours (Helmet must be worn) Skateboarding (ramp, half pipe, skate park, street)
Snorkeling Snowshoeing (Flat Terrain)
Softball Speed Boating (inland/ coastal waters – no white water)
Squash Stand up Paddle Surfing/ Paddle Boarding
Surfing Swimming (pool; enclosed, inland/ coastal waters)
Swimming with Dolphins/ Whales/ Whale Sharks Table Tennis
Tandem Skydive (1 jump) Tennis
Trampolining Trekking up to 3,000 metres
Triathlon up to Sprint Distance Tubing on rivers (grades 1-2)
Ultimate Frisbee Volleyball
Wall Climbing (Man-made Climbing Walls) – No soloing Water Polo
White Water Rafting (grades 1-3) Windsurfing (inland/ coastal)
Yoga Zip Lining
Adventure Pack
Aerial Safari Bicycle Polo
Black Water Rafting (grades 4-5) Bouldering – No soloing
Boxing (training only) Bungee Jumping (3 or more jumps)
Camel Trekking (overnight/ main mode of transport) Canyon Swinging
Canyoning Canoeing (inland/coastal – grades 4-5)
Dirt Boarding Dogsledding (on recognised trails)
Fencing Fishing (outside coastal waters/ deep sea) – Sport/ Leisure Fishing only
Fly By Wire Glacier Walking
Horse riding (overnight/main mode of transport) Kayaking (inland/coastal – grades 4-5)
Kite Buggy Land Surfing
Marathons Martial Arts - Judo/ Karate /Jiu-Jitsu only (training only)
Motorcycling (on road over 125cc) (3) – No Motorcycle Touring Mountain Biking (off road/ cross country)
Outdoor endurance courses up to 8 miles Outrigger canoeing (inland/ coastal waters)
Quad Biking (Helmet must be worn) Permitted Manual Work (4)
Rock Climbing (outdoor/ traditional/ sport climbing/ bolted/ aid climbing) – No soloing/ Sea Cliff/ Ice Climbing/ Big wall climbing Roller Hockey
Sailing (outside coastal waters) Scuba Diving (up to 40 metres in depth)
Shark Cage Diving Spearfishing
Trekking up to 4,600 metres Trekking up Mt. Kilimanjaro (5)
Triathlon to Middle Distance /Half Ironman Via Ferrata
Volunteering (6) Water Skiing/ Wakeboarding/ Wake Skating (No jumping)
White Water Rafting (grades 4-5) Zorbing
Extreme Pack
American Football Australian Rules Football (AFL)
Caving / Potholing (as part of a group, not ice; known routes only) Cycle Racing/ Time Trial
Cycling - BMX Flying (as pilot or passenger of a private light aircraft) - No Stunt/ Aerobatics or Commercial flying.
Gaelic Football Gliding
Horse Riding (Equestrian, Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing) Kite Wing (land, water only)
Motorcycling/Trail Biking (off-road under 250cc) (7) – No Motorcycle Touring Mountain Biking (using downhill trails and/or mechanical lifts)
Outdoor endurance courses up to 13 miles Ranching and Ranch activities
Roller Derby Rugby (League/ Union)
Scuba Diving (up to 50 metres in depth) Tandem Paragliding (1 flight)
Trapeze/ High Wire/ Aerial Silks Trekking over 4,600 metres (except Mt. Kilimanjaro - see Adventure activity pack) (8)
Water Skiing (Barefoot)
Ultimate Pack
Climbing (Ice) – No soloing. Hang Gliding
Mountaineering to 6,000M – No cover for free mountaineering, climbing in remote of inaccessible regions, exploratory expeditions or new routes. Parachuting – More than 1 Jump
Paragliding/Parapenting Parasailing/Parascending
Polo/Polocrosse Sea Cliff Climbing – No soloing
Powerbocking Skydiving/Tandem Skydiving – More than 1 Jump
Triathlon to Full Distance /Ironman Ultramarathon – Max distance 250km /No Polar Cover

(1) Note you must have the correct licence in your Country of Residence to drive a motorcycle or cover is not available. If you are from the UK, you are only covered if you have either a full Motorcycle Licence, or in the absence of that you have taken a Compulsory basic training (CBT) course in the past two years. A helmet must be worn when riding a motorbike.

(2) Non Manual/Clerical Work means professional, clerical or administrative work or working as a classroom teacher, classroom assistant, au pair, child-minder, bar and restaurant work.

(3) Note you must have the correct motorbike licence in your Country of Residence to drive a motorcycle or cover is not available. A helmet must be worn when riding a motorbike.

(4) Permitted Manual Work means general farm work and fruit picking. This includes driving tractors and other similar farm vehicles so long as you comply with any appropriate license requirements; doctor, nurse, midwife and care work (including medical elective trips but not dental elective); light building and DIY e.g. painting, decorating or basic construction work using light power tools only. Permitted Manual Work is not covered if it involves the use of plant/trade/industrial machinery, non-domestic power tools or working at a height of over 2 metres.

(5) Note Mt. Kilimanjaro is included within the Adventure pack, even though the summit, Uhuru Peak, is at an altitude of 5,895 metres, due to the level of claims experience. For all other treks over 4,600 metres, the Extreme activity pack must be selected.

(6) Volunteering means your participation in community or wildlife based conservation/project work when arranged by a professional organisation. This may include caring, teaching or nursing. It may also cover community/charity based supervised building/renovation projects or other Permitted Manual Work, provided the activity does not involve the use of plant/trade/industrial/agricultural machinery (other than tractors), non-domestic power tools or working at a height of over 2 metres.

(7) Note you must have the correct motorbike licence in your Country of Residence to drive a motorcycle or cover is not available. A helmet must be worn when riding a motorbike.

(8) Trekking over 4,600 metres exclude rock climbing at altitude. This is covered by Mountaineering in the Ultimate Pack. However, trekking will include peaks such as Mera Peak and Island Peak in Nepal, as these are treks and no mountaineering skills are required for these summits.

Please Note: The above list of activities is subject to the full policy terms and conditions which we suggest you read to ensure you are happy with the cover you elect to arrange.

Are you already travelling?

Can I take out this Insurance if I’m already abroad?

If you are normally a resident of the UK or an EEA Country and your insurance has run out, you may take out cover online with us for Single Trip policies. This is on the understanding that nothing has occurred at the time of taking out the cover which has led to a claim or may lead to a potential claim. Obviously, this insurance will not pay for your belongings if you’ve already lost them, medical bills if you’ve already incurred them or any other events known to exist at the time of arranging cover which might give rise to a subsequent claim. Note, purely as an anti-fraud measure, there is no cover in the first 48 hours after you’ve taken out your policy, except of course in the case where you suffer an injury as a result of an accident.

Please note if you are already travelling, you MUST select this option otherwise your Policy is not valid.

If I take out Insurance and get ill, where will I get repatriated to?

In the unlikely event of this happening, you will be repatriated back to your home country as long as the appropriate geographic premium has been paid and it has been agreed by the 24 hour Emergency Medical Assistance Service.

Please Note: The above FAQ’s are subject to the full policy terms and conditions which we suggest you read to ensure you are happy with the cover you elect to arrange.

Where do you normally live?

Please select one of the options of your Country of Permanent Residence. Please note we can only insure people who are permanent residents of the UK or another country in the EEA.

Your Country of Permanent Residence is the country where you:

  • Are a citizen or a legal permanent resident
  • Have access to medical care in that country through a National Health Insurance Scheme and/or private health insurance
  • Will be medically repatriated to for ongoing medical care if it’s necessary in the event you have a bad accident or becoming very ill on your trip
  • Have unrestricted and unconditional right of entry
  • Have a residential address

Please note, for British passport holders who have been travelling, living or working outside of the UK for more than 5 years consecutively, you are no longer entitled to NHS treatment, and so regrettably are not eligible for insurance with True Traveller. Those who hold private healthcare, may still be eligible.

Note if you have recently been travelling, we do not have any minimum residency requirements. This means, for example, if you are a British Passport holder and have right of abode in the UK, we are not concerned as to how many months in the past year you have been in the UK provided at the time of arranging this insurance you fulfil all the requirements as set out above.

Choosing your date

When selecting a start date for Multi-Trip policies please note that cancellation cover for any trips will not commence until the start date you choose, therefore the start date of your policy should not be the start of your holiday unless no cancellation cover is required.

Note that for Single Trip policies, cancellation cover is in place from the date you purchase your policy.

Travellers Ages

Please enter your age that you are today. For infants aged under 1, please enter 0 as the age.

Travelling To Caution

Please select where you are travelling to.

Residence Caution

Please choose your country of residence.

Blank Age Caution

Please enter your age.

Min Age Zero Caution

Age cannot be zero.

Caution - Age Check

You have entered the ages of all travellers as below 18 years of age. If this is a mistake please go back and correct this error so you can complete your application.

If the ages should all be under 18 years, please note to enter any sort of financial contract the individual purchasing the insurance must be 18 years of age or older.

By continuing, you are confirming that you a parent or legal guardian on behalf of the child to be insured.

Already travelling Caution

Please check already travelling checkbox.

Important Notice

We can offer travel insurance for you if you’ve left home and already travelling but only on the strict understanding that nothing has already happened which has led to a claim or may lead to a potential claim.

This means, for example, that if you have already lost an item of baggage, have already seen a medical professional or are feeling ill or have been injured and about to see a medical professional, then this policy will not pay for any part of any claim, and any claim attempted in such situations may be treated as fraud, which is a criminal offence.

To prevent fraudulent claims, cover will not commence until 48 hours after the policy has been purchased, and any illness or injury occurring in this waiting period will be considered a pre-existing condition and will not be covered. However, should you suffer a serious injury in an accident in this 48-hour period, which is verifiable by an Independent Witness, then you will be covered from the date cover commenced.

Note there is no 14-day cooling off period when already travelling overseas so NO REFUND of premium will be made in the event you cancel the policy.

Maximum duration Caution

Sorry, the maximum length of a policy you can have is limited to 366 days if you are 50 years or age or more. Please amend your End date to  in order to get a quote.

Please amend your end date accordingly, and remember it's always possible to extend cover with us even if you're still travelling at the end of this period.

Trip Type Maximum duration Caution

Sorry, the maximum length of a policy you can have is limited to 548 days (18 months). Please amend your End date to  in order to get a quote.

Please amend your end date accordingly, and remember it’s always possible to extend cover with us even if you’re still travelling at the end of this period.

Note: If you need 2 years cover, please change your destination to Worldwide including USA & Canada.

World Wide Trip Maximum duration Caution

Sorry, the maximum length of a policy you can have is limited to 731 days (24 months). Please amend your End date to  in order to get a quote.

Please amend your end date accordingly, and remember it’s always possible to extend cover with us even if you’re still travelling at the end of this period.

Maximum Advance Booking Caution

Sorry, you can only start a policy with a commencement date up to 364 days from today’s date, so please amend your start date.


Sorry, but since the majority of our insurances are for adventurous activities or for backpackers, the maximum age we are able to insure to is 65, as for our sort of business mix we’re unable to get rates from Underwriters for ages above this.

For residents of the UK, we recommend you telephone International Travel and Healthcare on Freephone 0800 848 8448 as they can insure persons aged 66 and above. You can also get an online quote by clicking here.

International Travel and Healthcare is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 433367).

Start Date Caution

Please select the travelling start date.

End Date Caution

Please select the travelling end date.

Important Notice

We have detected that you are using a computer which doesn't appear to be located in your Country of Permanent Residence.

Please be aware that you must choose the "Already Travelling" option on this page to ensure your policy is valid. Without the Already Travelling endorsement shown on your Policy, the policy is simply not valid and claims may be declined.

You may of course be purchasing this insurance for someone else, or you may be using a Corporate Internet routing through another country which we cannot detect, so if that is the case then please contact The True Traveller by telephone where one of our operators will be pleased to assist.

Start Date Caution

The start date of your insurance is in the past. Please correct the start date.

Cover for Coronavirus

All new True Traveller policies now include medical, cancellation and curtailment cover for Coronavirus, subject to there being no UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel warning for Coronavirus for the country or area you are travelling to.

If there is an FCO warning in place for Coronavirus, then your True Traveller policy has no cover for Coronavirus but will provide you with medical cover in relation to any other sudden unexpected illness or accident, as well as cancellation and curtailment cover for an event unrelated to Coronavirus.

For further information about the Coronavirus and your True Traveller policy, please click here.