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Do I Need Backpacker Travel Insurance in Australia?
To many, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a backpacking adventure. Be it six months, a year or more, its that window when the richness of life and living come together. Discover and apply, work and play are seamless activities to be treasured. Someday, they will be stories to be told and aspired to by future generations.
It's easier today than it has ever been to travel the world. Hopping on a plane has become as easy as taking a bus. The world has grown increasingly borderless as well with fewer countries requiring visas for long term stay. In fact, more countries now offer working holiday visas, which can help backpackers defray the cost of their travels and accommodation.
Away from the shackles of everyday life, backpacking is an exciting journey into the unknown. On the road less travelled, getting your feet wet into activities you've never done and placing yourself occasionally into the hands of strangers. Hopefully, you'll emerge from the adventure richer with a wider and deeper perspective of life and living. It has been said to achieve this, you can't let fear stand in your way. Cliquish as it may sound, you've got to just do it! Having said that, there is a difference between letting your adventurous spirit lead you versus being careless and frivolous. Be guided by Murphy's Law at the same time - "anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
When backpacking, there are a number of things that can go possibly awry. While you may have created an elaborate checklist, the reality is you can't predict or control everything. If any of them occur, the best outcome means you will not be held back in your backpacking adventure unless you've become immobile as a result. To this end, it should not be surprising that 4 out of 5 backpackers stated they purchase travel insurance (1). In this post, let's look at some common scenarios where you'll be glad to have travel insurance.
1. Lost or damaged property
Your personal and smart devices are essential. Be they your mobile phone, laptop or tablet, smartwatch, power bank or charger, they are your travel companions. From booking your accommodation to travel plans, these devices contribute towards the sanity of backpacking that can be impromptu and spontaneous. That's where the fun and adventure is. Unfortunately, there is always the risk of loss and damage. You need to treat this possibility as given on backpacking trips. But you can't be held back in your adventure by this worry. That's where travel insurance gives you the peace of mind.
It's not just for devices that keep you connected. It can include your other travel and adventure gear, for example, bicycles, surfboard, diving gear or ski equipment. They are pretty expensive items. Having them in good working order, or not lost, can be central to your trip. To avoid being too pre-occupied by caring for them, travel insurance comes in handy in the event Murphy's Law sets in.
2. Travel accidents
The volcano eruption in New Zealand is a reminder of accidents that can happen on holidays. It is a dangerous and unpredictable expedition to discover nature. There were casualties and fatalities. While some may be aware of the dangers, it was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to venture into a living volcano. As mentioned, fear should not get in the way of great backpacking experience. Unfortunately, tragedy struck.
Now, it may not be as traumatic as a volcanic eruption. Anyone who has crossed the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Mumbai or Mexico City will know you've just got to go and let vehicular traffic work around you. More often than not, it works out well for everyone. But there may be the odd incident.
When overseas, you are unlikely to be familiar with the health system. They do differ significantly from country to country, even cities in the same country. This lack of familiarity can add to the anxieties of a misfortune. Most travel insurances are activated immediately in such situations. The claims process can be quick and easy. You can avoid dipping into your own pockets to meet any medical or hospitalisation costs.
3. Cover against adventure related sports activities
Some of the best scuba diving and snow sports locations are waiting to be discovered. You'll probably 'run into them' as you allow your adventurous spirit roam freely on your backpacking trip. Clear, tranquil waters and snow-covered mountains are waiting to be conquered. The lack of universal safety standards, however, leaves you exposed to the hazards of an already dangerous sport. Whether you are an experienced or novice scuba diver or skier, accidents can happen. But don't let this worry stop you from giving it a go. Backpacking travel insurance policies do cover such activities. You'll feel free to jump, slalom or challenge the depth of the waters knowing you're covered.
4. Workplace hazards
Most backpackers work on their travels. From working on farms, supermarket packers to traffic management, the income earned help in financing the trip. It's a good way too to get to know the locals, their way of life and more of the places you're in. They are probably as memorable and treasured as the diving trips, bungee jumping or snowboarding.
The working conditions may not necessarily be ideal. An insect bite can lead to something more; reckless drivers on the road can make a simple traffic management job hazardous. It's good to be covered for such possibilities, in addition to the coverage taken by employers. After all, you can never be overly covered.
Backpacking quenches the thirst people have for the unknown. New experiences are enriching and widen one's perspectives on life. It's a huge world out there. Unlike your annual vacations, backpacking enables you to live the lives of the people and places you are at. Get the peace of mind to allow your adventure spirit to roam free with travel insurance.