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Cheap Gap Year Travel Destinations

Posted on March 09, 2017

One of the hardest parts of planning any gap year is saving and sticking to your budget. The last thing you want is to visit the first three countries on your list and then find you have no money to continue your trip! To help any backpackers on a budget, here are our top 10 cheap gap year destinations to ensure you can explore the world without breaking the bank.


One of Southeast Asia’s least developed and therefore cheapest countries, Cambodia has a lot to offer any traveller. Most people visit Cambodia just to see the beautiful temples of Angkor Wat, which is enough in itself, but Cambodia also offers some fantastic beaches and the cities of Battambang and Phnom Penh. However, the main thing all travellers to Cambodia really remember is the people. Cambodia has a rich and but turbulent history full of bloodshed, political upheaval and poverty, but the optimistic Cambodian spirit and culture remains strong, meaning that every visitor receives a warm welcome.


Budapest is quickly becoming one of the top European city break destinations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on a budget. Although prices in the city can be expensive, beyond the capital you can find quaint villages, rolling hills and the warm waters of Lake Balaton. Head back to the capital to wander the streets, take in the beautifully historic architecture and don’t forget to indulge in a thermal bath or two!


Backpackers can easily travel Mexico on around £21 per day – if you do your research and plan ahead. Hostels cost around £6 per day, and there is deliciously cheap street food on every corner to make sure you don’t go hungry! Budget conscious gap year travellers should avoid more expensive places like Cancun and Cabo, and instead opt for lesser known beach towns like Tulum, Zihuatenejo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Escondido to make their money go further.


Want a taste of Africa but don’t fancy/can’t afford the long flight? Then Morocco is the perfect destination for you. Morocco is just a quick and inexpensive ferry ride from Spain, making it easily accessible, plus it offers a network of cheap hostels and affordable riads. The best thing to do in Morocco is explore the markets, take in the culture and enjoy the beautiful architecture – making it a great budget destination. Make sure you save some budget for traditional souvenirs from the many souks (don’t forget to barter, the locals will expect it), plus coffees or mint tea while you people watch.


Number one on Lonely Planet’s Best Value 2017 Destination list, Nepal is finally getting back on its feet following the earthquake in 2015. Backpacking the Himalayas has always been a popular bucket list choice for Nepal, but places like Lumbini, Birgunj and Nepalgunj are also well worth a visit for beautiful temples and excellent trekking opportunities. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll get a warm welcome from tourists, who will be grateful for the income you’re bringing to the local community.


Ranked best value destination in the world by the Post Office’s 2017 Holiday Money Report, a basket of general holiday items (including drinks, sunscreen and insect repellent) would cost you £33.36 in Portugal, compared against £90.95 in France! For real value, head to the beautiful city of Porto which offers affordable flights, food and accommodation. During your trip ride the vintage trams, visit the inexpensive museums and make sure you book a cheap wine tasting and tour in one of the many wine caves.

South Africa

Featuring in ABTA’s top 10 ‘most watch’ destinations for 2017, South Africa really does offer something for everyone without breaking the budget. Despite the long haul flight, South Africa is relatively cheap to get to (if you shop around), plus costs for thinks like food and accommodation are very affordable. This will free up some budget for the amazing array of activities you can choose from, think surfing, jungle trekking, safaris and shark diving! Again, make sure you shop around to find properly licenced companies who offer fair prices.


There is a reason Thailand is one of the most popular Backpacker and Gap Year destinations each year, it offers beautiful temples, cheap food and drink, jungles, amazing sky bars and world-famous parties. There are parts of the Thailand which have become extremely tourists, and where tourists go the prices will naturally increase, so make sure you arrange a mix of experiences (e.g. a locally run jungle trek and full moon parties) to tick everything off your list and save budget.

The Philippines

Much like Thailand, there are parts of the Philippines which are more touristy and expensive, but there are also parts any budget gap year traveller can visit. Palawan, for example, has beautifully diverse landscapes to explore, and amazing opportunities for beach hopping, snorkelling and cave exploring. Unlike the more popular Boracay, Palawan is not a party island, meaning you can fill your evenings with relaxed conversation and cheap beer, rather than expensive bars or clubs.


Another ABTA ‘must watch’ destination, Vietnam is widely considered one of the cheapest destinations in the world, for example, in Hanoi you can buy freshly tapped beer from street vendors for as little as 10 cents! The street food is also amazing, and a great way to save money on food. You may find better beaches in Thailand, but Vietnam’s countryside and cities have a lot to offer, not to mention the breathtakingly beautiful bays. The country is steeped in history, so make sure you book a tour or two – booking locally will probably save you money.

Further Reading

Most Common Travel Misconceptions

Posted on March 21, 2016

Travelling is often shrouded in misinformation and unfortunately this can lead to people being put off visiting certain places, or travelling altogether.

A lot of the confusion around travelling comes from stories and hearsay from travellers who have had bad experiences. While it’s unfortunate when travellers run into problems, it is not usually a true representation of the destination or type of trip they are on.

To help put some of the most common travel misconceptions to rest, we have made a handy little list for you.

I can’t afford a holiday

How many times have you said this? It’s easy to get into the frame of mind that a holiday will cost thousands of pounds and is simply out of your reach, but this doesn’t need to be the case.

Holiday companies fight tooth and nail for your business and thanks to the fierce competition prices are often slashed to attract customers. This means you should keep your eyes open for great deals as you can pick up a bargain.

It’s always good to remember that a holiday doesn’t need to be an all expenses trip to a luxurious island somewhere; some of the best holidays are those where the experience is much more important. Low cost holidays such as backpacking are a great way to see the world without it costing the world.


Travelling alone is unsafe

While there are some obvious destinations which you should avoid when planning your holiday, traveling alone is not something which is dangerous if you are sensible. Backpacking is popular with solo travellers, giving them the freedom of exploring at their own pace while having the option of meeting fellow travellers in the numerous hostels and accommodation offered to backpackers.

If you are travelling alone it is advisable to tell someone where you are heading and provide rough dates of when you plan to arrive at each stop. This will help your friends or family track where you are and ensure that someone can be alerted should you not check in or get in contact due to an emergency.

Backpacker Grand Canyon

Eating local food will make you sick

One of the most common misconceptions you will hear about travelling abroad (specifically India or Asia) is that if you eat the local food you will come down with some kind of sickness. This is obviously not the case. Often eating the local food is better prepared, fresher and much safer than eating any western equivalents they offer.

The only exception is the water in some countries may not be as clean as it is in the west, it is advised that you use bottled water for drinking to avoid any nasty bugs.

Don’t be afraid to buy food from the local street vendors and stalls. Look for the ones which are busy and used by locals as this will generally mean they supply the best quality.

Street food seller on a bicycle in front of Victory Gate Patuxai

Travel insurance is a waste of money

Ok so we may be biased here, but travel insurance is something which is hugely important when planning your trip. While you may be tempted to leave it out to cut costs, not having sufficient cover is something which could set you back a considerable amount.

When travelling outside of the UK you leave behind the benefits of the NHS, so any form of medical treatment no matter how small is probably going to cost you.

Some types of holidays obviously pose a significantly higher risk of injury, with skiing and snowboarding for example, specific winter sports insurance is required to cover the increased risk of injury.

Don’t let anything get in the way of enjoying a well-deserved break, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Be sure to check our Tips & Advice section for all your travel information needs.

Gadgets Every Backpacker Needs

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Every Backpacker knows that you need to pack as little as possible when commencing a trip, so the things you pack must be essential. Below is our list of the gear and gadgets every Backpacker needs to invest in. Some are absolutely invaluable and some could potentially save your life.

Backpacker Grand Canyon

  • A bottle which will filter the bacteria out of your water. This will save you a lot of time and bother. No one wants to spend the night on the bathroom floor after a sip of water.
  • A quality travel charger. Carrying around separate chargers for your phone, camera, laptop etc. is just not feasible. Investing in a solar powered charger will also help when you are on the move.
  • Locks for you backpack and laptop. If you can, always put your valuables in a safe, but you should also invest in quality locks. You can buy locks that stick into your laptop’s USB port to prevent theft.
  • A multipurpose pocket tool kit. The benefits of owning one of these are too numerous to mention, they can save you a lot of time and energy. Just remember not to carry them in your hand luggage if you’re flying.
  • A quality backpack. Depending on your budget you could invest in a water proof backpack or a solar powered backpack. Just remember it must be comfortable, durable and lightweight.
  • A decent camera. Every traveller wants to document their adventures, just remember to invest in one that has a good zoom, a decent megapixel count, and is durable. You could even get a water proof camera for underwater shots.
  • A decent blanket. This may sound unnecessary but when you are sleeping on an uncomfortable bed in a hostel, or trying to sleep on a crowded plane, this will prove invaluable. Make sure it is hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial. You could even buy a blanket made of natural material, such as bamboo, to help the environment.
  • A travel pillow. Again this will be invaluable when you are on long journeys or trying to get comfortable.
  • Everyone has iPods and smart phones nowadays. If you are planning to travel in a group or make friends along the way, then investing in a headphone splitter is a great way to share entertainment and bond.
  • An electronic translator is brilliant when travelling. It saves a lot of time panicking and trying to flick through a phrase book.

10 Essential Items for Backpackers to Pack

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There are countless blogs telling you how to pack your bag and how to think smart about the things you pack. You have probably read more times than you care to remember that you need to strip back your packing list and reduce the amount you originally planned to take, but what are the essential items you simply can’t leave without?

Backpacker Tourist

Sleeping Bag Liner

It goes without saying that you need a sleeping bag, but a liner is an ideal addition to your sleeping kit. Some of the options you get for bedding when you’re on your travels leave a lot to be desired and you’ll be grateful for the extra protection from your liner. It’ll also give you a boost of warmth, which can be ideal for camping or to see you through cooler nights.

First aid kit

Any smart traveller should carry a first aid kit with them absolutely everywhere. You just never know when you might need one and sterile items can be few and far between when you’re on your travels. As well as the usual suspects of plasters and bandages, you should also include some rehydration sachets and water treatment tablets.


Your kit will be left in lockers and unattended at various times during your trip, so a sturdy lock is well worth the investment. Keeping your pack locked away in a safety deposit box is an even more secure option when you add your own lock to it. Similarly, you might want to lock up your bag itself as well, just to be on the safe side.

Insect repellent

You never know what sort of bugs are going to think you taste good, so make sure you have a good insect repellent in your bag, particularly one that will repel mosquitoes. Remember that mosquitoes can carry malaria, so you need to ensure you’ve taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Shop around to find one that works best for you and ask other people who have already travelled what they would personally recommend.


You never know when you might have to get up in the night or try and find your way to your bus in the dark, so make sure you have a torch with you at all times. If you are sharing a room in a hostel, the last thing you want to do is wake everyone else up by turning the light on to find something; a head torch is ideal if you need to keep your hands free.

Plug Adaptors

You are likely going to be travelling to a number of different destinations with varying plug sockets, so make sure you have a couple of adaptors with you. They are probably going to be cheaper to buy before you go and will let you charge your phone, camera and any other electricals you need along the way.

Anti-Bacterial Gel

You will come into contact with some rather unsanitary surfaces on your travels, so make sure you have a bottle of anti-bacterial gel with you wherever you go. Use it before you eat anything and after you’ve used the bathroom, just in case there is no soap to hand. It’s handy to have a couple of bottles attached to your bag, so you have enough to see you through your whole trip.


Having a little penknife on you can be a lifesaver. You need to ensure you don’t try and get through customs with it because it could be classified as a weapon, but having a multi-tool Swiss army knife is incredibly useful. You can mend things with it, cut things and even use it to open food items and other objects. Make sure you have one that has a pair of scissors on it; you’ll lose count of the amount of times you need them.

Travel Towel

You may not be surprised to read that most hostels don’t offer towels with their amenities, so you will need to pack one in your backpack. A proper travel town is made of super absorbent material, letting it dry you quickly, but also meaning it dries itself at a rapid pace as well. They don’t go mouldy, some of them have an anti-bacterial coating and they can also be packed up into a very small space, giving you valuable room in your bag.

Ear Plugs

You might head off on your travels full of good intentions to party until dawn every day, but there will be times when you really want to sleep. Plane hopping and sitting on buses all day will start to take its toll, to the point where the slightest noise will disrupt your sleep. Pack a few pairs of reusable earplugs and drift off to sleep whenever you need to.

You will of course need to pack all the other essentials like clothes, passport, money and various electricals, but the list above will ensure your travelling experience is much easier and more enjoyable. Happy holidays!

Backpacking Checklist

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Planning a gap year or backpacking trip can be a huge task, especially if you want to travel to several different countries. There’s so much to consider, from where you’re going to stay to what to take with you. That’s why we’ve created this backpacking checklist – it contains everything you need to do before you leave, so you can tick off each task as you go along.

Decide where you want to go

The world is your oyster when you’re backpacking; you can go wherever you want! If you’re having trouble deciding, though, here are ten of the most popular backpacking destinations:

  • Thailand, Southeast Asia


Thailand is known as ‘the land of smiles’ and is a stunning place to go backpacking. Everything is very cheap here too, so it’s no wonder it’s at the top of many adventurer’s lists.

  • Australia


The beautiful weather and the amazing wildlife in Australia are big draws for many backpackers, but the fact everybody speaks English is another plus. You’re unlikely to experience much of a culture shock in Australia, since the country is similar to the UK in many ways.

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands


Holland is a really laid-back country, with Amsterdam its most chilled out city. Exploring is a calming experience too, as there are few hills to climb – just many canals to enjoy! Walk through the city and countryside with ease, meeting some incredibly friendly people along the way.

  • Prague, Czech Republic


The capital of the Czech Republic is a beautiful city filled with impressive historical buildings. Like Amsterdam, it’s the perfect location to go backpacking if you don’t want to travel too far from home. While you’re in the Czech Republic, why not visit the Budweiser Budvar Brewery?

  • Nicaragua, Central America

Nicaragua, Central America

Nicaragua has everything a backpacker needs – gorgeous beaches, cheap hostels and funky jazz bars. Take some time to soak up the colonial towns and admire the spectacular architecture.

  • Morocco, North Africa

Morocco, North Africa

One of the most diverse countries in Africa, you’ll likely spend your time in Morocco exploring medina cities, braving the desert, climbing the incredible mountains and eating your body weight in lamb and couscous. Sounds good to us!

  • India, South Asia

India, South Asia

Backpacking on a budget but still want to experience an unfamiliar culture? India could be the perfect location. Getting around the country is cheap, but you’ll need to be prepared for the bumpy roads and crowded trains!

  • Greece, Europe

Greece, Europe

While many parts of Greece are considered rather ‘touristy’ and are overrun with visitors in the summer, the fantastic climate and fascinating history make it a timeless backpacking destination.

  • Nepal, South Asia

Nepal, South Asia

For temples and mountains head to Nepal – you could try and climb to Everest base camp, ride an elephant through the jungle, or tour the country’s various villages. If you have time, why not do it all?

  • Guatemala, Central America

Guatemala, Central America

Another Central American country, Guatemala is a cheaper alternative to popular and expensive Mexico. We highly recommend taking the time to learn the language, which you can do in one of the many Spanish schools in the north of the country and in Antigua. What a fantastic thing to put on your CV!

Of course, you don’t have to travel to the destinations every other backpacker is going to – we very much encourage you to explore somewhere out of the ordinary. Just make sure you research the country before you go. You can do this by:

  • Speaking to a family member or friend who has been there before
  • Buying a quality guidebook and deciding which cities/towns/villages/areas you wish to visit
  • Reading travel blogs about others’ experiences, and joining a forum to get advice from fellow backpackers

Research local customs

A little bit of research can save you an enormous amount of embarrassment and money. No one wants to spend their gap year in a foreign prison or having to cut their journey short because they accidentally broke the law or offended the locals.

Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • While women may be able to sunbathe topless throughout most of Europe, it is not acceptable in most Indian and Arabic countries, as well as some parts of the USA
  • Sex in public is illegal in most countries and is punishable by imprisonment and a hefty fine in some
  • Mooning or streaking on holiday can result in arrest and a fine
  • Displays of homosexuality are banned in many countries, including Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, St Lucia and Papua New Guinea, to name a few

Please check the laws and culture of the country or countries you plan to backpack in before you go using the GOV.UK website. If you don’t agree with the laws of that destination, then it’s best to leave it off of your itinerary.

How to pack light

Once you’ve decided where you want to go, it’s time to plan what you’re going to take with you! Remember, it’s called a backpacking holiday for a reason – you’ll be carrying everything on your back for the entire trip. That’s why it’s wise to pack light.


Here’s some lightweight but essential items that should be included on your backpacking checklist:

  • Bathing suit
  • Sarong/something to cover you up on the beach
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera (or smartphone if that’s what you’ll use for photos)
  • Compact travel binoculars
  • Earplugs
  • Mini first aid kit (should contain plasters, antibiotic ointment and bandages at the very least)
  • Guidebook(s) and relevant maps
  • Travel pillow
  • List of important emergency phone numbers
  • Money belt
  • Insect repellent and anti-itch remedy
  • Notebook and pen
  • Natural sleep aid products
  • Photocopies of all important travel documents (including your passport)
  • Plastic bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Prescription drugs (if you need them) stored in their original containers with a copy of your prescription
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen and after-sun
  • Travel health insurance documents
  • Small but secure padlocks
  • Compact flashlight
  • Phrase book
  • Toiletry bag with all your essentials
  • Travel umbrella
  • Vitamins
  • Wipes
  • Waterproof tote sack
  • Travel raincoat/poncho
  • Travel clock with alarm
  • Money/traveller’s cheques

Visa and passports

If you’re travelling outside of Europe, you will most likely need entry visas for the countries you’re visiting. Make sure you have the correct ones before you go, otherwise you could be turned back at passport control – and this can be very expensive, as well as disappointing.

Planning to top up your travelling fund by working during your gap year? Then double-check to see if you require work permits. Working illegally can result in severe penalties, including deportation.

Overstaying your visa could also result in fines or imprisonment. You can extend it in some countries, so again, look into this before you go.

When you arrive


We want you to stay safe during your backpacking adventure, so here are some final tips on how to stay out of trouble once you arrive at your destination:

  • Book accommodation in advance for your first night away, as this is when you will be at your most vulnerable
  • Make sure you know how to get back to your accommodation, especially if you go out at night. Some hotels and hostels will give you a card to help you with this
  • Try not to look like a tourist. Dress sensibly and have respect for the local customs and dress codes; that way, you won’t cause offense nor become a target for thieves
  • If you need to change money, only use banks or legal foreign exchange bureaus, otherwise you risk being given fake currency. Keep a receipt of all money exchanges
  • Be cautious about hitchhiking – it’s always best to travel in pairs. Remember that some drivers may expect payment
  • Always carry a first aid kit with you, especially if you’re travelling to somewhere off the beaten track
  • Save important information to your email account, including your passport number, travel insurance policy, etc. so they can be easily accessed at all times
  • Always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back if you’re travelling alone

Hopefully our backpacking checklist should help you plan for your incredible gap year or escape away. Just don’t forget to purchase backpacker travel insurance before you go. It won’t get you out of prison, but it will cover you should you have an accident or fall ill during your trip and much, much more.

Any questions? Then please get in touch – we’re happy to help!

Top 10 Adventure Holiday Ideas

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Are you bored of the more standard and ordinary holidays? Are you desperate to step out of your comfort zone and experience something interesting or heart pounding? If so then an adventure holiday may be for you. Travelling in search of adventure is great for anyone who likes a challenge, craves adrenaline, or people who simply can’t sit still on holiday.

There are some amazing adventure activities available for every type of person and holiday, whether you are organising your entire trip around a search for excitement, or simply planning to try something new whilst abroad.

Going on an adventure holiday is an amazing chance to experience another culture, travel further afield than you normally might, increase your confidence, and create some amazing memories. Below we have listed our top ten recommendations for adrenaline junkie holidays.

1. Swimming with Sharks in South Africa

Swimming with sharks is on quite a lot of people’s bucket lists so what better place to do it than in sunny South Africa? There are many companies that you can shark dive with (of course in safe cages), but it is best to ensure you’re doing it with someone qualified.

Typically you’ll be taken out on a boat into the sea which will be anchored in a safe spot. The crew will then start attracting sharks using food mixes. Once lowered into the cage you will be able to experience a thrilling encounter with Great Whites – photographs are allowed once it is safe to do so.

Shark Cage Diving

2. Climbing Mount Everest

Climbing Mount Everest is one of the greatest experiences you can take on in your life. However, it is also extremely dangerous. Whilst being able to say that you have climbed Everest is very impressive, you should take into consideration the conditions you will be facing.

People have lost their lives climbing the mountain, while many more have scaled it successfully. You should ensure that you have all the right equipment with you including appropriate boots and clothing. On the way up you will find campsites in several places, with a choice between the North or South routes to take. We only recommend trying this with an arranged expedition and after undergoing significant training.

You could always just trek to base camp!

Mount Everest signpost Himalayas

Everest Travel Insurance

We specialise in niche travel insurance policies and cover Everest as a separate sporting activity. See what is covered in our Everest travel insurance policy.

3. Heli-skiing in Switzerland

Heli-skiing is where you are taken to a high point on a mountain side by helicopter and then ski down. This is a more glamourous way of skiing, you don’t have to trek to the top and you get to enjoy some breath-taking views along the way.

Take advantage of the peace and tranquillity with barely anyone else in sight other than your guide! However, we recommend that you have some skiing experience before taking on these slopes.

Heli-skiing prices vary depending on where you’re looking to go. Trips can be between €200 to €3,000 depending on the area and the amount of people that are in your group.

Heli Skiing Helicopter

4. Mountain Biking in Asia

While mountain biking may sound like a standard activity, it really is the scene and setting that makes it come alive. With so many places to explore, Asia is a great place to view via bicycle. Choose what sights you would like to see, for example the Great Wall of China or the Hunza Valley, and find the nearest bike rental shop.

Make sure you stay safe with a helmet and take a map with you so you can visit all the sights along the way.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking travel insurance

Might not be the first thing you think about when stunning views like the one above are on offer, but it’s important to make sure your insurance provider covers you for any activity you undertake.

We specialise in niche insurance policies, see what our mountain biking travel insurance policies covers you for.

5. Travelling Route 66 by Motorbike in the USA

Route 66 is the ultimate road trip and what better way to experience it than on a Harley Davidson? Take a journey along the famous route, stopping off at your chosen locations along the way. Gamble in Las Vegas, explore the city of LA, and visit the Grand Canyon.

Take advantage of the amazing weather and experience the great outdoors to the sound of a roaring motorcycle. These are readily available for hire when you reach America. However you can also book yourself onto a guided tour where you will feel like you’re in a movie amongst a crowd of bikers.

Route 66

6. Bungee Jumping in Australia

There are many places in Australia where you can partake in a bungee jump, but Cairns is the most popular. Surrounded by tropical trees and a warm climate, it’ll feel like you’re in the jungle. At the top of the tower you will be able to see incredible views such as the Great Barrier Reef, making the jump completely worth it on its own.

Take a leap, spread your arms out wide and scream as loud as you can! Although it may seem scary at the time, it’ll be something you’ll remember forever with an adrenaline rush like no other.

Bungee jumping

7. Sky Diving in Dubai

Doing a sky dive in Dubai is a must for any adrenaline junkie. Jump out of a plane and travel at speeds of up to 130mph while freefalling. Then sit back, relax and take in the views from over the city. If you’re looking for something really special then do your skydive with Skydive Dubai as their drop point is over The Palm, giving you incredible photos and even more to look at on your descent.


8. Going on Safari in Kenya

If you are an animal-lover, Kenya is the perfect place for you. With so many safaris to choose from it can be difficult to pick the right one for you. To play it safe, why not book the Masai Mara National Reserve?

Spend your days on safari and see wild animals in their natural habit. Here you’ll see elephants, giraffes, gazelles, zebras, and much more! Take photos you’ll never forget and soak up the sun on your way around. You can choose from a series of accommodation options, including lodges to make you feel right at home with nature.


Safari travel insurance

Going on safari is a trip of a life time, make sure that you’re covered before you go with specialist safari travel insurance.

9. Scuba Diving in Turkey

Kas in Turkey has been ranked in the top 100 diving destinations throughout the globe. It is a popular destination for tourists and professionals alike thanks to its large amount of underwater wildlife and the clear waters. You’ll be able to see fish such as barracuda, garfish, and ray here as well as other common smaller fish.

There are many diving operators in Turkey, with equipment hire, training sessions and group dives operating across a majority of them.

Scuba Diver

10. Rock Climbing in Spain

Spain is great for rock climbing all year around. During the summer you want somewhere that has a higher rainfall so that the temperatures are right and the altitude is apt. Throughout this season the Pyrennes or Asturias are your top choices as the conditions are ideal. In the winter you will find that most places such as Costa Blanca, Madrid, and Catalonia are perfect!

The Boulder Albarracin near Valencia is a popular destination for climbers, if you are experienced you can take your own equipment or join a group in order to partake safely.

Rock climbing

Just remember, if you’re going to be daring on your holiday then you need to prepare for every eventuality – don’t travel without investing in quality travel insurance which covers your chosen activity. Without adequate cover you could find yourself with enormous bills if you become ill or injured, or if you lose your vital possessions abroad.

Choosing A Backpacker Destination

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Choosing a destination is the single most important decision you will make throughout your entire backpacking adventure. The destination sets the tone for the entire trip, it dictates the types of experiences you will have and where you could possibly travel to next. For example, travelling in Europe will be extremely different to a trip around Asia.


When considering this, there are some extremely important choices that must factor into your decision, these include;

  • Research! It seems obvious but you must research the areas you are thinking about visiting. You need to know how expensive it is to stay there (will your budget stretch or should you consider somewhere where food and accommodation are cheaper?), does the culture or history interest you? Is the country safe to visit? (You can check by clicking here ). You could do research on the internet or invest in a good guide book.
  • Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? If there is then you need to make this part of your plan – when will you have a chance to travel like this again?
  • Look at travel blogs and forums to see if people have enjoyed their time in your chosen location, or if anyone has had bad experiences. Recommendations from other backpackers and travellers are always the most reliable.
  • Ask yourself what do you want to get out of the trip; do you want to help a charity project? To do something that will improve your CV/chosen career path? To experience exotic cultures? Do you just want to relax and have a great social life? Once you have answered these questions you can start to research destinations and projects which cater to your requirements.
  • Do you want to travel to several countries or experience everything one place has to offer? Once you have answered this question you can plan your budget and route accordingly.
  • The length of time you have to travel is also an important factor. You need to be practical and make a realistic plan of what you could fit into that time frame.
  • Make sure you plan your trip around the seasons and the time of the year, for example if you’re planning to visit India, then you want to miss monsoon season, but you might want to plan your trip around seeing the amazing Festival of Colours.
  • The final part of planning must be to check that your travel insurance is valid for all the places you want to visit – if it’s not then you may face enormous bills if you need medical treatment, or if you lose your vital travel documents or possessions abroad.

Expert Advice for Active Travellers and Backpackers

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Every year, millions of individuals embark on exciting around the world backpacking holidays; visiting a must-see destinations and participating in new activities. While people of all ages enjoy this form of low-cost, independent travel, it is especially popular with those in their late teens and early twenties.

Ideal for students as a gap year around university, before the responsibilities of later life arrive such as mortgages and an established career, others simply wish to escape the stresses and strains of the working world. Backpacking offers the freedom from pressures of everyday life, with the chance to explore new terrain and enjoy each day bringing something different.

Regardless of the reasons for travel, whilst still on home soil the prospect of travelling around a foreign nation on an extended trip can seem particularly daunting. Being prepared in advance is the key to a stress-free experience, so to help we have amassed the best expert advice to assist you on your backpacking journey.

Backpacker Couple

Am I covered for any extreme sports or impromptu activities?

Part of the thrill of backpacking is taking part in once-in-a-lifetime activities you wouldn’t normally do at home. If you’re visiting Rotorua in New Zealand – the home of extreme adventure pursuits – then you’ll be daft not to give something thrilling a go. However before you go on a bungee swoop or throw yourself out of a plane it’s essential to make sure your insurance package covers you, just in case the worst does happen.

Holidaysafe’s Activity Pack One covers you for over 100 different sports and activities as standard. This includes some of the most popular backpacking hot spots and enterprises such as surfing, climbing the Sydney harbour Bridge, swimming with dolphins and abseiling.

More extreme activities are covered in Packs Two, Three and Four, these packs include cover for all of the basic activities included in Pack One, plus more extreme activities such as shark cage diving and sky diving. It’s worth taking the time to think about what activities you may want to do before you leave, or ensure you call your insurer and extend your cover during your trip.


Swooping about in the waves on the sea or taking a lazy paddle down a river is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and even work on those muscles, however your cover will depend on the type of water you’re venturing out on to. Pack One will cover you for up to grade 2 rivers as standard. If you wish to undertake kayaking in grade three rivers or in-land waters you will need the Pack Two bolt on to cover you.

Bungee jumping

A popular one on the bucket list, especially for those with a ticket to Australia or New Zealand, this is perhaps surprisingly classed as a relatively low-risk activity and will be covered as standard in Pack One. Always make sure before undertaking any bungee jumps, swoops or other extreme sports that the company is operating with all the necessary safety equipment and has policies in place.


For those hitting the slopes, perhaps in Canada or Europe, it’s definitely a must to ensure you have the right cover. Snowboarding is covered in Pack Two for a small additional premium.


Can I get insured before I know where I’m staying?

Yes you can, we understand that many backpackers won’t have 6 months’ worth of accommodation booked before they leave the UK, so that is not a problem at all.

Most people wait to buy their insurance until they have paid for their travel and/or accommodation (or at least paid the deposit), as until that point there isn’t really anything to insure. Once you have paid any money towards your trip, (whether you’ve just booked your flights or you’ve booked a package deal,) you should immediately purchase travel insurance to protect your pre-paid costs against cancellation.


Is it too late to add extreme sports to my existing policy?

If you decide to add on extreme sports to your policy then you can simply call us at any time during your trip to add the necessary cover. Bear in mind that if you think it likely you will want to try some adrenaline junkie experiences then it can be an excellent idea to get the complete cover sorted before you go. Preparing for any eventuality will save hassle, allowing you to enjoy your trip fuss-free.

Bungee jumping

Is my policy still valid or transferable if my visa is declined?

When planning a trip it is vital to check if any permissions, such as visas, are needed to enter the country. These will also detail whether you are permitted to work or study and how long you may stay.

If you’re travelling around Europe then from 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it. Farther flung countries such as India often need visas and this process must be started before you leave. It can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process so getting this organised ahead of time is a must. When visiting America an ESTA must be completed, unless you are planning to work in which case a visa may be applicable. These rules and regulation can change so make sure to check the up to date advice for specific countries. This handy widget can help. Visas can also have a consequence on your insurance cover. If you are unable to go on your trip as planned because you failed to obtain the required visa or ESTA in time then we will not pay for you to cancel the trip.


What if I am injured during a trip with no fixed end date? What is covered/how long?

It’s understandable that not all backpackers know the exact length of time they will be away, after all this flexibility is part of the fun of the trip. Whilst Holidaysafe doesn’t need an end date in order to cover you, we can only cover you for a trip up to a maximum 24 months. In the event that you do need to make a claim on a trip without an end date then we will ask you to provide written evidence that you do intend to return to the UK. This could be a letter from an employer confirming you are on a sabbatical, a university place, a doctor’s appointment, plus many more examples.

Medical Center

Is hired equipment covered under my insurance policy?

Under our backpacker range, equipment would not be covered, as there is no section covering equipment under the policy. When you hire equipment abroad, you will usually be asked to take out a small insurance package against damage and similar events, so ensure you use a reputable firm and purchase this additional cover when offered.

Pair of cross skis

If I’m injured, will I be provided return transportation if I can’t afford it?

If you get injured whilst abroad we’ll make sure you’re able to return home as soon as possible. Our Backpacker range covers you for the event of repatriation – up to £10 million. Our medical assistance service team will liaise with you to make sure you get home safely and that any additional costs are approved and covered.

It is important to note however that the policy will only cover you to come home early if medical treatment is not available locally, or if you cannot continue the trip due to injury or illness. If you need to stay a little longer to recover, we’ll automatically extend your cover until you are well enough to fly. Just make sure in the event of an incident to speak to our specialist team.


How long does it take for remuneration of costs by insurance?

This will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of the claim, the complexity of the circumstances involved, the information on your claim form and even the time of year. To try and make the claims department’s job easier, try to include as much information as possible in your claim form or in a covering letter, and ensure you have provided all evidence on the checklist. This will hopefully prevent the team from contacting you to request more information, and slowing the process down.


Can technology and gadgets be replaced to my location or only when I return?

There is no cover for electrical items and photographic equipment under Holiday Safe Backpacker and Backpacker Plus policies. If your gadgets are lost or stolen whilst travelling then unfortunately they will not be covered on these policies. However, gadgets are covered as standard on our Longstay and Longstay Plus policies, so consider upgrading your cover. We would not usually replace the items for you, but would give you a cash settlement minus your policy excess and wear & tear.

Backpacker Grand Canyon

Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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