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What Cover Can Backpackers Expect?

Hitch Hikers

Dear Essential Travel,
My 18 year old son is going travelling for a year before he goes to university. He doesn't have any fixed plans as yet (!) but he's talking about turning up at a ski resort in France and seeing if he can find himself a job before heading off to Thailand. It's all very exciting for him and like a typical parent I'm trying not to interfere but I was wondering - if he gets a job behind a bar, or does one of those short courses to become a ski instructor, will his backpacker insurance still cover him? Kate Stocks, Southampton

Phil Jordan, Essential Travel's Dir of Marketing & Web Content ... and Dad of two replies:

Dear Kate,
Thanks for your email. I can understand that a year's travelling is a wonderful adventure for your son - and an utterly nerve wracking prospect for you.

Not knowing what he's going to do next is part of the appeal of Gap Years, but naturally you want him to have a safety net. Although travel insurance isn't going to protect him from the reality of holiday work - poor pay, long hours, having to dress like a giant sandwich and hand out leaflets - as long as that work is listed within our backpackers remit (waiter and barman to fruit picker, shop assistant or "manny" - but nothing involving the use of power tools & machinery) then he'll be fully covered by a our standard backpacker policy. And if the idea of him doing adventure sports in far flung locations is keeping you up at night, a huge number of those - bungee jumping, camel riding, surfing etc... - are included in the standard policy too.

To get him thinking about the reality of a year travelling, get him to read through our useful Backpackers Tips, covering all the basics like planning, budgeting, safety etc... The rest is up to him! Good luck, and I hope you have fun deciding what colour to paint his old room.

Phil Jordan

For more backpacking wisdom, see this month's Essential Travel Tips.

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Last Updated: September 2008