This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Let’s talk about what could be the most important piece of gear you take on your adventure. It’s called travel insurance.

Now I realize this isn’t a topic that revs most travelers up. When you’re buying your trip gear, you’re not posting to Instagram saying, “Check out my sweet new travel insurance! It’s awesome AF!”

But believe me, if something goes wrong and you actually NEED your travel insurance, you will be loving it more than all your gear combined.

Why I always carry travel insurance

adventure travel insurance

In Rome with my broken arm

Many people skip travel insurance because they figure things will probably be fine. And in most cases, they’re right. (Which makes it easy to get into the habit of NEVER buying travel insurance.)

However, it’s also not unusual for travel plans to go off the rails — especially when you’re traveling to adventurous and off-the-beaten path destinations.

Here are some travel mishaps I’ve experienced in the past few years:

  • Three days before leaving for a backpacking trip to Canada, I fell on a glass bottle and severely injured my hand. Because I hadn’t bought travel insurance, I ended up eating the cost of my flight, permit, and some of the accommodations. (Total losses: $600.)
  • While hiking in Italy, I fell down a hill and broke my arm. The fracture was stable, and I was able to walk out to the trailhead (2.5 hours) on my own. But if I’d needed to be evacuated, the cost would have been much higher (as much as $30,000 for a helicopter evacuation).
  • The day I was supposed to fly to Bolivia for a mountaineering trip, a hurricane closed the Miami airport where we’d planned to connect. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule our flight 9 days later, and our tour company was able to accommodate the date change. But if things hadn’t worked out, we would have had to cancel our trip. (Potential losses: $4,000.)
  • As I write this, I’m scheduled to go on a mountaineering trip to Ecuador in six weeks. However, I’m dealing with some family health issues that might keep me in the States. (Potential losses: $2,500.)

The moral of the story: shit happens, and it doesn’t pause for travel.

And if it happens, that travel insurance policy is going to look like money well spent!

travel insurance, adventure travel, adventure sports

How I buy travel insurance

If you’re taking a hiking or mountaineering vacation, even in your home country, I highly recommend that your purchase reliable travel insurance coverage.

Your policy should cover any adventure sports you will be participating in. (Some travel insurance policies exclude losses sustained during certain activities, so always read the details carefully!)

Since 2012, I’ve been using to cover my adventure travel. Some things I love about them:

  • Highly affordable, even for someone who is into riskier destinations and activities.
  • Available to people from 140 countries.
  • Designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
  • Policies are written in simple language and very transparent, no jargon or weasel wording.
  • You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. (Great news if you’re reading this from basecamp.) You can also easily extend your policy if plans change.
  • Friendly, accessible customer service that is fast to answer your questions.

Curious? Fill out the form below and instantly get a free quote for your next trip.

7 things you should know about travel insurance from

Here are some additional benefits of buying coverage through (in the company’s own words).

1. Trusted reliable underwriters is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24-hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.

2. Value for money with the cover you need provides cover for what’s important for travelers from 140 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.

3. Flexibility when you need it most

Had a change of plans? You can buy more cover or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already traveling.

4. Cover for a range of adventure activities

From skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.

5. World Nomads keeps you traveling safely

All members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.

6. More than just great value travel insurance

All members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.

7. Commitment to exceptional customer service

We want to make sure you get the most from You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact directly.

So that’s my take on adventure travel insurance.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to make a claim. But I definitely recommend picking up at least basic coverage for your financial protection and peace of mind!

miss adventure pants, how to train for high altitude hiking at sea level

Originally published Oct. 1, 2018.