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(Not so) hidden expenses

31 August 2009 438 views No Comment

When we were originally planning on the round the world trip we knew it wasn’t going to be the cheapest of adventures but we assumed that the biggest expense would be purchasing the tickets.

We soon realised that there were lots of other expenses that we hadn’t given much thought to.  One of these expenses was travel insurance.  I suspected that travel insurance wasn’t going to be as cheap as the £15 single trip insurance that you got down the Post Office.  Because we are planning on being away for a year we were going to be needing a slightly more specialist “Backpackers” insurance.  This insurance would cover us for a full year and would also cover us for a range of common activities that backpackers get up to, such as white-water rafting, scuba-diving, surfing, jet-skiing, bungee-jumping etc.

Obviously insurance is something that you shouldn’t cut corners on so I set out to investigate the best options out there for getting insured.  I browsed through Lonely Planets Thorn Tree forums to see what the well travelled community there would recommend.  Names such as World Nomads, Insure and Go, Columbus Direct and Worldwide Insure would appear frequently.  I set out over the weekend to suss out the best option for me.

After a few searches I soon realised that insurance wasn’t exactly cheap, with most quotes coming in around the £300-£350 mark.  Some websites were a bit cryptic  when it came to detailing some of the finer details of what was covered.  Some of the websites also made you manually select every activity that you were thinking of doing during the trip.  I find it hard to believe that anybody would know exactly what activities they were planning on doing when they were away.  Part of the adventure is doing something on a whim and just going for it.  By the time I’d selected every activity that I thought I might be doing, one company threw a quote of £1250 at me!

Out of all the sites I checked, World Nomads seemed to make the most sense in terms of what exactly they cover.  Their website was also reassuringly easy to use and give you options of choosing different “levels” of activities cover.  It was also easy to see what each additional level of cover offered you in terms of activities.  From what I could see, Level 1 covered most activities that I want to do with the exception of Scuba Diving, which was covered under level 2.  Scuba Diving is a must on my to-do list for when we are away, especially because I went through the expense of getting qualified (that’s one for another blog).  I chose Level 2 and also added separate insurance for the camera that I bought and got a quote for £405.  This was a little over what I wanted to spend but the quote included extensive coverage.

Before I was satisfied that I was getting the best deal so I decided to look up reviews on Thorn Tree and Google.  Reviews we all generally favourable.  Unlike a lot of other Travel Insurance companies that make you jump through hoops when you need to make a claim, World Nomads allow you to make a claim online, cutting out a lot of the hassle or filling out forms and posting them, making phone-calls and generally going round in circles.  I even managed to find a 7% discount code that brought the price down to £377 included insurance for my camera.

After all the searching I decided to opt for World Nomads, mainly for all of the reasons mentioned above.  There were probably a few cheaper options out there but it was difficult to decided which was the best option by the time you ploughed  through all the terms and conditions and technical crap.

I’m glad to get the large expense out of the way sooner rather than later so I can focus on saving for the rest of the trip.

The next large expense shock I’m preparing myself for is the price of vaccinations.  I’ve been reading other travel blogs on the internet and didn’t quite realise how expensive vaccination could work out to be.

I’ll be filling out a holiday vaccination  form ASAP to find out exactly how much of a shock I’m in for.

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