The smartphone is the number one item that Gap year travellers will pack in their backpacks this year according to new research from Post Office Travel Insurance. More than half of those surveyed (52%) said they would not be leaving home without their precious gadget.
Laptops, mobile phones, hair straighteners and Kindles are now considered essential travelling companions. The traditional sleeping bag has fallen out of favour in the list of backpack must haves, with guitars and teddy bears more likely to be taken on the trip of a lifetime.
The top five must haves in the Gap Year travellers backpack:
Smartphone - 52%
Laptop/iPad - 7%
A debit/credit card and money - 7%
iPod - 6%
Digital camera - 3%
Worryingly, the research reveals that despite their backpacks containing some high cost items almost one in three (29%) 16-34 year olds felt that travel insurance was not essential when travelling abroad.
It’s not just the cost of replacing items such as smartphones and laptops that will cause a gap in the travel budget, falling ill or sustaining an injury can prove costly and end up ruining a trip.
Common ailments, such as Gastroenteritis, could break the travel budget for Gap year travellers, with medical expenses for this type of illness amounting to as much as £1,200. The other common medical claims for backpackers are stomach bugs and viruses, infection from cuts and wounds, fever treatments (denude, Glandular etc) and injuries from falls and sports.
Analysis of Post Office Travel Insurance data for gap year travellers** shows the most likely countries for medical expense claims are Thailand, China, Vietnam, South Africa and India.
Paula Cottrell, Head of Travel Insurance at Post Office Ltd, commented: Embarking on a Gap year break is an exciting time for travellers, but with expensive technology contained in the not so budget backpack, trying to keep down costs by cutting back on essentials such as travel insurance could be an expensive mistake.
“When travelling for long periods of time, accidents and illnesses are always a possibility so we are urging backpackers to look carefully at their travel cover to ensure they have adequate insurance to give them peace of mind on the trip of their dreams.”
As one of the UK’s leading independent travel insurance providers, Post Office’s award-winning and competitively priced travel insurance caters for all levels of cover through Basic, Classic or Premium options for annual multi-trip, single, explorer and long trip travel insurance depending on the individual’s needs, which is simple and easy to use. Its insurance policies offer “kids go free” for under 18’s travelling with parents, grandparents or legal guardians.