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FCO releases guide for gap year travellers      

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released a guide aimed at gap year travellers and backpackers to help them make the most of their extended time abroad.

The guide, called: Plan, Pack, Explore contains a wealth of important information for travellers of all ages including health advice and what the Foreign Office can and can't do to help travellers in trouble abroad.

The guide can be viewed as a pdf on the FCO's website here or alternatively it can be downloaded as a free app for iPads and iPhones or as an app for Android smart phones.

Khalida Cox from the FCO's ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign stated that ‘Statistics show that over the last six months, one in four 16 to 24 year olds travelled without insurance and only a quarter made health-related preparations before going overseas. This leaves them at risk of facing really high bills for medical care or repatriation’

This statement by the FCO highlights a gap in the knowledge of many travellers about what to expect when going overseas. Many do not realise that most countries do not have free healthcare like the UK and are surprised to find that they will be expected to pay for treatment should they need it and this could easily run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Having adequate travel cover for medical expenses while backpacking is becoming more important given research by Columbus Direct showing that the average medical claim on their backpacker insurance has increased from £350 to £750 in just two years.

A policy like Responsible Travel Insurance will provide cover for emergency medical expenses including repatriation while you are abroad, if you are unfortunate enough to need treatment. Responsible Travel Insurance has two levels of cover to suit your budget making buying good quality travel insurance for your gap year a ‘no-brainer’ when compared to the worry of how to pay for many thousands of pounds for hospital treatment or repatriation following illness or accident.

Author: Adam