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Up to 49% of gap year travellers leave home without the right travel insurance cover

12 March 2010 13:56

More young people than ever before are booking and planning their, perhaps unexpected, gap year holidays in good time for the February peak in departures .  To help the estimated additional 25,000 students  who are taking an enforced gap year in 2009/10, worldwide travel insurance specialists World First are starting their “World First Gap Year Survival Guide” using a range of social media outlets including blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

The FCDO has released figures that 25% of gap year travellers are likely to suffer a bad experience whilst travelling , and other reports state that between 24%  and 49%  of young people take their gap year without taking out adequate (or any) backpacker travel insurance.  With the cost of an air ambulance plus medical fees mounting up to well over £100,000 it is vital that all gap year travellers take out appropriate insurance protection.

Alice Draper, from the Foreign Office, comments: “We believe that the economic climate is encouraging some graduates to defer their careers and take time out to travel instead.  This is leading to a greater demand for information, and we have seen a 75% increase in visits to over the past year .

“Recent research shows that young independent travellers see this website as a valuable resource, and with more students travelling we will ensure that our activities in schools, colleges and universities are at the heart of our Know Before You Go campaign for the forthcoming year.  We are also delighted when other organisations, such as our partners, start their own campaigns, as long as they are pushing out the right information to gap year takers.”

This is why World First Travel Insurance has launched its Survival Guide in order to reach as many gap year takers as possible, and raise awareness of the potential dangers of not taking adequate protection.  We will be using a range of social media applications to actively engage with travellers, and give them advice as promoted by the Know Before You Go campaign and also encourage them to share good practice and tips. 

World First’s social media streams include:

“It is concerning that one quarter of young travellers don’t have appropriate cover, particularly as it is so easy to get travel insurance quotes online and when a comprehensive policy with us starts from £90,” says Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner of World First.  “Travel insurance should be a number one priority, especially for gap year travellers and backpackers who are likely to be enjoying adventurous activities and moving around a lot.  Travel insurance does not just cover lost possessions or cancelled flights but, far more crucially, medical expenses and repatriation.

“We have been using social media for some time to reach customers,” continues Rothwell, “and this Survival Campaign is a perfect way to reach out not just to potential customers but travellers in general.  We want young people to understand the highs (and sometimes lows) of travel and also that not taking out travel insurance is not just a false economy but could cause extreme financial difficulty.”

Our Facebook pages contain the first World First Survival Guide Case Histories along with videos from the know before you go campaign. If you have a story, good or bad about your experiences on a gap year or backpacking trip, then get in touch as we'd love to hear from you.

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