Although the idea of travelling across the world with nothing but a backpack on your shoulders is a romantic one, it’s not a very practical one if you take it to the extreme. Even if you’re only plan is to do as little planning as possible, before you set off on your travels it’s highly recommended you invest in some travel insurance for backpackers, travel insurance is less of an act of caution and more a case of common sense.Naturally, if you’re just backpacking through the UK, then its somewhat less of a necessity. Once you cross overseas though the story is rather different. Outside of your home country, the safety net that the state has provided you with (even if you don’t know it) disappears – and if you’re a typical adventurous backpacker, you’re likely to be running far more risks than you would do in your day to day life.The simple truth is that in many places around the world, money is the only way you can guarantee anything from health care to travel. Without money, if you get into a jam then you’ll be forced to rely upon a foreign bureaucracy to help you resolve your issues – one that might not speak English, might not care about your problems and might have far too much on their plates to deal with your problems in the first place.This sounds rather alarming but it is pretty straightforward. Part of the adventure of backpacking is the fact that it’s an adventure; distant lands, risky activities and exposure to exotic ways of life are all part and parcel. The chances are without the risk, there wouldn’t be half as much fun in striking out on your own two feet. Still, it pays to be prepared.Just consider the worst that could happen to you whilst you’re on your travels. Not the most enjoyable part but it’s definitely worth doing before you get there and they take you completely unprepared. Without insurance, at best you’ll end up paying far more than any policy could cost in resolving your emergency, and at worst you could be left stranded far from home.With an insurance policy, you can travel with relative peace of mind. If your belongings get stolen, the insurance company can wire you the funds to buy replacements and let you carry on your way. If your passport or travel documents are lost (perhaps in the same act of theft as your backpack), then they can help clear the red-tape and save you all the admin costs. If you fall foul of an exotic illness or something similar, they can help meet the costs of medical care – and even pay for repatriation if you’re taken off the trail entirely. Insurance can even help you cover any legal costs you might incur; strange countries can have strange laws and its very possible you could fall foul of them.Hopefully this hasn’t put you off your travel plans. The vast majority of backpacking holidays go relatively smoothly – but then, most backpackers prepare for the worst. When all of your belongings are on your back and home is half a world away, a little forethought can go a long way in saving a dream experience from becoming a nightmare.