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Best Trekking Travel Insurance: Ultimate Guide

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If you are planning to do a big trek or climb, probably on of the first questions you should be asking yourself is what kind of trekking travel insurance should I get?

Trekking or climbing comes with inherent risks and in the event of injury, the potential cost of medical treatment in a foreign country is massive. The point being, you want to have insurance that will leave you feeling fully covered before you depart on your next big adventure. 

Finding the best trekking travel insurance is not easy though. Once you start reading the fine print of many common travel insurance providers, you will immediately notice that high-altitude trekking or climbing is not covered or prompts some question marks about what is covered and what is not. 

Well, we have taken the hard work and guessing game out of the equation by providing you with honest advice and tips for selecting the best trekking travel insurance that best suits your needs. Let’s jump right in…

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Why Choose Trekking Travel Insurance?

Engaging in high-risk activities like trekking and mountaineering means that at some point during a lifetime of big adventures, there will come a point when an injury occurs and you will need to be protected from the exorbitant costs that come with emergency medical attention and helicopter evacuations. 

For perspective, getting a helicopter in Pakistan can cost as much as $25,000. The treatment of a broken bone can cost thousands too, especially if you need emergency surgery. 

Whether you are looking for  Everest Base Camp insurance or insurance for trekking up to 6000m – one thing is for sure, you must have adequate trekking travel insurance. 

Best Trekking Insurance Quick Answer: Global Rescue

If you want to just get straight to the point without having to scroll any further, we understand. 

Our staff’s top pick for the best trekking insurance: Global Rescue

On the summit of Mera Peak, Nepal

Being someone who has organized trekking and adventure trips around the world for the last seven years, I can tell you that I have not found a better travel insurance option for trekking activities than Global Rescue. 

These guys specialize in helicopter rescue and extraction as well, and in most situations, you can count on them to come through for you with a helicopter evaluation when you need it most. 

There are two different products that Global Rescue offers and you should understand the difference between both. 

Global Rescue Membership: Cover is provided for emergency helicopter evacuations pretty much anywhere in the world. GR pioneered worldwide field rescue for their members in remote or dangerous countries. They literally have deployable teams standing by to rescue their clients in case of a remote illness or injury for any serious medical emergency. It is worth noting that the GR membership only includes the helicopter or emergency evacuation and it not medical insurance.

Here is what is covered with a Global Rescue Membership: 

best trekking travel insurance
  • Global Rescue emergency staff operators on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
  • No limit on altitude. Even if you are planning on climbing Mount Everest, you will be covered. 
  • Fast Deployment: If you are injured, the last thing you want to do is need to haggle with insurance companies or to have delays with your helicopter coming. 
  • Destination reports: for 215 countries and principalities worldwide including entry requirements, COVID-19 travel status and restrictions, detailed health and security assessments and required immunizations.

Global Rescue IMG Signature Travel Insurance: This is the medical insurance part of what Global Rescue offers. The travel insurance is essentially an add-on to the Global Rescue membership outlined above, though it is also possible to get the insurance without having a membership too. 

The best part about the Global Rescue travel insurance is that there are no exclusions for trekking-based activities or being at high altitudes; a common exclusion for other travel insurance companies. 

The policy also covers things like lost or stolen baggage, search and rescue operations costs,  and rental car damage. 

The main downside we can find for Global Rescue is that it is expensive – but like most things in life, you get what you pay for and that certainly rings true when it comes to the best trekking travel insurance. 

If you are going to climb a mountain higher than 6000m – like Island Peak in Nepal as an example – then this is the right insurance for you. 

Here are some of the key features of the Global Rescue IMG Signature Travel Insurance:

trekking travel insurance

A Story of First Hand Experience with Global Rescue in Pakistan

There is a first time for everything! The following event proved to be a good test of Global Rescue’s services when the time came to call in an emergency helicopter evacuation. This is how our first experience actually needing to use Global Rescue went down…

Basically, we had one elderly client on the K2 Base Camp Trek trip who was struggling with the hike and was sick from a combination of the altitude and something he ate. I made the decision as the trip leader to end his trek on the third day of the trip, more as a preventative measure for something worse happening in the future at an even higher altitude. The client agreed with my judgment call and we called Global Rescue from the satellite phone. They were extremely helpful and responsive.

They arranged for a helicopter to meet us at our camp the next day. Right on time, the helicopter showed up 45 minutes before it was supposed to and the client was air-lifted to a hospital in Skardu for treatment of his stomach bug. 

Organizing heli rescues in Pakistan is much more complicated than in Nepal or other adventure destinations around the world because on must go through the army to get the helicopter. Global Rescue handled everything from start to finish and even did wellness checks on the client during the days ahead. After that experience, Global Rescue now has my full confidence as is a major reason why we recommend them to all of our clients. 

For the best high altitude trekking travel insurance, Global Rescue seems ticks most of the boxes in our book – and it is fair to say that our clients feel the same way. 

helicopter rescue pakistan
The army helicopter coming in to evac our client in 2022

Runner Up for the Best Trekking Travel Insurance: Garmin SAR Travel Insurance

That’s right! The company known for making beautiful fitness tracking watches and GPS devices now offers search and rescue travel insurance. 

It should be clear that the Garmin SAR (search and rescue) does NOT cover any medical costs, so you would need to book additional travel insurance, to cover medical stuff and you need a compatible Garmin device to use it. 

The main function of Garmin SAR insurance is that it covers evacuation and search and rescue incidents.  There are two insurance categories to know about: SAR 100 insurance and SAR High-Risk insurance. 

The SAR 100 insurance has an exclusion if you plan on mountain climbing – (with intent to go above 5,000M) – so you will need to step up the coverage to the high-risk plan if you know your itinerary has you going above 500 meters – and there is a significant price increase too for the high-risk coverage. 

Depending on the length and duration of your trip, the Garmin SAR High Risk policy is one of the best travel insurance for trekking up to 6000m from a costs standpoint. 

Both Garmin SAR policies cover up to 100,000 for search and rescue/helicopter evacuation situations. 

Here are some of the key features of the Garmin SAR Trekking Travel Insurance:

best trekking travel insurance

To use this insurance, you need the Garmin In-Reach or Garmin In-Reach Mini. We have used these devices extensively on Epic Expeditions trips and they function pretty much anywhere in the world including in the middle of the ocean or Antartica.

The story of the helicopter evacuation I mentioned above was mostly done through messages I exchanged with Global Rescue via a Garmin In-Reach Mini before we broke out the sat-phone. 

The Garmin satellite messenger devices also have an SMS button that immediately triggers emergency response communications directly with Garmin.  

garmin in reach review
Using the Garmin In-Reach Mini in Pakistan

World Nomads has been an industry leader for basic travel insurance for a long time. I have used World Nomads for many of my solo travels in the past. For your standard backpacker’s insurance, they are one of the most popular options and they generally have a good reputation within the backpacker/traveler community. 

When it comes to trekking travel insurance, World Nomads is a good overall option as they offer medical coverage, rescue services, and coverage for lost or stolen baggage. 

The major downside to going with the World Nomads Standard (and cheapest) plan is their lack of coverage due to high-altitude exclusions above 6,000 meters. The World Nomads Explorer policy covers mountaineering expeditions up to 7,000 meters – which is a new feature as of this year. 

For the standard policy, if you are using ropes or other climbing equipment, then you might not be covered. As with any insurance, it is best to read the fine print before choosing one based on what your itinerary and plan are. 

You can check the different activity coverages between the Standard and Explorers policies here

Here are some of the key features of the two World Nomads insurance policies (Standard policy coverage is on the left, Explorers coverage is on the right):

world nomads insurance coverage

The cheapest travel insurance you will find on this list is offered by Safety Wing, 

Safety Wing is known for being “digital nomad” insurance more than adventure sports insurance, but they still do provide some decent coverage. If you are visiting Europe or the USA, going with more basic trekking travel insurance is all you probably need.

 If you are trekking or mountaineering at elevations of 4,500 meters or lower then you are fully covered. Their base price is around $42 USD – which is a steal of a deal for basic medical coverage. Note that Safety Wing insurance does not cover helicopter medical evacuation. 

Here are some of the key features of the Saftey Wing Nomad insurance policy:

trekking insurance policy

How to Choose the Best High Altitude Trekking Insurance

Choosing the right high-altitude trekking insurance is not a decision that should be taken lightly. There are major financial and safety implications to consider if you choose the wrong insurance for your desired itinerary. 

This is why we recommend Global Rescue! From what we have observed, GR comes with no BS – which is exactly what you want in your hour of need. 

Here are six things you should consider before pressing the “buy” button for your next trekking travel insurance policy. 

  • Look at the maximum altitude you plan to reach on your next trip. Travel insurance policies really start to differ when we are talking about 5000 meters or higher. 
  • Know whether or not you will be using any ropes or climbing tools during your trip. 
  • Check with the insurance company if coverage is possible for a high-risk destination country with an active war zone, sanctions, or other factors that the insurance company might deem ineligible for coverage. 
  • See if there is a “cancel for any reason” add-on. Having insurance for trip cancellation is important if you want to protect your investment (ie a trip booking payment) in the case of an unexpected emergency that prevents you from traveling, 
  • Make sure the travel insurance company you are leaning towards covers your specific nationality for the country you plan on going to. For example, not all insurance companies will cover Americans traveling to Iran
  • Read over ALL of the exclusions and benefits. Understand the policy before you buy it. 
how to start mountaineering ice axe

The Best Insurance for Everest Base Camp Trek or K2 Base Camp?

Choosing trekking insurance for Everest Base Camp trek or another long-distance high-altitude trek like K2 Base Camp should be pretty straightforward. Since in both cases, you will be going above 5,000m, you should have the appropriate coverage for that altitude. 

The K2 Base Camp with the add-on to do Gondogoro La (5600m) might also affect which policy you choose because the descent of the mountain pass known as Gondogoro La involves using a fixed rope line, crampons, and the like. 

From our list above, the best insurance for Everest Base Camp trek or K2 Base Camp that our clients have used has been the Global Rescue travel insurance

World Nomads would be a close second for total medical and emergency evacuation coverage. 

k2 base camp trek
K2 Base Camp

Wrap Up: The Best Trekking Travel Insurance for High-Altitude

There you go, guys! I know reading about trekking insurance is the least fun part about going on a big adventure. That says, if you have learned one thing from this article, then you should now know that having the best trekking insurance for your specific project is very important. 

Thinking about insurance is just one of those things we must do to ensure we are protected in a worst-case event sort of scenario. 

Once you have your trekking travel insurance sorted, you can start to focus on preparing your fitness and the gear you need for the adventure that lies ahead. 

If you have not already, be sure to check out Global Rescue travel insurance for one of the most comprehensive policies out there. 

Note: We are not insurance professionals or experts. All we can do is provide advice based on the type of trekking insurance our own clients have used and our own previous experience with using these insurance products. We NEVER recommend insurance products our team members have not used themselves. 

To be fully transparent, some of the links provided in this article are affiliate links that provide Epic Expeditions with a small commission at no extra costs to you. 

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More from the blog

Welcome to our Journal!

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Here at Epic Expeditions, adventure is constantly on our minds. 

Our blog – or Journal as we like to call it – contains epic trip stories, photo diaries, and news about new tours. 

Thanks for checking it out! 

What's new in the journal?

The trip we're most stoked about

Horse Trekking in Mongolia Expedition

Next trip: September 24th - October 8th, 2024

Adventure Guide

Hailing from the Toronto region of Eastern Canada, with a background as a former standout athlete (hockey of course) and a  love of mountain adventure, Clark is a welcomed addition to the Epic team.

In addition to being a keen photographer and adventurer, Clark brings his brilliant sense of humor, leadership skills, and positive attitude to everything he puts his mind to. 

When he is not leading trips, he is working on taking over the hard apple cider game in Canada as a skilled craft brewer. 

Adventure Guide

Noemi grew up in the mountains of German-Speaking Switzerland where she naturally developed a deep love and respect for mountain environments.

She is a talented photographer, aspiring climber, and speaks at least 5 languages fluently including Arabic (and probably a few more that we don’t know about), which she taught herself in a matter of months by watching YouTube videos. 

Noemi has spent the last several years traveling, hiking, and photographing her way around many different countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Europe, and we could not be more stoked to welcome her to the Epic team! 

Adventure Guide

As our man on the ground in Mongolia, there is not much this legend can’t do. As a native the Bayan-Ölgii province of the Western Mongolia Altai, Syerik has been working as a guide and tourism entrepreneur…

for the past several years and is one of the rising stars in Mongolia adventure travel industry. 

He is currently building a beautiful Ger (Yurt) camp near his hometown where he will host Epic Mongolia team members on our trip as well as other travelers from around the world! 

He is the perfect guide for your trip to Mongolia. Serik did an amazing job giving us a well rounded experience in the Altai NP region and down in the Gobi…
The food was fantastic and Serik gave us many opportunities to learn about the Kazakh culture in that region including traditional meals. (I can’t recommend enjoying the milk tea enough!)

– Coastal

Head of canine operations

Choriza started off life as a care-free vagabond on the streets of Madeira Island without any place to call home. From the moment we met her, we knew this dog was just different, and it was pretty much love at first sight. 

She gave up the dog street life in favor of joining her new dad Chris to become a full-time member of the Epic family towards the end of 2022.

These days she can be found listening in on the fringes of important Epic business meetings while half-asleep on the couch. She is a keen hiker, lover of mud, rare steak, and might just be the sweetest little dog we have ever seen. 

Adventure Guide

An experienced trek leader and
IFMGA aspirant ski guide, avid alpine climber, devoted adventure photographer.

Organized and guided trekking expeditions, climbs and ski tours in Tajikistan’s Pamirs, Patagonia, Peru, Morocco, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Georgian and Russian Caucasus and Kamchatka.

A full member and meets the organiser of the British Alpine Club. Visited over 40 countries, lived in the UK for four years. Certified first-aider.

We joined Andrew on a fantastic trip to the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan, pure nature and magnificent scenery! Andrey was super prepared and led us safely up and down numerous passes and through some rough and icy cold rivers. Thank you for a very memorable trip, your planning and prep was excellent!

– Monika Steinlechner

epic expeditions team

Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro lead his 11th tour in Iran with Epic in spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Expeditions, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Coastal

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Expeditions and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Expeditions, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin

Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

Since he started exploring the world, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 70 countries along the way. 

Over the last 10 years, Chris has logged more than 7000 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

A few years back, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and the people of Pakistan led Chris to co-found Epic Expeditions at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 20 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

He lives in Madeira Island when not leading expeditions in far-flung lands. 

Chris also works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan.  

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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