Recent statistics unveiled by Essential Travel reveals that fewer backpackers are planning to travel following last year’s announcement of impending student fees.The company's director, Stuart Bensusan, said: “Students who take a gap year will not be exempt from escalating university fees and all indications are that backpackers are certainly travelling less, with those that can still afford to travel perhaps skipping insurance as a way to save money.
"Deciding to take the risk and travel without insurance may seem an easy way to economise and we’ve seen fewer backpackers take out policies, but it’s an expensive business should they need to claim.
"Backpackers tend to embark on activities such as bungee jumping, diving and sky diving which are obviously higher risk than your average package holiday, so if anyone ought to have a decent insurance policy it's independent travellers. When creating a travel budget, young people should always include travel insurance so they can truly enjoy their experience and ensure they select a policy that covers all activities they intend to embark on.”
The company's Backpacker Travel Insurance costs from £110.89 per person for 12 months.
Meanwhile, Ticket to Ride Group has also seen a shift in gap year travel habits following the announcement of the impending student fee increases.
The company's co-founder, Will Hayler, said: “Any student who doesn’t go directly to university this year will face university costs of up to £40,000 over three years so you can understand why many are thinking twice about taking the traditional pre-university gap year.
"Year-on-year figures have seen an impact but instead of halting travel, travellers are simply changing the way and when they travel. For example, many more are taking gap years after university instead of after A-levels and in response we’ve developed Mini Gaps which are designed to give a flavour of a year out experience but cover a much shorter time span.
"We’ve also noticed a significant increase in travellers in their late 20s and early 30s which we are accounting for by the current austere financial climate. Those that are in the position to do so are making the most of voluntary redundancies and taking a career break."