Yes sometimes it pays to pay - and for me these are the key items you just do not get stingy with:
1. Travel insurance. NEVER ever stinge on this. Check it out carefully and make sure above all else that you have the medical covered appropriately. There are a lot of things to look out for so watch out for my upcoming post on insurance for more details. I have three friends / family that have ended up in near death situations where without their travel insurance they may well have ended up dead or their families would have been bankrupted. Not joking. My all-time favorite for a number of reasons is World Nomads travel insurance. They cover just about everything you could want however they do not cover over 70s which is their one drawback.
2. Those one off luxury things to do – you think now ‘Its ok I will do it next time’ but trust me on this one – you wont! The chances of you coming back to do that later are remote – and quite frankly that makes it rather expensive doesn’t it? However, you will go home regretting not doing it – so just bite the bullet and splash out occasionally on that extra special thing you would love to do.
3. Shoes- these shoes were made for walking! Make sure they are – not partying – walking!
4. An emergency stash back home – you don’t know what might happen and when you might need it. Hopefully you wont but if a loved one has an accident or something like that you may just need some sudden reserves – plan to leave some cash in an easily accessible credit card or account.
5. Learning a few words of the local lingo – the fact that you have made an effort won’t go un-noticed and may open many doors for you. I remember always hearing about how arrogant and awful the French were (of course mostly from Brits) and when in Paris my exceptionally rudimentary few word of French were so well received that I found the people nothing but helpful and generous.
6. Smiles – they also go a long, long way and open many doors!
7. Your spirit of adventure and open mind – otherwise what’s the point?
Ok – please let me know if there is something else you think I should add here – what did you think was essential to do right and do well?