Travel insurance is not a scam, you need it!!
If I was writing this list in importance, travel insurance would come first! When I was a travel agent you would always hear me say, “if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel”. Sounds cheesey and a little salesy, but it’s so very true. In Australia we are always hearing stories about people travelling to places like Bali and coming off a scooter or getting alcohol poisoning and ending up in critical conditions, then their friends and family are actively trying to raise money to assist with their medical costs or costs for repatriation back to Australia, all because they didn’t have travel insurance or had some cheap crappy insurance that doesn’t cover much. These occurences happen so frequently and can be very easily avoided by purchasing a good policy from a reputable company.
Ensure you get a good policy that covers everything you need. For example, international medical assistance (including repatriation), luggage cover, cover for sports (skiing, surfing, diving etc), car insurance excess, motorcycle cover, cancellation (if you have to cancel your trip for unforeseen circumstances), travel delay etc etc. There’s no point buying the cheapest thing out there to then have your camera stolen and find out it’s not covered by that policy. Or break your leg taking a motorbike taxi while in Thailand and you get hit with a $20,000 medical bill or worse get refused medical assistance, all because your medical cover isn’t applicable when you don’t have cover for riding a motorbike (even as a passenger). Once again its about reading and understanding the T&C’s (the important stuff) and this is something a good travel agent knows like the back of their hand. If it’s something that you don’t understand, then go see your travel agent and they will assist you to find a policy that suits you.