I always say the two most important things in travel are travel insurance and transfers. And let me explain myself. Obviously, as a travel agent, I hear all the horror stories that can go wrong when traveling. And that is why for a small fee you can save yourself big catastrophes and major anxiety on top not having to put a mortgage on your home because you fell off a bike in Tuscany and need surgery and a lay flat seat for the flight home. For some, as little as $79 you can have a half a million dollars worth of medical flight evacuation and get $1,000 to replace your lost luggage thanks again to the airlines (Most likely American and you know it American Airlines). And let me tell you, with a thousand dollars you can do a lot of therapy shopping while you're in Rome to get over the shock of arriving and not having underwear!
Transfers. Let me explain what that means. That means a car service that picks you up from the airport and takes you to your hotel or picks you up from your hotel and takes you to the train station. You may be asking yourself why paying more for this service set up in advance is even worth it? First, it's as simple as it cuts down on the tension and possible bickering that comes with when you're trying to remember 9th grade French all the sudden and figure out where the exit is to the taxi queue. Then after walking around the building dragging your luggage, you see the line and it's at least a half hour wait because you can't just flag down a taxi as it's against the law as you must be at the queue to get one. Instead, you get off the train and see a nicely dressed person with a sign with your name on it who whisks you past the lines and straight into a car and straight to your hotel.
Another great example is "How long do I need to be at the train station before my train?". Well, have that transfer is set up and the thinking has been done for you. All you have to do is be in the lobby at the directed time. The car service is about $68 in Paris and a taxi is about $35. For the Peace of Mind and also the ability to be at ease, I think it's worth it.
As a travel agent I hear more complaints about transfer issues and travel insurance problems then I do about the room is too small or the tour company didn't speak very good English. However, you must understand that transfers come with their own sets of problems with traffic and road closures causing no-shows. That's why you're provided with a phone number and if you need to get into a taxi, the car service will be refunded back to you. I have been known myself to have my private transfer drop me off at my 3-star Hotel because I believe that it just makes that big of a difference.
And as for travel insurance, next time you are at a dinner party with your friends ask them if they ever had to use their travel insurance. Not only will they have an entertaining story to tell but they will look you straight in the eye and tell you to always and absolutely but travel insurance.