And what better way to say goodbye and good riddance to the frugality and sobriety of January, than by watching a load of sweaty men grapple each other in search of an elusive ball. The Six Nations first kicked off in 1882, making it the oldest rugby tournament; originally, only England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales took part. France joined in 1910 with the Italians making six in 2000.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a true example of Six Nations if it only took place in one arena so matches are played in all the countries involved and if you’re lucky to have tickets to an away game, remember to pack the essentials (and we don’t mean a refillable beer cup).
So, first item on the agenda is your travel insurance. We know it seems pretty pedestrian when you’re about to watch 30 burly blokes getting hot and sweaty for 80 minutes; but like a decent mouth-guard, it’s there for your protection. You can choose between single trip insurance; or if you’re also intending to holiday with your rugby widow/widower later in the year, then you might find annual travel insurance better value.
Making sure you’re adequately covered for the destinations you’re visiting, is always recommended. Insurance isn’t just there to compensate you for lost luggage and cancelled flights, it’s there to cover you if you need medical treatment or need to be flown back home in an emergency.
In the UK, we forget that not everyone has a comprehensive NHS and although you may have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) it’ll only cover you for state healthcare equivalent to what locals receive – which might not be what we’re used to at home. An EHIC also won’t pay for the cost of getting you back to the UK in a medical emergency so best to be safe, not stranded.
Second on your list of things to do, is check whether your credit or debit card charges you for use abroad – not all cards do, so read your T&Cs. Typically, a ‘foreign usage fee’ will be charged to your card every time you use it outside of the UK; this is on top of any other flat fee your issuer adds for use abroad. So, before you know it, those bières, birre or plain old beers can rack up leaving you not just with an alcohol induced hangover, but a financial one too. Read up on using your credit card abroad so you don’t get caught out.
Using a credit card also offers you Section 75 protection – it’s not some undercover secret service unit – but it will cover you if you buy something and it all goes wrong. You have to spend between £100 and £30,000 on something for it to apply but you can find out more in our Simples guide to Section 75
Now that you’ve got the essentials sorted you can start packing for the fun bit and practise your haka – sorry, wrong rugby nation – but you get the idea. So, get ready to crouch, touch, pause and engage, because the scrummage is about to begin.