Here are 10 random summer technology tips if you are travelling to Europe (Or how sometimes I can call: Ways to Increase your European Cultural Intelligence - CQ). Bottomline, use technology to your advantage. Except for car rental and Eurail trip, this blog did not focus much on Pre-Travel (such as Airfare but I used Kayak for many years now to help me get the best fare).
1. I've tried many travel apps but I always go back to Kayak to search for the best car-rental rate (also for airfare) no less than 2 months before you travel (although you can get lucky on last minute deals so always check the actual company and don't book on Kayak). If you get the Europcar (usually the best rate even if you have Hertz member rate) ask for one way drop off specials. Summer 2017, my family spent 30 days driving a roomy midsize Skoda one way from Seville Spain to Switzerland then drop off to Barcelona and pay only $600 unlimited mileage (we drove about 6,500 miles around 5 countries). Use the airport car rentals, they are usually generous with upgrade specially if you have a high CQ and nice personality with high EQ, Emotional Quotient (just a non-techie tip there).
2. Road App: Google Maps and Google Trips (download the guide for each cities) and use the route, if you happen to be driving that area, Google trip will give you real suggestions, no more "Oh, we've pass that, we could've seen the Nimes or Vevey or Porto". It will save you another trip.
3. Use T-Mobile Unlimited Global (it's free and if you are veteran, you get even further discount). We were streaming YouTube music, TuneIn Podcast (Daily Hope) along the highway and fast Internet with no surprises in your bill.
4. Lodging App: Airbnb: Increase your Cultural Intelligence by living with locals, you will be surprised how accommodating almost everyone was. Except that mansion we rented in Barcelona (creepy), so read the reviews carefully. Avoid newly posted spaces. (Insert are from our 2014 Europe road trip / Eurail, meeting these locals who opened their homes to us, at half the cost of a hotel and maybe increased our Cultural Quotient)
5. Consider Eurail pass if only two or less are travelling (we did get a 21 day Global in 2013 for 3 of us - we learned a lesson). They have 35% off now until June 4 (about $700-ish each unlimited ride for a month). Good only if you travel light and don't mind hopping in and out with your luggage from one bus or train station to another. You still have to make a reservation, but you don’t have to worry about parking and going to major cities and it's kind of romantic or dramatic as you bump to many locals travelling, especially in local trains (which is included in your Global Pass).
6. Use your MC/Visa/Amex credit card (with chip or Android Pay, always tell the cashier to use US $ rate) rather than carry more than $50 or Euro cash. Most cards have insurance (cars and buyer protection) so it will give you peace of mind (Remember Travelers Check?).
7. Connect with your social media (Facebook) friends who are already in Europe way ahead of time. Give them a clue you are coming so they can plan and offer a "gift from America". They sure will appreciate it in exchange for a hospitality tour. Now you will discover who your real friends are.
8. Take a photo of all your IDs, Passports on your phone and upload them on your Amazon or Google Cloud, just in case.
9. Remember most people in famous cities are tourists, increases your real cultural intelligence and mindfulness by visiting suburb malls and buy your souvenirs in supermarket (like Aldi, Lidl, Carrefour, Migros, Tesco). Some of their Food Courts are high quality (El Corte Ingles in Spain is all over). You will be amazed how people from different countries eat and buy stuff. Cheap food, cheap souvenirs. Never buy in tourist areas. (Photo insert shows El Corte Ingles Supermarket Japanese food court)
10. Take video clips (5-10 seconds) besides taking selfies to create real life - hearing the laugh, people's accent and musical memories that will connect you back in time.
I hope you enjoy this Tech Trip to Europe Trip (Ways to Increase your European Cultural Intelligence - CQ). Successful travel may not need a high IQ, but a high EQ will help and a high CQ add to your advantage.
Now these tips are random and not all based on research, but lessons learned. Do you have additional 10 or just one tip we can use this upcoming holiday?
Dr. Tony Astro’s expertise is cultural intelligence, career development and promotional branding. He has 2 decades of experience as human resources supervisor with Department of the Navy as Chief Counselor providing administrative support and training to all hierarchy and equipping organizations and their teams with skills to effectively work, advance in their career and education within and across multi-cultural diverse environment of military and civilian environment. He has over 10 years extensive entrepreneurial practice as marketing director of two Asian Business association and owner of Mvoss Creation Promotional & Marketing. Tony has traveled in over 50 major cities around the world during his 23 years in the Navy and every summer for leisure with his family. He conducts keynote speaking to diverse community of professional associations, university students, entrepreneurs and military organizations.
He was born to a Spanish mother and Filipino father and raised in the city of Manila, Philippines. He attended all his 12 years of education in an all-exclusive Chinese school. He joined the Navy and lived in Japan for 4 years and in the span of 23 years have been assigned and deployed in Europe, Middle East, Australia, Asia.