Backpack, Tech and Go! European Tour, Made Easy

 

While both Europeans and non-Europeans are heavily using mobile devices when traveling, its importance is taking over the traditional list toppers of a toothbrush, deodorant, and driver’ s license. Today, travelers recognize the smartphone to be the single most indispensable item they carry with them.
But the apps we use whilst on the trip are not always exceeding our social media “stack”. And here, we face one of the largest inefficiencies. Tech allows you to discover the best deals, uncover the best opportunities and tackle the most urgent problems you may face when on your trip, for a lower price usually getting a higher value in return. Thus, the smartphone is indispensable in every way, as it is our arms and hands whenever we are thrown in the unknowns of the foreign country and culture.

And it is up to us, how to equip our all-mighty smartphone with the best tools, and what technology to use in general to allow for the largest gains.

International Roaming

While it may be of a no problem for Europeans to travel around Europe without incurring additional roaming charges, after European Union has adopted the flat internet rate in all countries to increase the connectedness of people all over the continent, the problem may be very true for all travelers coming from countries around EU.

What you may do is to use the Ajura mobile app allowing for international roaming and calls with your own country number, not the share the new number every time one travels. How does it work? Whenever you are connected to the internet, your phone can receive calls via the app, no matter what country find yourself in. This way, there is no need to get a  new number for the country number you are traveling to every new destination.

Cash and Cards – What to Get

For Europeans, it is easy again. European banks are largely connected in networks which are charging lower and lower fees for foreign withdrawals with every year. However, if you are a foreigner, things can become tricky.

But let’s start with the easy stuff. The most easily openable account is one in a mobile bank. Currently, the European leaders are N26 and Revolut, of which both offer pretty awesome deals for frequent travelers, freelancers and other people who often find themselves in different countries.

Revolut is one of the leading, and most talked-about opportunities if one is concerned with. Moreover, the bank is also licensed as from December 2018, innovating and soon to provide IBAN codes to all its customers, no matter inside or outside of the United Kingdom. You can order your Revolut prepaid card for free, with €6 sending to anywhere in Europe, and withdraw money for free up until  €5,000.

The pre-paid card is then available for card payment and money withdrawals anywhere in Europe, free for the first €200  per month.

N26, on the other hand, is a totally free German bank (an important aspect with Brexit coming soon!), charging no fees for the initial card ordering, but having a 1.7%  fee on non-euro ATM charges, while no fees on spending. Opposite to Revolut, N26 also is integrated with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, while Revolut supports Google Pay exclusively.

If you come from countries outside the European Union, then Uber Visa may be another good international credit card coming at zero annual fees. The card offers you 4% cashback in restaurants, takeout and bars, while you can earn 2% back on distinct online purchases including Uber, and 1% back on all other purchases. Additionally,  there is no other annual fee, as well as no foreign transaction fees. Could not sound better, right?

Offline Maps in Your Pocket

There are several leaders, with Google Maps probably ruling others out at the popularity. While Google Maps allows you to save places and load different types of navigation, the rendering speeds of maps are much higher while using Maps.me –

You will have a much quicker feeling app, at the same cost-less rate!

 

The right travel apps for booking experience, and accommodation

Booking your accommodation at the last minute? It can rain deals! Booking.com, CuddlyNest.com and other booking apps and websites are only one part of the possible opportunities when looking for a last-minute booking opportunity.

Airbnb, for example, is not particularly well used for the last-minute bookings, as the app is not linking hotel rooms, but rather the private room owners, as the initial sharing economy business model suggests. Therefore, you may have better luck booking accommodation at some of the all-in-one e-travel websites.

Get There Fast, Get There Cheap

If there is something distinct about traveling Europe, it is the one-of-a-kind roadway linkages all across the continent. The network allows you to get from any place, anywhere.

The most used app across both sides of the ocean is undoubtedly Uber, and for a good reason. Not only Uber allows to get from one point to another in large cities like Berlin and Paris; it also allows to spend significantly less when traveling in a pair or in a  small group of friends.

As for other types of alternative taxis, the taxify, recently re-branded to Bolt to offer services likewise to the Asian Grab, and deliver food on both bikes and cars, the Bolt is not widely available all around Europe, either.  

You may also want to know that Oszkar is the variety of carpooling services offered in Hungary, in case you visit Budapest, but limited to passengers. No food here!

As for Southern European countries, the carpooling services are offered by BlaBlaCar, a hugely popular service in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This carpooling will also get you further than from the city one side to another one.

Flight Bookings and Beyond

Although carpooling is a wonderful opportunity to save some cash for people traveling alone, like backpackers or adventure travelers, the last minute flight offers may provide you with uncovered opportunities for the next destination. Especially if you are around the hubs of large airline companies, such as Ryanair or Wizzair.

One option to make sure you travel with the right mode of transport is Rome2Rio.com. Compromising not only data about European transportation service providers but also Asia, South America and North America among other destinations, the aggregator website lists prices and modes of transportation, leading you to the website directory to make the purchase.

If you are looking for specifically European service, then Omio (previously GoEuro) may be the way to go. The service is particularly adapted to European databases, composing trains, buses,

As for Skyscanner, the plane can take you anywhere, and for cheap! Especially looking at short flights or flight at least 3 weeks ahead, you can spot the best deals here. Skyscanner allows you to browse per date, per the cheapest destination, or per the time of the year when to travel.

Skyscanner, however, will not be the best choice if you are looking for the last-minute deals for European flights. We advise you to go to the airline websites and look directly – the two most popular and widely covered airlines are Ryanair and Wizzair, among others, with the first based in Ireland, while the other one in Hungary, thus covering both ends of Europe.

Go Places You Have Never Been Before

If you want to step out of the ordinary tourist-book guided and well-beaten path, we advise you to look no further than peer-reviews and well-curated stories and travel atlases, such as Guides by Lonely Planet, Atlas Obscura, and the well-known Trip Advisor. The last one, however, will do exactly what is best avoided, hence, guide you to places the most advised for mainstream tourists.

As for Guides by Lonely Planet, the simple bookmarking tool, just on your phone. You can save and curate your own city guides, adding from the TRips app from Lonely Planet for the best experience.

Atlas Obscura, however, will leave you with a little more guidebook-like experience, recommending places as a travel guide, curated by the fellow travelers and locals, or, as the site suggests, the world’ s hidden wonders.

Image result for tinder app phone

Meet People and Connect 

As for meeting locals, there are two ways to go. Either you explicitly state your intentions on Tinder, or you go with Couchsurfing. Both options may end up well, and much depend on your preferences.

As for the differences, Tinder largely does not support large, or group meetings, while Couchsurfing community meet-ups or hang-outs are just that. While you will see more activity to be biased towards the profile pictures of the initiator, the apps allow you to connect with the locals, or other travelers, as per your preferences.

And, who would have thought? Meeting locals may enhance your travel experience like no activity, tour or museum visit could!

Stay True to Values While Eating Out

If you are among that 72 % of people who are “labeled” as the “connected travelers,” you may also find to look for restaurants and booking dining places whilst out.

As for the true experience, you may find it to be a daunting task to come up with the right choice every day, and your satisfaction may drop in a moment in case you cannot find anything suitable.

While the task may come to be hard for the carnivores, it may at times be almost impossible to find restaurants in your area serving vegan and vegetarian or gluten-free foods. Here, you can turn to the Happy Cow app providing you with the sought-after local knowledge about vegan menus in the travel destination, prices and serving sizes and oh-so-pretty images. You can also try the luck on your own, downloading the app with cards claiming what foods you can not eat, such as V Cards: Vegan Abroad, in case the vanilla bean staple marking, is not used in the country you are visiting.

 

Recognized your beloved travel app? Comment below!

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