Figuring out how to stay in contact with people in the United States while traveling overseas can be a bit daunting. International calls, texts, voice, and data rates are not something to consider lightly, as the charges can rapidly escalate into thousands of dollars if you turn your phone on while abroad without doing any research first. Don’t let this intimidate you to the extent where you find yourself leaving your contact information with the instructions to “call me maybe.”
International Roaming Charges
Do you know that data roaming charges can quickly accrue on a smart phone simply by powering it on in a foreign country? Your e-mail and other applications will attempt to update just like they do at home but at an immense cost. This can happen if you don’t turn the data function off or if you don’t secure a special international plan with your mobile provider before your trip. Imagine being welcomed home by a cell phone bill totaling over a thousand dollars, and you didn’t even make a call from it while you were away? It happens all the time.
Purchasing a Cell Phone Overseas
If you don’t travel overseas frequently, purchasing a phone locally after your flights to Europe have touched down may not be the ideal option for you either. In this case, you won’t be able to leave a contact number for people to reach you before flying abroad.
Switching Your Phone‚Äôs SIM Card
Changing out your SIM card can be quite complicated (not all phones have these, or if they do, they may not be able to accept an international SIM card). If you don’t know what you’re doing while unlocking your phone, you could void your device’s warranty, or particular components may not function with a different card.
Rent a Cell Phone with Auto Europe
Although the lyrics to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” are extremely popular right now, this song’s message isn’t a good trend to follow when it comes to deciding on whether or not to accept international calls overseas. Have no fear, because there is another option! Rent an international cell phone from our sister company Auto Europe. If you reside within the United States,* then you can request a mobile phone be sent to you before you leave, and¬†once you have returned from your trip, drop it in the mail . It works in over 65 countries and voicemail is a standard feature. Auto Europe also rents GPS devices; if you plan on driving while abroad, be sure to ask for more information about the rates when you speak with a reservation agent. Call Auto Europe toll-free at 1-888-223-5555.
*Cell phone and GPS rental are only available within the United States.
Scandinavian countries frequently rank as the happiest in the world, and according to a report from the United Nations earlier this year, Denmark placed highest on this list. The United States wasn’t among the top ten. There appears to be a strong correlation between a nation’s wealth and the level of contentedness people possess, and this makes sense based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (the basic essentials to survival such as food, water and shelter have to be met before one’s vitality begins to factor into the picture). However, the study shows that economic prosperity is not the absolute answer to creating satisfaction in life. The Danes have a different approach to the pursuit of happiness, as is described in the five following examples.
The closest pronunciation of the word hygge is who-gah, and its meaning doesn‚Äôt have a direct translation in the English language. Combine elements like warmth, coziness, and good company, and then we begin to get glimpse into the essence of hygge. The next time you feel like life is missing that spark, get together with a group of your closest friends and family, make sure good food and drinks are present, turn the lights off, and gather around a glowing campfire (lighting candles is another great way to set the ambiance).
Not so much a law as a moral code of ethics, the Danes focus on a set of standards that keep a runaway ego grounded. They believe in humbleness and equality. No one person is better than anyone else. Nothing feels worse than being looked down upon and being ridiculed. Think about it, what does feeding this fire accomplish? Do you really think that you can justify seeing yourself as better than someone else by insulting them? The next time you find yourself judging someone for their actions and beliefs, try putting yourself in their shoes. A little bit of compassion goes a long way.
I’m not suggesting that you mimic another culture’s take on humor, as what is funny to one society (even person to person) may not make sense in another culture or may even be viewed as offensive. The Danes enjoy joking with each other and sharing a good laugh. The simple act of letting go and recognizing the humor in life is an excellent relief for stress. When it seems like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders, invite a friend over to watch a comedy flick or reminisce about some silly, good times you’ve had together.
Attitude Towards Money
The spending habits of the Danish citizens appear to be quite different than those in the U.S. Quality of a purchase is much more significant than buying the latest, flashiest trend on the market. They remove the brag factor from their transactions. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you want to buy the new version of your three month old smart phone or whether you should hit the beach with your loved ones for a weekend getaway, just keep in mind that the electronic gadget will be out of style in a few months when the new and improved model makes its debut.
Denmark actually has a law that requires employers to pay their employees five weeks paid holiday per year, which certainly sounds ideal to me. If we look at the principles underlying this right, you may see that we all could benefit from attempting to balance our professional lives with our personal. So perhaps you don’t have today off, but it’s beautiful outside. During lunch, make it a point to get away from your work space and take a walk (even a ten minute stroll can make a difference in your day).
There is so much to be learned from observing customs and traditions that differ from our own. Open your mind and your heart to new experiences, and perhaps you will discover the key to your own happiness. Book your flights to Europe and let the adventure begin.
There is nothing quite like hitting the beach on a sweltering hot summer day. Upon first sight of water you don‚Äôt even think twice about running full speed and plunging into a refreshing escape from the heat. The following European destinations not only provide the much desired splash factor that we‚Äôll all be seeking soon but also come with awe-inspiring terrain that just may make you slow down to take in the incredible views before diving in.
photo courtesy of chausinho
Playa de Gulpiyuri, Spain
Nestled in a field near the village of Naves is a tiny saltwater pool called Gulpiyuri Beach. What makes this little swimming locale so unique is that the water level rises and falls with the Atlantic‚Äôs tide. The basin was created by a sink hole, and it is fed via caves that run from the coast, which is close-by.
Giant‚Äôs Causeway, Ireland
The seemingly chiseled layout of the basalt encased shoreline in Northern Ireland has been drawing people to the Giant‚Äôs Causeway for centuries. Formed about 50 million years ago from volcanic blasts, the mystical pillars have been the origin of many Irish folkloric tales. It is said that the hexagonal rock formations were part of a giant‚Äôs bridge that linked Northern Ireland to Scotland.
No, these aren‚Äôt melting ice shelves, they are ridges of bright white travertine and are filled with thermal waters that have left terraces of calcium carbonate deposits throughout the centuries. Pamukkale is located in western Turkey’s Menderes River Valley and is a World Heritage Site. People have been visiting these hot spring fed baths for thousands of years.
Blue Lagoon Iceland
About 5 km outside of Grindavik, Iceland you can take a soothing dip in the steamy Blue Lagoon. Geothermal waters flow into the picturesque basin from 2000 meters underground, and the minerals are said to have healing qualities. Relax and take in a spa treatment available pool side.
Algarve Coast Portugal
Golden sand beaches are tucked in between rugged cliffs and allow sun lovers a more intimate place to unwind on simmering summer days. There are several caves scattered along the oceanfront, giving visitors an exotic and striking backdrop for their Algarve Coast retreat from the heat.
If you are considering taking a vacation abroad this summer, it is best to begin booking flights to Europe as soon as possible. You will want to lock in lower priced airfare before everyone else because this will be peak season for many travelers.
If you plan on taking a trip abroad soon, you may be perusing the internet in search of quality, handy travel gear. There is a plethora of options out there, and they all promise to offer the best merchandise. So, I scoured through customer reviews of the top, new travel products available and made a list of the highest rated items.
Hard-sided Carry-on with Exterior Pocket $139.95*
This piece of luggage from Hammacher Schelmmer boasts an outer compartment to store your boarding pass, passport, liquids, and anything else you need to have easily accessible. Not only will you be prepared to glide through the TSA checkpoint, the ball-bearing wheels all spin 360¬∫ and will keep your belongings moving along smoothly. It is light weight, at a mere 7 ¬Ω lbs and claims to be the only hard-cased carry-on with a front pocket.
USB Fuel Cell Charger $229.99*
Smart phones are an incredibly useful tool to have with you while traveling internationally (just be sure to choose an international call plan or purchase a SIM card once you arrive at your destination in order to avoid nasty data roaming charges). That being said, the battery seemingly always dies when you need it most. This coming Fall 2012, POWERTREKK is releasing a hydrogen fueled USB charger. So, you’ll be able to revitalize your phone anywhere you have access to H2O.
Water Filtration Bottle $59.95*
With Katadyn‘s MyBottle Purifier Blue Splash, you won’t need to question whether or not the water you are about to gulp is safe to drink. The purification system obliterates harmful bacteria and viruses on the spot. Also, it removes bad tasting chemicals (such as chlorine), and another added bonus is that you won‚Äôt need to purchase bottled water.
Adapter, Converter, and USB Charger $58.00*
All electronic device adapters are not designed equally. One may have the USB port but not the capability to run a hairdryer or another may be able to handle high watt appliances but doesn’t have a USB port. The TravelSmith All-In-One Adapter/Converter claims to have all the above bells and whistles. Take note, if you are visiting a destination where power surges are of concern, you may want to consider buying a surge protector locally; this is one instance where waiting to purchase an item may be a vital move to avoid frying electronic devices. There are voltage variances from country to country, making the surge protector you will need difficult to buy in your country of origin.
Carry-on Luggage with a Kickboard $299.99*
Ok, I know that Micro Luggage isn‚Äôt a necessity, but it is just too cool to leave off this list. Samsonite and Micro have collaborated to achieve a nifty fusion between a carry-on suitcase and a kickboard. The picture pretty much says it all. Fun!
Packing everything under the sun, just in case a situation calls for it, is simply not a good idea. Remember, extra luggage will equal extra fees, and once your flight to Europe lands, you are going to be responsible for carrying/pulling the baggage everywhere you plan to visit. Do yourself a favor and pack lightly. What types of travel gadgets have you found most useful abroad? Feel free to share below.
*Prices are from each product’s corresponding website on 6.6.2012