2018 - Tony Astro - Advisor, Businessman, Consultant

Cross-Cultural Competency Test Part 2

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Top Ten Techie Travel Tips to your Europe Trip

10:45:00 AM 0
Top Ten Techie Travel Tips to your Europe Trip


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. 





Monday, May 14, 2018

How Being Mindful and Cultural Curiosity Connects your Career, Cause and Commerce

11:51:00 AM 0
How Being Mindful and Cultural Curiosity Connects your Career, Cause and Commerce



A Brief Lecture on Keys to Develop Cultural Intelligence by Dr. Tony Astro

  • Curiosity, Capture and Conscious
People read, watch movies, travel and do their obsession because we are fixated or fascinated about it. That is curiosity. We are driven by our passion, our interest. We snoop into something because we are curious about something until we become wary or conscious about our own culture because there is someone out there that is different than us.
We start to pry, snoop and become nosy about something so we can reach and achieve them or at least get to know them.  We start to capture some details every chance that we can on our newfound curiosity and in this blog we will focus on culture, in this case defined by Merriam Webster as the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group including the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.
 If we really enjoy our travel, we become curious on certain culture or something unfamiliar to us. This sometimes develop into inquisitiveness that motivates us to go further into the next level: Collect and Click.

  • Collect and Click
Now we start collecting ideas, read books about what we were curious about. We surf the internet and social media and join certain Facebook groups and comment on discussions, purchase gadget on Amazon to expand our new curiosity or just binge on Netflix for a new series that captured our imagination.
This not only applies to travel but our encounter with other groups of people, a certain personality or a YouTube that we stumbled upon. After we have seen them, we want to see it live, touch them, taste them and meet them, so we go further: Connect and Create


  •  Connect and Create
As business owners, we learn that networking is valuable to get our leads. So, we connect with organizations like Chamber of Commerce, BNI, BizConnect, Marketing Associations in our case. But it does not stop there. After two years of connecting, as passionate as we are in our business, we even go further, not because we don’t get our leads but as entrepreneurs, we like to experiment – create buzz or create products or create a group.
In the span of two years we connected to at least 5 local organizations as members and created new products and services to sustain or increase our bottom line. After being exposed to many diverse personality and multi-cultural group, we develop awareness then became more sociable as we were exposed and immersed in different behaviors and personalities with multiple “brand” or culture. But we can never be fully developed or increase in our cultural intelligence or personal brand if we don’t: cultivate and commit.



  •  Cultivate and Create
Being raised in certain culture does not make us an expert unless we really know our culture and be aware of a different one other than ours.  I can attest to that as a Filipino who lived in the Philippines for 25 years. Not until I went to live to another culture that I became more aware that I was different, and I need to cultivate my new American culture that I only see in movies. 
We can connect with others but if we don’t nurture this new connections or newfound relationship by being attentive to them, we cannot create that deep affiliation or bond that is a much-needed quality in a business or personal relationship. This rapport with others is the bond needed to make a better negotiation, enhance communication and success in more lasting connection that would rally into our goals and personal success in our: career, commerce and chosen causes.


  • Career, Commerce and Community
As a 20-year human resources supervisor and career counselor and a 10-year entrepreneur who lead a promotional branding company and two minority (Asian Business) group, I would like to focus on personal branding (career), marketing or business (commerce) and our ultimate cause, to serve others (community)– something that we would like to share as our ultimate legacy – as a way of giving back to the community.
Our identity is shape by our parents, family, belief, groups – that is our culture. Like a famous shoe who (or what) is known to have a quality of comfort and design, it was develop through many research, marketing analysis, presented in different platform of advertising until it becomes known as Nike.

We have our own swoop, box or logo through how we dress or present ourselves to the public. Our status or reputation was developed through marriage, current position, education. Certain brands are only sold in certain areas, that is branding. What company we worked for or school we graduated or credentials we have tells about our personal branding. What we share in Facebook or photos we post on Instagram and videos we liked on YouTube give clues to “who we are” or what our brand is.
I was involved in many Filipino, Asian, military organizations and events because of how I was shaped and / or how I look like. I was invited to speak, join or attend those groups because of my affiliations. But as we become more aware of other culture (nation, country, military, millennial, LGBT, senior citizens, etc.) through curiosity, collection, connection, cultivation and creation – we become a stronger adherent to other groups, expanding our prospect for success in business and further realization of our ultimate goals in life and more avenues to share them to other culture other than ours.

  • Culture and Class (our Brand)
 Being mindful of our culture or brand is the very first step in cultural intelligence. Deliberately knowing where we came from and being expressive about it and discerning of others makes us more mindful and the beginning of appreciating and understanding that we are different. But then we become shrewd and perceptive of others. A common phrase, “I treat everyone the same” is not an excuse to be unbiased and fairness. It is an expression of disinterest and detachment to reality.   It is not an excuse to being open-minded or balance but a show of unfamiliarity and obliviousness.


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. 




Check your Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

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