How to Save Money on Your Trip

You probably have already cancelled your dream trip several times due to lack of money; because you need to pay for the tuition fees and accommodation. Unfortunately, you don’t have money trees growing in your back yard. And once again you locked your dream in the cupboard of unfulfilled hopes. We decided to help you and make a list of tips on how to save money on the trip. Don’t hide your key too far away; you might finally open your cupboard after reading this blog.

1. Be prepared

If you want to save money on your trip, you always need to be prepared for it.

Ask your friends, who’ve been in the country you are going to, about cheap hostels, cafes and stores. They might even have friends who will be willing to host you for free.

Don’t spend money on travel guides.

We are sure you will not need it after you are done with your trip. Because you will know more about San Jose in Costa Rica or Cairo in Egypt than any travel guide author does.Go to your local library and read travel books for free, make notes or as most people do these days, just take pictures of the most interesting pages.

Create a couch surfing account.

You don’t even know how thankful all travelers for couchsurfing.org are.  One of the most useful apps for people who like to travel and make friends all over the world. Through this website you will be able to find a free accommodation and get to know the locals, who are always happy to spend time with foreign travelers and show them a city. You just need to write to a person and ask if he/she is able to show you the city and just spend a good time together. They can also give you advices on how to save money in their city and what places aremust-see.

If you are taking a plane, we suggest you to fly on the midweek day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest times, and try and avoid holiday periods. Some airlines have good deals for students, so use your age and always ask about student discounts.

 Try to choose off-peak times. Going off-season is cheaper and less crowded.

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2. Free stuff is fun!

Many things to see and do are absolutely free like catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise in Cairo (Egypt), play in the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paolo (Brazil) and swim at the Playa de las Catedralesbeach  (Spain).

Walk as much as you can walk. Get active and see things at a slower pace – walking is free.You can experience more just by wandering around a city and getting lost, talking with locals, and watching people. Explore local markets, wander and take photos, or even hike to the top of a hill for an awesome view.

3. Eat away from the tourist places.

You can just go one street or one block over and it will usually be much cheaper and more authentic!

We also would suggest you try to cook for yourself, if you have an available kitchen. You can experience new cookware, supermarkets and if your host has free time ask him/her to teach you how to cook local cuisine. We promise, it will be fun!

Try and avoid dinner because restaurants raise prices. Fancy lunches are often much less expensive than dinners.

4. Shop for souvenirs, clothes and food where the locals shop. Look for weekend markets and outlet stores.

 

5. Avoid taxis.

We understand that it much easier just to call a taxi and a driver will get you to a place you need. But it can be insanely expensive.

Use public transport where possible.  It costs you less, and is a more authentic travelling experience.

Rent a bike! Looks like this way of transportation has only advantages: cheap price, more comfortable than a bus, slightly faster pace than walking and helps you to stay in shape.

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We hope you are now ready to open your cupboard and finally let your dreams come true! Using these tips you will get out of your comfort zone and gain a new experience. Make a first step and create the memories that will make your life an endless adventure.

Happy travels!

Author: Aigerim Mambetova

Why I joined AIESEC at Vienna University of Technology

I am Behzard Parvin, an International Student from Iran studying Master of Electrical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology. I joined AIESEC after attending info evening held at Vienna University of Technology. The reason I decided to become a member of this organization was to improve my leadership skills and find new friends along the way, as I was new in the city. Another important driver was that I really wanted to improve my communication skills, as I realized I would need to be better at it in my future if I want to pitch a project or an idea, present myself to a company or communicate my ideas to a group of people.

After working with AIESEC for a semester, I can clearly see a change – I can say that I have gained practical experience and developed many soft skills needed for my future. That is why I decided to continue with my AIESEC experience and am currently the newly elected Vice President in our office at TU, in charge of bringing people from all around to world to an internship in Austria, to teach them more about Austrian culture, lifestyle and uniqueness.

taco-momentsBecoming a vice president opens a lot of possibilities – I will be able to lead a team of people, achieve certain goals and strive for success. This will be a great asset to my future and my career as an Engineer, because one day I wish to be in a management position where I will have to lead a team. The skills such as critical thinking, negotiating, interacting with the higher management and many others that I will develop now, will come in handy one day and make my job much easier.

While I was studying in Iran, I have been active in many extra-curricular activities but by joining AIESEC I learned more about how to communicate effectively not just to people from Austria or Europe, but to people of diverse backgrounds. The team in AIESEC is a multicultural one and counts more than 30 different nationalities within 4 local offices in Vienna. Understanding cultural diversity and different mindsets and meeting people from all around the world by attending numerous conferences, was one of the greatest experiences I gained as a member of AIESEC.

AIESEC interviews The Viennese Girl

We sat down with one of Vienna’s most renowned bloggers and had a nice chat about the face behind ‘The Viennese Girl’, her love for Vienna and Wanderlust.

AIESEC: First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.

The Viennese Girl: Thank you for inviting me!

A: I’ve personally been following your blog now and I’m really interested in the topics you write about, especially when it comes to the tips and details about Vienna and the stories about your travels.

TVG: That was actually a surprise for me, because I didn’t expect that people would like that so much and it’s such a rewarding feeling to see how much my followers value my stories.

A: Before we start talking about traveling and your various adventures in the world, let me ask you first: Who is ‘The Viennese Girl’ or who’s behind ‘The Viennese Girl’?

TVG: My name is Sillia and I come from Athens, Greece. I’m studying at the University of Vienna and I’ve been living here for almost 4 years now.

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A: So, tell me where the name ‘The Viennese Girl’ comes from then?

TVG: The day I made the website I was thinking about different names. Of course, I thought about a lot of options but then I thought that making a new website is like bringing a new person to the world that’s why I decided to call it ‘The Viennese Girl’ and since I don’t have any children yet, so it was like a baby for me. It’s also a very catchy and easy name to remember which is always important!

A: So you don’t actually see yourself as ‘The Viennese Girl’?

TVG: No, I see it more as my child!

A: So describe to us how you see her. What’s ‘The Viennese Girl’ like?

TVG: She’s an international girl and she was born in Vienna, of course! She wants to travel a lot and discover new places everyday.

A: So actually you, Sillia, and ‘The Viennese Girl’ have a lot in common then?

TVG: Well of course, it is my child after all! And I want to see her grow and become successful.

A: As you mentioned before you’re originally from Greece. How did you actually end up in Vienna?

TVG: I was actually feeling a bit down in Greece for personal reasons and I wanted to escape from everything. I had a job, a home, a car, so I was settled down but I still wanted to leave everything behind me. I also wanted to improve my German language knowledge. In the beginning I planned to stay in Vienna for 3 months only, but then I decided to stay longer and didn’t take my flight back to Greece.

A: You’ve been living here for 4 years now and running a successful blog. It’s clear how much you love Vienna. Could you tell us 3 things you love the most about this city?

TVG: The first thing I have to mention is the transportation system, because it simply brings you everywhere, easy, quick & safe! It also works on weekends for those who want to go out after midnight. And compared to the system we had in Athens it is much more reliable.

The second thing I love here is the university. I like that it’s easy for someone from another European country to subscribe! And I appreciate that they give you this chance & then it’s up to you, whether you manage your studies or not.

The 3rd thing I love about Vienna is that it’s in the center of Europe, which means that you can of course travel a lot. You can go to Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, Switzerland, Venice or Munich. We’re in the middle of Europe and you can always escape for a weekend trip.

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A: I’d like to ask you more about the blog itself now. You have two main points or topics there. I’d like to talk about ‘Wanderlust’ first. What does this word mean to you? Why is it the 1st headline you have?

TVG: Wanderlust is the love for traveling and discovering new places and cultures. I cannot imagine myself without traveling. I remember that every time I’m about to travel somewhere I become very happy. I also want to motivate other people to travel as much as they can. Similar to what you do with your internships, because it’s important to make it easy for young people to travel.

A: What made you fall in love with traveling?

TVG: It’s an escape from the routine. From the daily life, which is sometimes a little bit boring. All in all, it just makes you happier.

A: Do you think traveling changed you as a person?

TVG: Of course, it changes you. Because once you’re in a foreign country, you need to find a way to survive. You have to become more responsible, because sometimes you’re on your own.

A: So, do you think you would have gone on an AIESEC internship if you found out about it before?

TVG: I would certainly do it, but I don’t know where I would have gone. Do you offer anything in Paris?

A: Most people try to go somewhere far away from Vienna.

TVG: Then I’d probably go to Brazil and maybe volunteer as a blogger there.

A: Your second main topic in your blog is ‘Dear Vienna’. It’s a very catchy name, but what is it about exactly?

TVG: ‘Dear Vienna’ is more of a guide not only for tourists, but also for locals who want to see Vienna through my eyes. I got a lot of e-mails and encouragements telling me to keep discovering new places, so I kept exploring.

A: As you might know, we don’t only send people abroad but we also offer AIESEC internships here in Vienna, so we have a lot of international interns from all over the world. What piece of advice would you give the ones that just arrived in Vienna?

TVG: Well…Just check my blog! And of course just go out and explore the city!

A: We talked before about how much you love traveling. Can you maybe tell me about the trip that changed you the most?

TVG: I think the first trip that I’ve done changed me a lot. I was 18 and I went to the Netherlands because I had a pen pal from this beautiful country. She invited me to stay with her and I went with my mom, because my mom was a little afraid for me to go alone. But she went back to Greece as soon as she made sure they were nice people, she didn’t stay as long as I did. And I stayed with the family the entire time I was there.

A: What did you learn out of it?

TVG: What I learned is that I have to travel more. It will help me to grow as a personality and that staying in the same city or country doesn’t challenge you enough.
There is a nice quote that says: “The world is a book & those who don’t travel read only one page.”

A: Well, that sums it up! So, where is the ‘The Viennese Girl’ going next?

TVG: To Paris!

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A: So we can expect new pictures on your blog soon then! You’ve been to a lot of places but what is the one place you haven’t been to before that you would like to visit soon?

TVG: I’d love to go to Bali. It just looks so exotic and appealing & I imagine it will be wonderful to go there.

A: Let me ask you now about AIESEC. Have you heard of us before we contacted you?

TVG: Yes, I had a flat mate who went on an internship with AIESEC. And I remember how she talked about it a lot and the people she met.

A: How do you think such an internship where you leave your comfort zone can change a person? Imagine a 20-year-old girl from Vienna doing a social internship in Perú. How do you think this experience would impact her?

TVG: It’s exactly what we talked about till now. She’s going to find herself in a very different situation. She has to get along with a different culture and maybe get over this culture shock.

For example, from the countries I visited Cairo was very different from Europe.

There was a lot of poverty and it helped me become more sensitive. And that it’s not only your country, your bubble but there are also other countries, other people that are not living so comfortable or luxurious as we are. Maybe then you start thinking about what you can do for the less fortunate and that’s very important.

There are two types of people: Some just travel, live their experience and go back.

And the others they throw themselves in the situation and become more aware of other cultures and also go back as different people.

A: We have a final question for you. If you would motivate people to travel, what would you tell them the main reason to travel is?

TVG: That first of all, you change your life, you change yourself and it changes the way you think! So to sum it up: to change, to grow, to learn and to become a better person.

A: Thank you so much again from our side for this lovely chat and we wish you an amazing trip to Paris.

TVG: Thank you so much for inviting me and enjoy your holidays!

All photos by Tony GigovInterview by Mohamed Kassem

8 Travel Must-Haves on your trip

It’s always hard to decide what you need to take with you on the trip. Most of the time it seems like you need to take every little thing that you have at home. You never know what is going to happen, right? But it ends up with you paying at least 50 Euros for the overload and you are shocked, because you still had a lot to put in your luggage! You haven’t even packed your favorite blanket and a full-sized pillow! And how about a full-sized umbrella? All right, let us help you to make your trip easier and joyful and not to stress out about unnecessary things.

First of all, please forget about the full-sized umbrella! Who are you, Mary Poppins? There are also free blankets and pillows aboard and in a train (just don’t forget to ask a conductor), so you better leave this stuff at home.

Now let’s pack your bag all over again!

1. Camera

A camera is one of the most important things you will need on your trip. You will want to picture all memories you are going to have during the exchange program. After the trip you can print your photographs, put them into a frame and use them to decorate your room. A good motivation to improve your photography skills! Your little pieces of art might also be the souvenirs from your trip, just use them as a postcard. Save money and don’t fill up your luggage with little statuettes of Christ the Redeemer (Brazil) or The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy). Don’t forget an extra battery. It would be really frustrating, if your camera would turn off in the middle of the Rio-de-Janeiro parade or the Venice carnival.

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2. Comfortable sneakers

Invest in a comfortable, good quality pair of sneakers. Make sure they have good breathability and water-resistant material would also be a nice addition. Hint for the girls: You don’t need to bring five pairs of shoes; sneakers go with everything!

3. Mini sewing kit

Sewing kits can be very useful for wardrobe malfunctions, missing buttons or even for the things completely unrelated to clothing such as a quick repair of a tent or jewelry quick fix. You will realize the importance of this little lightweight travel sewing kit after fixing your favorite t-shirt for free.

4. Medicine

Don’t forget all medicines that you usually take. Just in case ask your local doctor to write a recipe in English and put a stamp on it, so you won’t have a problem buying the medicaments you need abroad. It’s important to take the medicine for food poisoning, especially if you are going to a country with totally different food cuisine. Don’t forget band-aids for small cuts and wounds. If you’re heading to a tropical place like Costa-Rica, mosquito repellent is also a good idea.

5. Essential clothing

We strongly recommend taking comfy yet smart clothes that can be mixed and matched. Clothes may look light, but they are also bulky, so it is advisable to take a minimum and what you do take should be of decent quality and fit for as many purposes as possible.

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6. Wet wipes and Hand sanitizer

Wet wipes are good for freshening up after some hard travelling or hiking, if you can’t shower or getting some of the grime of world travel off you. Hand sanitizer also comes recommended particularly if you are eating on the go and this is one thing you might struggle to find abroad.

7. Pen and Paper

A pen is always great to have on international flights, since there’s usually a landing card to fill out. Throw in a pad of paper as well and you can use all that airtime to do some work, write letters, or even play Hangman with your seatmate.

8. Smart Phone

A Smart phone includes an alarm clock, a music player, a web browser, a translator and many other useful apps. You will be able to catch Wi-Fi everywhere. Well, do we even need to explain you the importance of it?

Remember, before you pack something ask yourself if you are really going to use it. Cover all possible scenarios and make a checklist of what you need, you may even realize that you’ll need to purchase a few items before leaving.

 

Hopefully, these quick tips will help you pack your bags more efficiently for your trip.

We wish you bon voyage and keep on traveling!

Author: Aigerim Mambetova