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9 Steps to Prepare the Trip of Your Lifetime

You want to finally escape your daily routine and spend some time somewhere on a beautiful corner of the globe. Before you can experience the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Niagara Falls or piazzas in Rom an important to-do list stands between you and your trip. Because traveling or sometimes even planning a trip can be more of a stress the following simple steps will help you make your trip a memorable one.

Set a budget. It’s important to establish a budget as early as possible – even before you know your destination, travel dates or itinerary. It helps you to plan and enjoy the trip within your limits.Your task is to research the costs in your destination at the style of travel you want so you can avoid any disappointment that could arise as a result thereof. Some destinations are generally cheaper than others, but there are ways to save everywhere: travel in the off-season or pick budget accommodations. Always estimate a little more than what you might need.

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Pick a destination. Now that you know how much you can spend, where do you want to go? You have the choice of so many beautiful places all over the world to go to. Depending on your budget some might already fall away. Pick a particular site that’s on your must-see travel list, and plan your vacation around that. Picking a destination is immensly important as it gives you a definite goal. Not only will your trip become more concrete for you and easier to commit to, but it will make planning easier as well.

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Get your documents in order. Depending on your chosen destination you need some important documents. If you don’t have a passport, it will take four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one. So make sure to take care of this well before your trip. You already have a passport? Check its expiration date. For some countries you must have valid visas in addition to passports. Check what type of visa do you need and apply for one as early as possible because obtaining one is a complicated process and can take weeks even after you have been approved.

Consider travel insurance. There are several kinds of travel insurance, it’s much more than just medical protection. It covers you when your camera breaks, your flight is cancelled or if something is stolen. Also check your medical insurance coverage to see if you’re covered overseas. If not, you may want to purchase medical insurance to cover certain situations. It’s always the best to be prepared for the worst.

Book your flight. Because your flight will probably be the most expensive part of your trip, you’ll want to book it before anything else. This will allow you to be more flexible with your dates, which is a great way to save money on your flight. So make sure to book your flight about a few months in advance.

Create a rough itinerary. Once you have chosen your destination research sites and places you really want to explore and then figure out which ones you have the time and the budget to get to.

Book your accommodations. Once you planed a itinerary fill on some places to sleep. As is the case with pretty much everything you book for your trip, the earlier you make arrangements, the better – especially during high season. Do a bit of research and keep your eyes open for tiny bed and breakfasts, hostels or even couchsurfing. So you can save more money for other important things on your trip. It’s always better to book your stay if possible so you don’t have to worry about this at night after an exciting and exhausting day.

Pack light and right. Pack only the essential things and start thinking about what you’ll need to bring at least a week before you leave. Depending on your chosen destination, carry clothes that are comfortable and right for the season and especially for the specified weather there.

Have realistic expactations and enjoy your trip. Go on your trip and have fun! Head to the airport, board your plane and enjoy the fruits of your labor. By considering this simple steps you can better organize and prepare for your trip. So you can spend less time worrying about your travel arrangements and more time staring at pictures of castles and amazing landscapes. Enjoy the holiday by managing what you can with the time you have. Embrace each moment, whether good or bad.

 Author:Maike Schüssele

The Meaning Behind Wanderlust

Everybody probably has it – the impulse to venture into the exotic and the unknown. To leave the daily routine and see something different, get to know new cultures and maybe most importantly: rediscover oneself!

 

What is the meaning of “Wanderlust“?

There are many different definitions of “Wanderlust“ on the world wide web. But the following one by Urban Dictionary is in my opinion one of the best ones, including the most important points:

„A deep uncontrollable desire to hit the road and travel, by whatever means desired, to explore and enjoy the world.“ (source)

Everybody probably has their own meaning and understanding of „Wanderlust“. In my opinion, it also means exploring yourself and not just exploring the world.

Escape the daily routine

Waking up every day, going to work and sleeping in the same bed every night – daily routine may evoke the feeling of safety, however the feeling of ennui and wanderlust sometimes takes over.

As soon as we hear the word “travelling“, many thoughts and ideas immediately pop up in our head: experiencing new cultures, socializing and expanding one’s horizon… The list is endless. But exactly those phrases describe the beloved (so called) wanderlust. The question (strong desire for) of the unknown, of things we can’t see, smell or feel is a thing which has always moved us, that’s just human. That’s what we connect with wanderlust. Unknown countries and cultures goad us to leave our familiar surroundings. We travel in order to remind ourselves that we don’t know everything; that the world is bigger and more exciting than it seems when we are sitting at home.

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People change with travelling – they learn to get out of their comfort zone. What you learn during your travels, the wonderful moments you experience, people you meet along the way, the exotic and unknown world you discover as well as yourself; is hard to describe to anyone and therefore is a must-experience!

Maybe some of us have already lived through this unique experience themselves. It’s more than just leaving your home. Travelling means becoming more open-minded towards different world where you may have to handle things you have never thought of before. And that’s exactly what I wanted to gain with travelling – valuable experiences and learnings such as patience, open-mindedness, solution-orientation, independence and feeling unlimited freedom in every fiber of your body. But maybe the most important thing I learned during my experience is that

Life is a journey not a destination

 

Travel as much as you can, see as much as possible of the world; get to know new different and cultures, people and landscapes. The journey will shape you and you will earn experiences no one can take away. And especially you will learn a lot about yourself, because after all the definition of wanderlust says it all – “…travel to understand one’s very existence.” Augustine of Hippo once said „Life is like a book and those who don’t travel only read one page.”

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Author: Maike Schüssele

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