To create your budget, here’s some questions you need to ask yourself:
Here’s a sample budget from a Global Volunteer Exchange Participant who went to Vietnam for a project and travelled to different countries afterwards for an idea of what your budget could look like.
Travel money cards are specially designed debit cards that you load up with foreign currencies prior to travelling. The advantage of pre-loading the card with your choice of currency is that you can do so when the exchange rate is at its most favourable.
For the traveller going to one country or several, this is the next best thing to carrying cash or traveller’s cheques. Different cards offer different currencies but they essentially offer American dollars, Yuan, Euros and Thai Baht dollars, amongst others.
You can preload a single currency or several, according to your travel plans. You’ve then got foreign currencies at your fingertips. Once abroad, you can reload your card or change the currencies around via the internet or your mobile phone. You can use your card to withdraw cash from ATMs, shop for souvenirs, pay for restaurant meals or book accommodation online.
A handful of Australian providers offer travel money cards and each varies slightly so it’s a matter of researching which card suits your purpose and we can help you with that. Some banks have schemes for university (e.g. Free travel money cards for Commbank university students) so make sure to ask your bank whether they have a scheme for you.
Want more general advice on travel money? Check out Andy Kollmorgen’s Choice article, Travel Money Guide, with advice on travel cards, cash, travellers cheques, credit cards & ATM use overseas.
Whilst you should experience as much as possible - you can definitely do it within a budget. Learn from my mistakes and my last excessive spending trip.
We all know that being a student means we must live the frugal life; all those Uni lunches, coffee and transportation really adds up. But what if I told you that saving enough money to go travelling during semester breaks is actually possible? Here are a few tips to get you started!
Most countries will require a visa to enter the country and stay for the duration of your project. You always should check the consulate or embassy website of the country for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements.
Some countries will allow you to obtain an entry visa upon arrival at the border checkpoint (e.g. Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam) Generally, these visas will be cheaper too. Do thorough research into the visa procedure beforehand and talk to your hosting entity to determine the legitimacy of these visas and visa arrangers. In some countries, the paperwork for Visas on Arrival (VOA) need to be processed weeks before your actual arrival! If VOA, make sure to have the right currency in the exact change, an extra passport photo and in the exact change to smoothen the process.
Don’t apply for a visa until you’re officially Approved (Matched to a project with contracts signed)! Your hosting entity should send you visa information within 2 weeks of being Approved.
Generally, Global Citizen Exchange Participants will use a tourist or humanitarian visa and Global Talent Exchange Participants will be using a working visa. Always make sure to check with your hosting entity before arranging your visa as having the wrong visa may lead can lead to fines and some countries have specific AIESEC visas that you can apply for.
Note: Some Local Committees will tell Global Citizen EPs not to mention AIESEC or volunteering on your visa application or at immigration. This is often to simplify the visa processing and limit the chance of immigrations in that country confusing you for an illegal job seeker on the wrong visa.
All AIESEC exchange participants are legally required to purchase travel insurance prior to departure on exchange. Whilst it may seem like a costly investment, buying insurance is essential for ensuring that even in case something goes wrong, you know you’re covered.
Make sure to buy travel insurance that covers all the minimum needs (e.g. emergency medical costs, personal liabilities, flight delays and loss of personal items).
Check peer reviews of the insurer and carefully read over all the terms and conditions, coverage, excess and the claims process for your insurer before finalising your purchase to ensure that your level of cover suits you.
For more advice on which travel insurance to buy, check out the following sites:
Different insurance companies have different claim procedures. All of them would have an excess fee (a fee charged for making a claim) and require thorough documentation to support your claims. Make sure to keep all receipts and ask for official report for an incidents, as according to your insurer. With some insurance companies, you can choose to cancel the excess by paying a bit more during the purchase.
“My airline lost my check in luggage during a transfer between Singapore and Taiwan, meaning that I had nothing on me asides from my passport and a bit of cash. My travel insurer covered delayed and lost luggage so I was able to go and buy all my basic personal necessities (e.g underwear) and claim my money back.
It sucked to begin my trip with a negative experience but because I had travel insurance, I was able to have a peace of mind about it.”
We asked our returned EP for their packing tips and hacks. Here's some of the best ones:
"Make sure to ask your hosting entity on your country’s customs and even the place of stay and do research to avoid embarrassing yourself and offending the locals."
"Rolling your clothes is a really great way to prevent having wrinkles and saves space!"
Learn how to do it here.
"Protip: Ask your dentist for sample toothpaste and floss & local hotel for mini toiletries bottles"
Due to international airport security restrictions, you can only bring bottles of maximum 100mL in an 80cm max clear bag. Chuck anything bigger into your check in luggage.
"A pillow case is handy for not only protecting you from dirty pillows, but you can also use as a bag for dirty laundry or general storage."
"Believe it or not, it is possible to travel for 8 weeks out of only a hand carry bag (especially in South-East Asia where you can easily buy new clothes). The bigger your luggage, the more you have to lug around when travelling after your exchange and the less room you have to bring items back to Australia! "
Your travel insurance will only cover your essentials if anything is stolen anyways.
"Card games can fill up long travel time, break down cultural and language barriers and act as a doorway to new friendships. You might even learn some new games along the way!"
"Bring two wallets, fill up a wallet for everyday use with fake or useless cards and minimal cash so that in the worst-case scenario you are come across trouble, you won’t mind losing this wallet."
“Bring a stuff toy (or two), kids go crazy for them.”
Buy a bunch of clip on koalas and kangaroos to give as gifts to new friends. Make sure to have a present prepared for your host family as well!
“Bring your medication and some commonly used ones just incase. You never know when you might need it or when it might be hard to find.”
Off the counter medication we’re familiar with (e.g. Panadol or Codral) may not be readily available overseas or the pharmacists and packaging may be in a foreign language.
"Try buying a bright fluro orange luggage bag, putting stickers on or typing a colourful ribbon on the handle. Making your luggage easy to spot will save you so much time at the luggage carousel!"
"Whenever I travel, I bring a shawl/large scarf. That way it can double up as a light blanket when the air conditioning is too high or when you're taking a sneaky nap on the bus. You can even use it as a sling bag or a way to protect and wrap up precious items for the journey back home."
Remember: you shouldn't buy your flights until you’re officially Approved (matched) to a program! As according to your rights and responsibilities, costs associated with flight changes or cancellation due to breach of the contract by the EP will need to be covered the EP themselves.
Don’t want to make your own flight arrangements? Travengers, founded by AIESEC alumnus, can arrange your flights for just 10 euros.
About to arrive in your host country and excited to start your project? We’re excited for you too!
Here’s a checklist of things that need to be completed in the first few weeks of your exchange:
Contact your AIESEC EP manager from home upon arrival and at least once a week! Not only do we want to check in with how your experience is going, but a quick check in will also help us check your safety and welfare :)
Regularly check Smart Traveler and register your travel plans with the government in case of an international crisis so the government can also assist you.
Ethical tourism is geared towards encouraging both the consumer and industry to avoid participation in activities that contribute or support negative ethical issues, such as social injustice, human rights, animal welfare or environmental issues.
‘Mindful travel’ brings both personal and global rewards.
Where we choose to go and what we choose to do has economic, political, social, and environmental reverberations that reach far beyond our personal experience. Travel and tourism is the world’s largest industry, and many countries rely on tourism as a crucial source of income.
By “voting with our wings” - choosing our destinations well, and cultivating our roles as citizen diplomats, we can act as a positive force upon the world by promoting international goodwill and helping to change the world for the better.
Find at more at: http://www.ethicaltraveler.org/
Are you travelling overseas this break? If these are your thoughts right now. Don’t worry, we’re here to help and guide you. It’s a daunting time with exams and studying to think about. Yet you’re going overseas right after it!