12 Tips On How To Make Business Travel Smoother And Stress-Free
So the decision has been made to at least check out taking your business international. Travel plans have been made and meetings scheduled. Here are some tips on how to make international business travel less stressful so you can focus on building your new global business.
- Be sure passports are valid for at least 6 months following the last day of the trip. A passport hang-up can seriously damage or completely ruin travels plans that have been in the works for months.
- Know what documents are needed for travel. Find out if a visa is needed for the countries being visited. A great place to check out this information is the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Program.
- Establish a network of like-minded people prior to the visit – this is easy to do through social media or by contacting organizers of planned events. Professional organizations are a great way to make contacts in similar business or interest groups. Remember, the local business people are looking to network with visitors just as much as the visitors want to get to know locals. It’s a win-win!
- Check out reviews for hotels and nearby restaurants – world travelers know how important it is to be able to find out information ahead of time. They love to rate their experiences and there are hundreds of “rating and comment” sites for reference on the Internet. Be cautious of sites that are sponsored by government or travel agencies – they may only post comments that speak well of their country. Keep digging to find out accurate information from real travelers.
- Research local customs, food, religion, and dress codes. Some countries place a very high value on visitors honoring their customs and this act of respect can increase the ability of getting to know local business people.
- Plan for communications by contacting your mobile phone company. Additional services may need to be placed on your account so you can use your phone internationally. Don’t wait until arrival to figure out how to make local and international calls.
- Have international business cards printed. Make sure the country code is printed along with all phone numbers. Be sure to include website information on the card. Consider having the card translated to any local languages (can be printed on the back of card).
- Plan on arriving to the destination a day in advance of any business meetings. This will give travelers a chance to rest, recover from jet lag, adjust to a new time zone, get some good food, and, in general, find their bearings.
- Pack a change of clothes and minimally necessary toiletries in a carry-on bag. This will come in handy if there is a problem with luggage getting delayed or lost. Don’t depend on finding a 24-hour store to buy a new outfit for next-day business meetings.
- If visiting a country where English is not widely used, plan to learn at least some key words and phrases ahead of time. Smart phone translation apps will also be a valuable resource to you so be sure and download and learn to use them prior to departure. Translators may be scheduled to help during business meetings but travelers may be on their own in between meetings.
- Find out ahead of time how you can exchange currency and what to expect with credit card use. Many travelers arrive in a new country and, after their first credit card purchase, find the card shut down because the credit card company thought it was stolen. It’s best to notify credit card companies of out of country travel prior to the trip.
- Research what is needed for power converters. Purchase converters prior to travel. This is not only critical for hotel stays but for business meetings where power may be needed for laptops, smartphones, projectors, etc.
Following these tips will allow international business travelers to arrive at their destination ready to focus on building a network of people and resources.
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