Travelling across the world for business can be a fun adventure, but it also needs to be taken seriously. For instance, before departing to a foreign destination, it is important to learn the customs and procedures that await you on the other end. Remember, as a business traveler, you are not only representing your personal image to all those who you interact with but your company’s image as well. You therefore want to be as knowledgeable and as focused as possible to avoid mishaps and “oops” moments. Here are 7 tips to consider:
Prepare an itinerary in advance
A travel itinerary is an important component of staying organized and being able to maximize every minute of your trip. An itinerary is basically a guide that is useful, especially when you want to capture detailed information and instructions about your destination. For instance, you may want to include things like meeting (and meeting hours), estimated time per activity and key contacts. As you prepare an itinerary, it is worth remembering that no trip is perfect and there are always situations that will come up during your travel. It is always best to plan for such occurrences in advance in order to make adjustments easy.
Familiarize with the language basics of the natives
Make sure you brush up on key phrases and words prior to travelling out of your country – this single tip can save you time, money and a lot of travel-related stress. Since you cannot master the whole language in a few weeks, you need to focus on the basics like greetings, phrases for asking for directions, basic food names and so forth. The good thing is that it does not take a lot of advance preparation to be able to nail down the basics of the native language and the rewards are well worth the effort anyway.
Be updated on travel advisories
We live in a world where things change pretty fast. One minute there is a terrorist attack, the next minute a natural disaster is reported and just before the world gets over the misery, another violent criminal activity is reported. As a business traveler, it is highly important to be on the lookout for travel advisories. And even if everything seems to be safe and sound in your destination, it is important to have a backup plan just in case of an emergency. Always remember, contingency plans never harm.
Know your money
Of course, you will need money in order to facilitate your stay in the foreign destination, and just in the same way it is important to familiarize with the native language, you want to have a good idea of how the local currency converts against the dollar. Using this knowledge, you can estimates the overall cost of things and therefore plan your finances better. For instance, if you pay $50 for a cab in the USA, you might be shocked to learn that road travel is more expensive in country X if you Google the local rates and convert them into dollar rates. Such awareness can go a long way in helping you avoid any unpleasant surprises. Also, visit travel websites such as HolidayMe.com or Expedia Travel to find good deals.
Make sure your documents are in order
You won’t go far without your personal documents. As a simple guide, always make sure your passport has 2 to 4 blank pages and at least 6 months to expiry. Also, it is important to make sure your close relatives have a copy of your passport just in case something goes wrong. Keep your identification documents safely with you and by all means, make sure to keep your hands on them throughout the trip.
Stay healthy and fit
Unless you are travelling to a neighboring country, long distance travel can take a toll on your health. One of the ways to enjoy the trip and to make the most of it is by having enough rest and eating right several days before the flight. Your aim should be to start the trip on a full tank so that issues like jetlag and unexpected illnesses are contained. This tip is often overlooked and forgotten, but is extremely important for all travelers.
Be keen on etiquette and protocol practices
Etiquette and protocol across the world are by no means completely standardized. Invariably, there’ll be cultural differences, and the minutest cultural conflict can be translated as rude, ignorant and unprofessional. How you familiarize with the etiquette and protocols of your destination can make the difference between your trip’s success and failure. Therefore, it is important when arranging for international business travel to be aware of the cultural differences between yourself and your foreign business counterparts. Be particularly keen on hand signals, workdays, dietary practices and dressing.
Regardless of where you’re travelling, making arrangements ahead of time can help to make the experience as rewarding as possible. Keep your documents handy, plan your schedule, know the culture and most importantly, be ready to learn. The more open-minded you are as you research for your next international business visit, the more you’re likely to benefit from different engagements.