International travel can be stressful, even if it’s just for vacation. With a new language, culture, or city to learn, the stakes get even higher when you’re traveling for business. In this case, you’re not just traveling for fun and relaxation, but you’re representing your company. The lack of familiarity with the language, culture, and environment cannot only ruin a deal, it can also cause unnecessary stress that may have been avoided with forward thinking. Before your next trip abroad, review these tips for international business travel.
Prepare a Solid Itinerary
When planning your agenda, think about what you hope to accomplish with each appointment you make. Consider your goals and priorities and what you need to do for a successful trip. This process will help you space each priority out with plenty of time to prepare. Be sure to leave time to rest between each goal. This is better than a packed schedule because it facilitates a more productive and enjoyable trip. And be sure to leave some room for flexibility in case plans change.
Leave Copies of Important Documents
Give a copy of your itinerary, passport, insurance, and other important information with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. If you lose this information, backup copies can be emailed or faxed to you so that you can get back on track quickly.
Learn the Culture and Etiquette
Not all countries feel the same way about negotiation styles, punctuality, gift giving, or forms of address. They may also have different work schedules, holidays, and dress codes. Read up ahead of time to prepare yourself for these differences and avoid an embarrassing mistake. Small details matter, and it would be a shame to travel so far only to derail a meeting before it even happens. So, learn the local customs.
Take a Language Class
No one expects you to become a sudden expert in German or Chinese. However, taking the time to greet people in their native language can put everyone at ease and show that you truly care about your partnership. There are hundreds of books, podcasts, videos, and other resources you can use to help you learn some key phrases. Book a translator if you’ll be meeting with people who don’t speak English at all, and remember that words can have various meanings, even in English-speaking countries.
Check Travel Advisories
The U.S. government regularly issues travel advisories regarding safety concerns travelers should know about before they travel to particular areas. These advisories can warn of terrorism, natural disasters, political unrest, health emergencies, and violent crimes against tourists. When traveling, be aware of these issues and make a plan in case something unexpected happens. Embassies can be an excellent resource if you find yourself in need of help. And remember to always carry a copy of your passport to facilitate assistance.
Get Travel Insurance
Whether you need to reschedule your flight at the last minute or receive medical care, travel insurance provides financial assistance for emergency situations. Each insurance company differs in the type and amount of coverage offered, but all insurance plans will help you avoid paying entirely out of pocket for emergency expenses as long as they’re covered.
Make a Connection Plan
Before you leave for your trip, check to see if the country you’re visiting requires adapters for your electronics, and let your credit card provider know that charges from abroad will be normal for the duration of your stay. When it comes to phone use, most companies offer international calling plans designed for short trips, but you may be able to use Skype or a local SIM card for your cell phone instead to save money.
Schedule Your Transportation
Renting a car while abroad and driving yourself to meetings can be stressful. Not only will you need to contend with different rules of the road, you’ll also need to know where you’re going. A professional chauffeur who knows the area well can save you this hassle. With the help of an established transportation company, you’ll have expert itinerary planning services, transportation to and from the airport and all of your meetings, and the bonus of arriving in style in a luxury vehicle. By letting someone else handle the logistics, you’ll have more time to relax and prepare for your activities.
Booking a Car with U.S. Sedan
Speak to U.S. Sedan for more information about their professional chauffeur services. U.S. Sedan operates in major cities all over the world, connecting you with highly trained and discreet chauffeurs for the entirety of your trip. Drivers also have security clearances, so you’ll enjoy door-to-door service no matter where your business takes you, while a concierge is available 24/7 to assist with changes of plans. U.S. Sedan offers the use of a sedan, limousine, or SUV equipped with satellite radio and spacious interiors. They can provide additional security services, if necessary.