Travel abroad on business is ten times more complicated than leisure travel. It requires a higher level of planning before you even level and there are certain factors that you need to consider whilst away on your travels. The worst thing that can happen is being in a country on the other site of the globe, unable to conduct the business you travelled for and being ultimately stuck in a lose lose situation. So, to give you a helping hand, here are the things you’ll need to know.
Before You Travel
When planning any trip away, always check and check again you have at least 6 months until your passport expires as some countries won’t let you in otherwise. If you’re travelling with a business colleague or partner make sure that they have a photocopy of your passport in case something goes wrong or you lose your passport.
Sort Your Visa Ahead of Time
Aside from your passport, this is arguably the most important thing you need to have prepared – your visa. For certain countries you can actually pay for visas on arrival however, for many you’ll need to obtain a visa for admission to the country. If say for example you going on behalf of a sponsor, for countries such as the UK, you will need to have a tier 2 visa approved for skilled workers to even allow you to conduct business there. This is the same when it comes to other nation such as America, Brazil, Chine and Russia. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have this sorted out as soon as possible before your trip.
Get to Grips with The Culture
Before you go spend some time brushing up on the local culture and customs, as well as reading the latest news from the country. At some point during your business trip you’ll have to make some small talk with someone where it’s with a potential client, a client, a colleague or even someone out and about. In certain countries, doing certain actions can be seen as disrespectful or can mean something entirely different than you’re used to normally.
When You Get There
Get to Know the Area
After you’ve checked in, get a map from your hotel and explore where you are. It will get you accustom to the city which will put you in good stead for any up and coming meetings you have planned. It also helps to get a hotel business card in case you get lost so that you can show locals or taxi drivers the address so you can get back to where you started.
Have a Back Up Plan
Get together a rough emergency plan in case something goes wrong. Many companies have memberships to organizations that provide international evacuation or medical assistance in extreme situations, so having that contact information can be important. After recent world events, it’s better to be safe than sorry to have a plan should shocking situations arise. In addition, make contingency plans for minor disturbances like local union strikes and political protests. Furthermore, don’t get stuck without being able to use your debit or credit cards. Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling abroad to ensure that they don’t freeze your accounts from potential credit card fraud.
Keep in Contact
When on business It is likely that you’ll need to be constantly keeping your home company in the loop about all activity and movement on your dealings. The bigger corporation should have international phone plans available to you so that you can use your data and make calls when needed. With mobile phone advancements, now if you’re travelling within Europe, roaming is charged as your normal phone contract so you won’t be paying more for using your phone abroad. If you’re a bit further afield, seek out those wi-fi hotspots and make sure you’re feeding back what you need to. As meetings can change feelings on a daily basis it will be best to keep a consistent log of all events.
On your return to your country you’ll need to clear immigration and then customs. At some airports, this is a smooth process, while at others, you can expect hours-long lines and significant hassles. After working away in different time zones, you’re likely to be drained and if this is something that you must do often, it can be a tiring process. In certain countries you can speak their immigration solicitors before you travel to see how you can save yourself from the headache. For example, in the U.S you can apply for Global Entry. This essentially is a government program that pre-clears you for admission to the U.S. and speeds you through the immigration and customs process. Once you’re through with ease, get a good night’s sleep so you can re adjust to the time difference.