Whether you are a frequent domestic traveler or a total beginner, before venturing on a foreign business trip it would be wise to dedicate enough time planning everything. Foreign travels require different approach to domestic ones. You will encounter different cultures, business and every day customs, probably face some unwritten rules and other specific habits you do not have the chance too see every day. Therefore, you will often need to take individualistic approach preparing. Naturally, you want to make the best use of time spent, so the better prepared you are for a specific travel, the better you will conduct your business. Obviously there are not universal solutions, but constructive tips can be grouped according to the general areas of preparation they cover. Here is a list of most useful and applicable ones.
A meticulous travel plan is a good way to start organizing your business trip. Make sure you have all the necessary tickets reserved and ready. With the information technology available today, you practically can do all the work from your office. Flight, train, bus tickets, rent a car arrangements, hotel reservations, even restaurant bookings, anything you need in fact. By doing this you will save a lot of time at the site and have room for extra meetings if the opportunity arises. Still, make a back up plan in case any delays happen during your travel. Transportation companies usually will take care of you if any unexpected things happen, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your documents and any licenses you may need are in perfect order. Be informed about local transportation and taxi services too. Basically, if you do all of the above, your itinerary will be ready, too. Also, make sure your assistant, someone else from the company or a member of your family has a copy of the itinerary, it might come in handy if unexpected situations occur.
Photo credit – Bloomberg
Before you leave, have an appointment with your doctor to find out if any precautions are necessary, vaccinations for example. Furthermore, international health insurance is something you should always have when travelling abroad. When personal security is in question, always carry your passport wherever you go and make sure you have the address and the phone number of the nearest embassy of your country. Of course, avoid visiting unknown and unsafe city areas alone and without local hosts. Keep your mobile phone charged and operable.
Photo credit – Bloomberg
Learning as much as you can about the culture, business one included, of the country you are travelling to will often be very useful if you plan to have meetings, especially lunches, dinners or other less formal gatherings with your business partner. Even more so if you are meeting potential partners. Making an impression is a very good start of business negotiations. Being familiar with someone’s history, culture and customs leaves a great impression and is a sign of positive interest and good intentions, which is always a welcoming thing. Also, if you have time, learn a couple of phrases in their native language, they are always a sure win. Another important preparatory activity you need to do is to get acquainted with is would it be right and acceptable to bring any presents and what kind of presents should it be. If you cannot find any data on that matter, there is a universal solution. You can always carry some kind of custom branded giveaway. Set a budget first and then decide what would be suitable, something small, such as a USB drive, a pencil and an organizer, or a lighter; something mid priced – a leather wallet, or a bottle of fine drink with your company logo on its cover; or something exclusive – a leather bag or some kind of technical product, such as a tablet, for example.
If you cover all of the items above, it is safe to assume that everything will go as planned when it comes to your travel. You built a good foundation for your business trip to be successful. However, the complete triumph now depends on your business skills. If you are on safe ground there, congratulations.