Traveling for business is often more work and very little play, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a chance to visit all the sights and other amenities that a certain city or a country has to offer. Besides, traveling internationally is a great way to get in touch with other cultures, languages, and customs, especially in the work environment, so instead of feeling anxious or unwilling, it’s better to take the opportunity and start packing your bags. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience of travelling abroad, that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun and learn something new.
For that reason, here are ten important tips for travelling abroad on business:
1. Establish good communication with your hosts
Your hosts can be a certain company, factory or organization, usually represented by one or two people with whom you’re supposed to communicate prior to your trip. Therefore, it’s important to establish a rapport, so they’ll be more willing to help you. Always make sure to ask the right questions, but try to keep a balance so you won’t come across as too annoying.
They should be able to address all your concerns, and in case they’re unable, they should direct you to those who will.
2. Get all the information
If you’re going somewhere for the first time, it’s crucial to get all the relevant information, starting from prices, local mentality, traffic conditions, and crime rates. Your hosts will probably provide you with some info, but if you want to be completely certain, it’s best to do some extra research by yourself. There are many apps and forums where you can ask others to help you out, so never be shy to ask for help, especially if you’re not an experienced traveler.
3. Pack accordingly
Your suitcase should always be packed according to the type of your trip. If you’re traveling on business, chances are you’ll have to spend your time in meetings, so bringing business clothes is definitely a safe choice. Also, if you plan to go sightseeing, you should also pack some comfortable casual clothes such as sports footwear, jeans, tracksuits, and hoodies. Finally, make sure to check the weather forecast, so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by excessive rain or heat.
4. Don’t forget about your health
Some countries have different dietary standards so there is a chance their food might upset your stomach. Taking probiotics once a day a week before your trip will protect your intestines, so you will be able to eat local food without worrying. Additionally, getting travel health insurance will make you feel safe in knowing that you can freely visit a doctor there in case something bad happens.
5. Consider alternative means of transport
Whether you’re flying or taking a train or bus, you’ll have to buy a ticket or two before you arrive at your destination. In case you’re traveling to a neighboring country (or a country near your own), you can drive instead of taking a plane, since driving is more eco-friendly than flying, anyway. But, before you grab your car keys, it’s important to know how to drive abroad, since some countries have drastically different traffic laws and driving rules. Learning about those customs can save you a lot of time, but it’s important to mention that you shouldn’t drive to a foreign country if you’re not confident in your driving skills.
6. Bring some extra cash
If your company is paying for your trip, you’ll probably have an expense account as well, but bringing some extra cash will surely come in handy if you want to buy some souvenirs and gifts for yourself and your loved ones. Having a credit card is great, but in case of an emergency, it’s always advisable to have some extra cash in your suitcase, since there’s always a possibility of your wallet getting lost or stolen. Accidents happen, so be sure to protect yourself so you’ll be able to come home safely.
7. Make an effort to meet new people
You’ll probably have some fun with your hosts, but if you’re traveling to a business conference, then networking with others in attendance can be beneficial for your work and personal life alike. In case you’re a bit of an introvert, remember that business trips are a great way to start a conversation with those who are also there since you already have something to talk about — your (or their) work.
8. Get a reliable internet connection
Nowadays, all hotels have Wi-Fi internet, but sometimes, it can be painfully slow that sending an email can take ages. But, there are other ways to get a stable internet connection, besides going to McDonald’s or Starbucks. A lot of places sell local SIM cards, and they’re often located at airports or train stations. These are much better options than going from one place to another, trying to connect to their Wi-Fi.
9. Avoid conflicts and arguments
Sometimes, you’ll go out drinking, and you might find yourself in a confrontation regarding something trivial. But, it’s crucial to stress out that you should avoid confrontation at all costs, mainly if you’re in a country where you don’t know anyone. Some cultures might be hostile to foreigners, so if things escalate, you might find yourself in a pretty difficult situation.
10. Drink responsibly
If you find yourself in an international group of people, you’ll probably go out at one point. But, no matter how tempted you’ll feel to try all the new drinks on the menu, you should still drink carefully and in moderation. Always go to reputable establishments, and don’t forget to check the online reviews from previous visitors. Don’t drink at shady bars, even though they might be tempting at first glance.
Going on an international business trip can be a wonderful experience, but always make sure to be cautious and protect yourself from potential threats and mishaps. Be alert and informed, since that’s the best way to keep yourself safe and have a great time.