How can I make my business travel easier? You cannot be guilty of overstating the need to prepare for a business trip. Therefore, here are some tips on how to prepare and have the best experience on the next business trip:
Business statistics show that 1.3 million business trips are taken in the United States every day. Amidst globalization, more persons are embarking on business trips and this is because businesses extend beyond the border of their country. Before going on such a trip, adequate preparations must be made for it, as this will guarantee the success of the trip. According to Dale Kurow, a New York-based executive coach, “It’s not only important to prepare for business trips abroad, but it’s also essential…due diligence in learning about the country you’ll be visiting is a must. You will be interacting with colleagues with country-specific business acumen and your lack of knowledge will be evident and damaging.
He further stated, “Without adequate preparation for a business trip, you’ll not only appear naïve and unsophisticated, but you run the risk of insulting the very people you want to impress, … or worse, you could be labeled as clueless and not ready for a position with global reach. International experience is the proving ground for many aspiring executives. Not doing your homework before you travel abroad could have a serious negative impact on your future career. It doesn’t get much more important than that.”
Also, it was maintained by Andy Teach, “It’s essential to prepare because there are so many chances for things to go wrong compared to a domestic business trip.” Furthermore, “Without doing the necessary research, it’s possible you could offend the people you’re working with, you could lose an international account, and worst-case scenario, you could lose your job.”
Here are some tips on preparing to have the best experience on a business trip:
Read the Travel Entertainment Policy
Does your company have a travel entertainment policy procedure? The Travel Entertainment Procedure provides guidelines for travel and entertainment expenses, ensures all advances arrive promptly and accurately, and communicates the procedures for reimbursement of travel entertainment expenses upon return.
Only Pack What’s Needed
Remember you are going on a business trip, so you must pack all that you need, but you can carry only so much. Lean 5S would be very helpful here, Start by making a list of all that you will need for the trip ahead. Write down all you will need to make the trip a success and pack just that, similarly, get useful documents with softcopies, your laptop, a cell phone, necessary reports, medications, shaving kits, or cosmetic bags. Packing the necessary things will ensure you hit the ground running and leave nothing to the imagination.
Arrange for Accommodations and Intra-city Movements
When you are going on a business trip, arrange for your hotel and afterward plan for intra-city movements. Doing it before you arrive at your location, will allow you the needed freedom to settle down quickly and attend to business. You could hire a vehicle or arrange for a driver to chauffeur you around; hiring a vehicle would mean you need to have an international drivers licence which allows you to drive around in the foreign city you are visiting. You can easily obtain it at the U.S. Department of State or any other trusted merchant/dealer.
You can contact your bank to learn about their foreign exchange management practices and how to convert your home currency to the currency of the country you are visiting. In addition, you can ask your bank if you can use your ATM card in the country you are visiting. If it is not possible, request a card you can use in the country of your destination.
Ensure Your Passport is Valid
Check your passport to know when it is expiring and bear in mind that some countries do not accept travels on a passport that would expire within six months. If yours would expire within that period, make sure you renew it before the date of your journey. Get all your paper works ready, including your international driver license.
Study the Local City Etiquette
Cultures differ in big ways, before embarking on a trip, ensure you research about the city; find out about their dress codes, know their greetings, foods, how meetings are conducted in the country or city. This will help you prepare ahead and quickly blend in.
Here is some information that can help in your research: the websites and agencies below provide sufficient information that will make your first ever business trip or next business trip a huge success.
- FBI to learn about safety and security for business trips
- UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Travel advice by country’ page, the Executive Planet website, or the U.S. Department of State website for guides by county.
- Business Traveller websites for news on hotels, food, and transportation
- Download the Culture Guides mobile app for information about local customs by country.
Make Business Travel Easier
Armed with this information, I hope that your next business trip will be a memorable one.