One of the perks of being an entrepreneur or top-tier manager is that there is always the possibility of traveling around the country on important business. Travel is an important part of running and developing a company as it can help you increase your networking opportunities and also gives you the chance to meet with clients in their own offices.
Once your business has grown to a certain point, you might want to think about preparing it for an international market. Once you start to get ready to take your business to other countries, you will need to set up some meetings in foreign countries so that you can start to set up a network of contacts and clients over there.
You will find that international business travel is a lot more complicated to organize than domestic travel. After all, you will have to contend with a new culture and differing time zones as well as all the usual problems that normal business travel throws at you.
However, business travel doesn’t have to cause you too much of a headache. Especially when you have the following tips that can help you plan some efficient business travel.
Get All Your Travel Documents In Order
If you don’t have a valid passport of all the correct visa documentation, then you won’t be getting very far! So, firstly you need to check your passport to make sure that it is still in date. Some countries require you to have at least six months still to go on your passport. If you only have, say, four months left on your passport when you try to enter the country, you will probably not be let in. Because of this, it’s a good idea to update your passport when there only six months left of it being valid. If you are traveling far, you will probably also need to arrange a visa. Each country has different restrictions and requirements when they issue visas, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you and any fellow travelers meet these before you apply for your visa. Otherwise, you will waste money on an expensive visa application. You can check whether or not you will need a visa on this website. The visa application process can be very long so make sure you apply in plenty of time to make sure you get your visa before you travel.
Prepare Your Itinerary Before You Leave
You will no doubt be heading abroad with certain goals and targets in your mind. To ensure that you meet everything that you set out to do, you should create an itinerary. This should include all of the meetings and appointments that you have already arranged for your trip. If you are only traveling to meet and work with one other company, it’s a good idea to create an itinerary that you can give them. This will give them a good idea of the things you want to do during your trip. Not only that, though, but a well-thought-out itinerary will reflect well on your company, and you will come across as extremely professional.
Book Suitable Accommodation
You will also need to organize some accommodation for your entire trip. There are different accommodation options available, such as hotels, apartments, and Airbnb rooms. Whichever you decide on will probably depend on your budget. Generally speaking, it works out much cheaper to go self-catered, though you may be able to afford to stay in a hotel if your business is paying. If you are planning regular trips to the country, you might like the idea of finding an apartment to rent on a long-term basis so that you don’t need to find a hotel or short-term apartment for every trip. This could also be useful if you are planning on opening an office in the country at some point in the future, as you will then have an apartment for a member of staff to move into when they go to set up the office.
Brush Up On The Local Culture
Every country has its very own culture and way of life, and you should read up on the local culture of your destination before you leave. This is especially important if there is a completely different business culture than from back at home. For instance, some countries have very specific business etiquette and traditions. One country in which there is a strict business etiquette to adhere to is Japan. For example, they take their business cards very seriously, and you should never write notes on somebody’s card as that is seen as very rude. There are also some other small pieces of etiquette that you should follow while in Japan, such as never blowing your nose in public and never patting anyone on the back or shoulder. These are just an example of one country’s curious business etiquette, but it’s necessary to research your destination to make sure that you know exactly what is expected from you in a business scenario.
Dabble With The Language
As English is the main language of business, you won’t be expected to be fluent in the destination’s native language. However, if you do have someone working in your company who can speak the language, then it could be useful to take them with you. But it could also be handy for you to study some of the basics of the language. This will help you get around when you aren’t busy with business meetings and networking. For example, it would be very useful to learn some vocabulary to help you get from the airport to your accommodation. Not only that but if you have some free time to explore, then you might find that some basic language skills come in very useful when you are exploring the city or tourist attractions. Another benefit of learning some basic grammar and vocabulary is that it will really impress the local businessmen who you are planning to meet. Even though you won’t be able to carry out the entire meeting in their native tongue, you can still impress them by greeting them in the language. This will come across as very professional and will show that you are prepared to go above and beyond for these potential new clients.
Plan Your Cash
Each country has an entirely different way of handling money. For instance, in the United States, the majority of people simply buy things with their credit cards. As a result, almost every shop, restaurant, and cafe accepts both card and cash payments. However, this isn’t the case in every country. For example, people rarely use their cards to pay for things in Germany, and the country relies heavily on cash payments. This means that the majority of restaurants and cafes do not accept card payments. Most shops do accept cards now, but only German ones. So, as you can see, it is important to figure out what the money situation is at your destination as this will help you figure out whether or not you need to carry a lot of cash on you.
Don’t Forget Insurance
It’s important that you get some travel insurance before you depart as this will protect you while you are traveling abroad. Some insurance companies offer year-long policies that will cover all the business trips you take within the year. Make sure that your policy includes things like cover for delayed flights, lost luggage, and any bills due to injury and illness. It is also necessary to consider your destination and add on any extra policy details that might be useful. For instance, if you are traveling to somewhere like Austria or France, you might end up going skiing during your trip. If this is a possibility, you should make sure you take out a policy that covers snow sports. Similarly, if you are traveling to Southeast Asia, Africa, or South America, you should double check that your insurance policy covers treatment for tropical diseases.
Think About Devices And Connectivity
There is no doubt that you will want to stay well connected to your company office back home while you are traveling away. So, you will need to pack devices that will enable you to do so. You won’t have to weigh down your hand luggage with a heavy laptop anymore as mobile tablets are now powerful enough to carry out all the tasks that laptops can. Just remember to pack the appropriate power adaptors! Not every country uses the same plug sockets, so you will need to find the type used in your destination and then buy an adaptor accordingly. It is also worth letting your smartphone provider know that you will be going abroad as they can offer you special deals for cheaper international calls and text messages. But don’t forget that there are now many free ways of staying in touch with those back home. For instance, you can always use Skype, Whatsapp, and Google Hangouts.
So there we have it, international business travel made easy!