Business travel is not only an integral part of certain jobs; it also inescapably turns into a lifestyle. After all, the travelling itself, when added to the number of hours you actually spend working, means you really need to be dedicated to the calling of your choosing. This means that those employees, who travel worldwide, have to sacrifice a lot from their private life. It also drains a lot of energy and it can take a toll on you physically, especially if you are not well organized. In order to balance these factors out properly, here are some tips for foreign business travel.
Take some time out of your evening to plan out the itinerary. The time put in will pay off manifold in the long run. The idea is to create an itinerary that both reflects what your business needs to accomplish and leave you with enough wiggle room not to feel too constrained. This is supposed to be a smooth ride. If several meetings await for you the destination, try to fly out earlier just in case of unexpected transportation delays or other, unexpected technical difficulties.
There are also a few small obligations you need to take care of before you go, just for the sake of safety. First of all, you need to share your newly planned itinerary with several key people. Your company needs to have a copy – more specifically a boss who has sent you on a trip in the first place and at least one trusted colleague. Another copy needs to be given to a family member. This way, they will all know when they can contact you and to take necessary steps if something does not go according to plan (for example – if the flight is delayed because of a storm-caused power outage and your phone battery dies). Additionally, leave a copy of your passport, medical insurance card, and ID card with your family member and leave an emergency contact list with your boss (or a travel planner).
The luggage needs to be kept on the lighter side. After all, you are not going on a vacation. Consider what sort of an outfit you will need for meetings and add an extra pair to your suitcase as a backup. Bring only the bare bones necessities – the hotel may or may not supply you with basic items such as tooth brush and shampoo so make the assessment according to previous experiences. Staying light will help you avoid excess baggage fees. Additionally, you will not put too much strain on your suitcase, so unpredictable mishaps such as broken straps or locks are unlikely to happen.
Research Local Customs
Every once in a while, you will travel to the location that is completely culturally foreign to you. Use your computer (laptop, tablet, or a smartphone) to learn some basic information about the culture of the country you are visiting. It used to be that you needed to buy books and brochures about the country. Technology offers an unparalleled advantage as an easily accessible source of knowledge, so use it to the best of your abilities. Wikipedia and Google Maps are your greatest allies for some basic information. Search the internet for more information about protocol and etiquette practices and use the appropriate apps for business travelers.
The traveling itself can be a dragged out, utterly boring experience unless you do something to kill time and have unadulterated fun. These can range from playing games on your phone to watching movies on your laptop or simply reading a book. If you are generally a nervous person, fidget spinners, fidget cubes, or promotional stress balls of various shapes and sizes can be a neat addition to the “compulsive fun toolkit” that is an inseparable part of your every business trip.
Finally, once you arrive, make the most out of the trip. Try to stay healthy and avoid eating junk food. Try to save money by eating on a veggie side of things from a local Chinese restaurant. Having a credit card is all neat and dandy, but make sure to always have extra cash on you and always arrive early – both to the airport and meetings.
Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business and marketing news. In her free time, she enjoys reading about business technology and advertising.