Traveling internationally for business involves more than simply booking air travel to another country. And there is much more involved than just making sure you have packed enough clothes or brought along your favorite business ties.
Going global can be complicated for a number of reasons, including language barriers, cultural differences, as well as simply learning how to get around. For business people traveling on foreign soil, it’s vital to understand how to prepare for interacting in an unfamiliar culture.
Let’s take a look at how to make your international travels go as smoothly as possible.
Going Global: 7 Tips for New Business Travelers
When you start a new job that requires international travel, you may be overwhelmed. Knowing what to bring and how to get access to the things you need is key. Check out this article for 7 helpful tips.
1. Seek to Understand the Culture:
When preparing to travel internationally for business one of the smartest things you can do is take the time to understand the culture.
Learn everything you can. Buy books about the country, on topics like customs, negotiating styles, and the proper use of names. Keep in mind that it doesn’t take much to offend people, and most faux pas can be easily avoided with even minimal preparation. Try to book a hotel in the city center so you can dive into the culture of the place you are visiting. For example, hotels in Spokane Washington are located near important buildings and places. Try some of the local food and activities to better understand the culture.
Cultural differences are complex. And outsiders are often viewed with suspicion. Applying yourself to understanding the nuances of a foreign country will not only make you a better citizen of the world, it will also make you a more effective business person.
2. Learn Their Protocol and Etiquette Practices:
When you travel to another country, it’s important to adapt to their general etiquette practices. Remember that not every country shares the same workweek, and the genders are often treated differently.
Be careful about using gestures that are commonplace in your home country. This could include shaking hands, giving someone a thumbs up, waving to someone, or even the order in which you great people in a group.
Many countries take religious customs, business manners, and dietary practices very seriously. So the more you educate yourself, the smoother your interactions will be.
3. Try to Stay Connected:
International phone plans can be complicated when traveling outside your home country. Contact your service provider and discuss your travel plans with them. They are typically very helpful with explaining what international calling plans they offer and what they charge for those services.
Being able to connect to home and to the office is vital, so don’t take for granted that communication networks in other countries will be easily available or reliable.
Another thing to consider is charger cords for your phone and computer. Other countries often have different types of wall outlets. Once in the country, you might need to visit a store to pick up a charger to make sure that all your devices stay powered up.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of using package consolidation for your business.
4. Have a Well-Planned Itinerary:
An itinerary serves a number of purposes when traveling abroad. First, leaving a copy with family members, colleagues, and friends is a way of providing them with a record of your planned whereabouts, in case they haven’t heard from you by scheduled times.
It also helps you stay organized. You will likely have multiple meetings each day and will have to travel between locations, stop for meals, and connect with various contacts. Establishing a specific itinerary in advance helps keep your busy agenda on track.
5. Protect Yourself:
It’s often easy to forget the risks involved with international travel. Every destination poses its own unique risks, and so a smart traveler will want to keep up-to-date on potential safety issues.
Do plenty of research. Make sure your insurance companies offer good travel policies and keep in mind that your policy may not cover travel in every country or in all circumstances.
Also, take a look at your health plan carrier because there is always the very real possibility of a sudden illness or injury. Find out about your hospitalization options, what kind of treatments are covered, and whether or not the plan includes being airlifted by helicopter.
6. Keep Up with Travel Advisories:
Keeping an eye on government-issued advisories is another way of watching out for your own safety. This is an effective resource for staying abreast of various health issues, terrorism threats, political unrest, and even natural disasters. The more informed you are, the better you will be able to make travel decisions.
When you are knowledgeable about the current state of a country, you will be able to establish backup plans. Make sure that the country has an embassy or consulate so that in a worst-case scenario you won’t be stranded.
7. Learn the Language:
Learning the native tongue is of vital importance if you plan to spend a significant amount of time doing business in the country that you are visiting. Not only will it help you to interact with locals, and function more smoothly day to day, the effort will be greatly appreciated by your business associates.
You might want to consider hiring a language tutor. It would definitely be worth the time and expense. As you become more proficient, you’ll also develop a greater appreciation for the people of that culture.
Aside from dedicating yourself to studying the language, you might consider at least hiring a translator. This can help with subtle differences in languages that a novice might not be immediately familiar with.
The Art of International Business Travel
Going global can take your business to the next level. Especially if your work takes you to a variety of different countries and different cultures. Wherever you go, your destination will present a tremendous amount of new information to familiarize yourself with.
Overseas markets offer companies massive opportunities for growth. But doing business internationally isn’t simply a matter of doing things the way you are accustomed to doing them.
You must take the host cultures seriously, and respect their business protocols and ways of life.
Click here to see a list of things to keep in mind for a successful business.
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Tags: Business Travelers , communication networks , international travel