Traveling abroad for business or work is vastly different than traveling for pleasure. As an aspiring entrepreneur or someone who has recently joined the ranks of upper management, you can expect frequent business trips. Traveling with a professional goal in mind is often stressful. Not only that travel in itself is unpredictable, but there’s additional pressure to do everything right; otherwise, you might miss out on life-changing business opportunities.
Here are five things you need to know before traveling abroad for business or work.
You Should Book Your Flights as Early as Possible
Booking your flights as early as possible gives you more choices in terms of comfort, convenience, and price. International trips are long and physically draining, so the additional flexibility that comes with early bookings can help you avoid various inconveniences. Consider picking an aisle seat, especially if the flight takes several hours. That extra space will make a difference in comfort level.
When you book early, you also have more flights available. Thus, you can pick suitable departure or arrival hours so you will not arrive in a foreign country in the middle of the night.
You Need Time to Secure Visas
If you’re a CEO, your company will be responsible for gathering the documentation for your visa application. However, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you will have to secure the visa personally. Remember to check the visa requirements as early as possible. Some countries offer visa-on-arrival, but others require business travelers to apply in advance. If your passport has less than six months of validity left, you will have to renew it.
To avoid any inconvenience, give yourself plenty of time to get all your documentation in order. Thus, any potential delay in document processing will not affect your departure.
Travel Insurance Is Essential
Before departure, you need to book flights, secure visas, assign tasks to your team, and prepare your materials or presentation for the event or meeting. With so much to do, it can be easy to forget about travel insurance.
Unfortunately, as nerve-racking as it is to think about it, canceled flights, lost luggage, accidents, and bouts of sickness are common occurrences. Travel and health insurance helps you manage potential emergencies abroad with minimal losses and damages. If you need urgent medical attention, the insurance carrier will cover the costs and put you in contact with reputable medical facilities.
Insurance can give you peace of mind so you can focus on your business goals without worries. Many leading international travel health insurance providers offer affordable and comprehensive plans for short- and long-term travelers and global workers.
You May Experience Jet Lag
Many travelers underestimate the symptoms of jet lag. When you travel with a business goal in mind, you have to meet prospective clients or business partners and present your company or product. Unfortunately, jet lag can stop you from performing at your best. Besides the obvious symptom of sleepiness, you may also experience irritability, lethargy, delayed response time, difficulties with focus, anxiety, headache, and nausea.
Jet lag symptoms can be debilitating, and recovery usually takes between 24 to 48 hours. To avoid attending an important international meeting or event while under the effects of jet lag, consider arriving a day or two before. This will give your body the chance to adjust to the time differences.
Cultural Differences Can Pose Challenges
As a business traveler, your goal is to form valuable relationships with foreign partners, clients, suppliers, or investors. When connecting with people from another country, cultural differences matter a lot, even in the business environment.
Before your trip, consider researching various aspects of the local culture. Having at least a basic understanding of cultural differences will help you navigate social contexts easier.
To show your respect for the local culture and customs, consider learning common greetings and a few key phrases in the native language. In many situations, it can also be helpful to hire a translator. Read about social conduct, personal space boundaries, and levels of formality.
Some cultures follow strict formal rules in business environments, whereas others are more casual in business settings. Doing some research in advance will help you determine what is appropriate and what is not. Whether you’re trying to make a sale, sign a contract, or attract funds, making a good impression is critical.
Traveling abroad for business or work comes with a unique set of challenges. To ensure you will achieve all your business goals while away, plan your trip accordingly. Remember to delegate tasks so the workflow in the office is not affected in your absence. It’s also crucial to stay connected with your team so you can provide assistance and feedback in case of a work-related emergency. Last but not least, relish the chance to become a global citizen.