Avoid these five mistakes
Traveling on an international business trip for the first time is exciting. The staff finally feel like official members of the jet-set club, and are real movers and shakers.
However, they must do the necessary preparations to make their trip a success. This includes the work they need to do in the office and the preparation they need in person to have a safe trip that makes the most of their time abroad. Here are five mistakes workers should avoid on their first international trip.
1. Not notifying the host team
Suppose an employee arrives in Istanbul in time for dinner at a local restaurant – but his credit card declines the fee. Minutes later, a scam alert appears on their phone. Now, they are frustrated and possibly embarrassed in front of their colleagues. What are they supposed to do abroad without getting their money?
Before traveling abroad, they must notify their financial institutions, including banks and their credit card companies. Otherwise, these companies may impose a suspension for what they consider suspicious activity, suspend people’s accounts and leave them high and dry until you correct the error – something that’s even harder to do away from home. Moreover, employees must write their contact information in a safe place – they cannot always rely on Internet access.
What happens if they get sick? If they’re Americans dropping off at a destination like Iceland or France, they’re likely to get care more quickly and more affordable than ever before in the United States.
However, some people have specific medical conditions that require a touch of their team or travel to locations where there are no modern healthcare systems. Employees who fall into this category should consider arranging emergency transportation to ease their concerns and create a Plan B.
Finally, things can happen outside. Nobody wants to think about it, but human trafficking is a problem, especially if they are female. These criminals often prey on distracted travelers. Your best bet is to get in touch with someone at home and do routine check-ins so that someone can contact the relevant authorities if they miss the allotted time and are not found.
2. Take a lot
When traveling abroad, most people do not know where the nearest grocery store or pharmacy is. They don’t want to run out of supplies, so it’s normal for them to overpack.
However, doing so can cause problems. Excess weight can cost them a lot of time at check-in. They should make sure that they know the limits that their airlines impose.
They might be able to have a stylish, portable bag full of mix-and-match favorites if they’re only going for a short trip. They can also have their tuxedo shipped to their destination instead of checking it – they’ll have more assurance that it arrived safely – and carry their socks, underwear and leisure wear in their backpack.
3. Not looking for local customs
This advice may sound strange, but employees need to carry a pen wherever they go on their journey, especially in business meetings. They may need it to refer to the main contract terms, and many Eastern countries are thinking brazenly pointing the finger.
Conversely, it is appropriate to point your middle finger in some European and Middle Eastern countries, but an American will likely get annoyed with doing so. Travelers should keep this context in mind if they hope to seal the deal – people in other cultures may find daily habits that we consider hopelessly uncivilized.
Whatever they do, non-local people should not tempt someone with their fingers or their palms in eastern countries, which find this behavior rude. People can be arrested for doing so in the Philippines, so travelers may want to keep their hands in their pockets.
4. Leave things unsafe
It is a sad fact of life that thieves love to prey on travelers. Traveling staff must ensure that their accommodations are as safe as possible. Find the destination and read other customer reviews about the location – Is the hotel in a safe area? What is the crime rate in the target neighborhood?
No one can guarantee that their hotel effectively screens their employees for rotten eggs, and many of these employees have master keys. Guests can ensure their safety in their rooms by investing in a portable travel lock that no key card can open. Some slide under the door while others attach elsewhere to the frame – no tools necessary.
Travelers also have to protect themselves on the street, as it will be obvious that they are tourists no matter how much they try to assimilate the culture. Your best bet is a belt that keeps their passport, credit cards, and emergency cash close to their bodies where pickpockets can’t slam them. They can also decide if they want to carry a cheat wallet to throw potential miscreants. Some safety experts swear by it, while others say it’s not worth the risk.
Finally, they need to protect their information online. It’s a good idea to invest in a quality VPN if their organization doesn’t provide one, although most do. They should check with the IT department before leaving if they are not sure. They should never log into their bank accounts or work servers without insurance, lest unwelcome parties witness their personal or private data.
The room safe is also a valuable resource. The housekeeping staff may have the room keys, but they may not have the kit with this device. Even better, travelers can always leave their valuables at home – swaying brass with a Rolex isn’t worth the risk of someone pulling their valuables.
5. Forget about the fun
Perhaps the main reason for a business trip is business – but employees should have a little fun, especially if this is their first trip abroad. After all, Big Ben and Parliament are sights worth seeing, and who wouldn’t want to witness the famous Changing of the Guard?
Employees should make the trip if possible, allowing an extra day or two at their destination before or after their primary work. It’s also wise to add an extra day after getting home and before returning to the office – jet lag is a real thing.
Always do an online search for popular destinations, but don’t be afraid to stray a bit off the beaten track. Visiting the Louvre is a rite of passage when traveling to France, as well as finding a small country café where one can sip wine and enjoy baguettes as the sun sets over the Eiffel Tower.
Avoid these 5 mistakes on an international business trip
Going on an international business trip for the first time is exciting. However, employees have a lot to remember besides their award-winning PowerPoint presentations.
A first-time traveler should avoid the above five mistakes during the first time on an international business trip. They will enjoy their trip more and come home with memories, not regrets.