How to Plan an International Business Trip
Planning an international business trip is a completely different procedure from organizing your family vacation. Here, you are the ambassador of your corporation, therefore you need to represent its goals in the best possible way. Too much pressure, isn’t it? Well, there is more. Apart from being completely ready for the meeting with the representatives of other companies, you also need to know a lot about customs and etiquette of a target country. That will facilitate your communication and successful cooperation with other colleagues. However, before you ever reach this point, you need to organize the entire trip and pay attention to a lot of details.
If you are freaking out about all these stuff, it’s completely normal. Being a corporate rookie isn’t that simple at all, especially when you are supposed to represent your company in the important international event. Here are some basic things you should consider before you embark on such a frustrating and complex endeavor.
Create a list of tasks
When planning such a complex venture that consists of various details and obligations you need to fulfill, it is likely that you will forget something important. That is why you should create a checklist of things that need to be done. For example, you should include flight and hotel reservations, setting your budget, contacting your embassy, clarifying objects and goals of the meeting, as well as learning a lot about culture and rules of the country. All of these steps could play an important role in your future career.
Book airfare and hotel on time
If you want to completely relax when planning an international trip, you need to plan everything ahead of time. This means that if you want the best and most comfortable seat on a plane, you need to book it on time. You should do the same when it comes to your hotel room. Either your secretary makes these reservations or you do that on your own, you should make sure that your reservations are still valid. Also, it is highly recommended that you book a flight the day before the meeting in order to arrive on time, take a rest and prepare yourself for the event.
Make sure that you have all documents needed
Before you go to a foreign country, you need to have valid documentation. Let’s start with a passport, which needs to be renewed if it is within six months before expiration. Also, you need to check if you need a visa. Without it, you cannot travel to a lot of countries. There are numerous programs and services that can offer you information about necessary documents before you start planning your trip.
Look for travel advisories
There are numerous travel advisories you need to check if you want to be completely prepared for your international business travel. For example, you should learn a lot about geography and demography of the country or a region where you are going to spend some time. Such programs are especially important for they make you pay attention to hazards like terrorism, political unrest, natural disasters, attacks on tourists or serious contagious diseases. Once you are familiar with all these issues, you will be prepared for even the worst-case scenario.
The best way to protect yourself is to choose the insurance that will cover all your needs. However, the kind of insurance depends on the place you are going to visit. Therefore, you need to know a lot about your insurance plan and to see if there is a way to get another policy that would cover you in a foreign country, under all circumstances.
Learn something about customs and etiquette
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” says a famous Latin proverb. If you want to avoid embarrassing misunderstandings, you should learn the nation’s language, customs and protocol. For example, you could learn some basic phrases, such as: “Thank you,” “Good morning,” “How much is it?” That’s how you will communicate with ease and impress your foreign hosts. You could also learn some elementary historical, geographical and cultural facts, as well as people’s etiquette, currency, working hours and nutrition. This will depict you as a young, ambitious person driven by lust for new discoveries and knowledge.
Do your homework
In such meetings, you don’t represent yourself as an individual, but your entire company. This might be really tricky if you don’t prepare properly. Such preparations aren’t that difficult at all. Apart from getting to know rules and customs of your hosts, you should also be prepared for every meeting. Otherwise, you will be considered unsophisticated and lethargic. If both your hosts and your company label you as unprepared for some higher positions, your career will stagnate or even plummet. In the worst-case scenario, you might lose your international account or even your job.
One of the most amazing ways to draw the attention of your foreign colleagues is to bring some custom branded giveaways and give them out after or during the meeting. People have always related promotional material to well-established, powerful and successful companies. Also, they will be able to see your plans and goals and get interested in the further cooperation.
Strengthen the bonds
One of the most amazing things related to your international trip is that you will meet a lot of new colleagues from all around the world and have an amazing opportunity to make new friends and strengthen professional bonds. One day, they can recommend you for a higher position or give you a useful advice. All you have to do is to stay in contact with those people. Send them a couple of emails after the trip and thank them for having a great time.
All in all, planning an international business trip might be really exhausting and frustrating, but it might result in the improvement of your future career. If you follow these tips, you will be able to do everything properly and represent both yourself and your company in a better light. Finally, your bosses and international colleagues will appreciate your contribution, enthusiasm and loyalty.
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