Preparing for international travel requires more planning and more time than when traveling domestically. Focus on these 5 things before your next international business trip.
Business trips within the United States can be stressful enough. When your destination is located in another country, the many things you need to think about and consider can feel downright overwhelming. But preparing for international travel doesn’t have to be difficult.
In fact, you can break down you’re planning into just a few key categories to make things more manageable.
Here’s a look at 5 things to address before and during your travels overseas.
1. Don’t Let Visas Slow You Down
American citizens can travel to the vast majority of countries without a visa. But that’s not always the case. Check if you need a visa well in advance of international travel, as the visa process can be slow in many cases.
2. Find the Right Flight (and Seat)
Choosing the right flight (and the right seat on that flight) is one of the most important tasks when planning an international business trip. The right flight is the one that gets you where you need to go with plenty of rest, with plenty of time to adjust to a new time zone, and with the fewest number of connections possible. The right seat on that flight is the one that provides ample space, easy access to restrooms, and (hopefully) an empty seat next to it.
Of course, all companies have budget constraints when it comes to international travel. It would be nice to have a first-class ticket, but that’s not always possible. If you ask someone who’s previously traveled to your foreign destination, though, you may find that premium economy is a great solution on your trip. So talk to others who have visited the same city before, and get their thoughts on best flights, best seats, how to navigate airports, etc.
3. Pack Like a Pro
Always carry on when possible. Check the weather before you travel, and pack as lightly as possible with clothing appropriate for the elements and the culture. Also, remember that international carriers may have different limitations for carry-on bags than domestic carriers, so familiarize yourself with relevant restrictions before you get to the airport.
Why should you plan to carry on? Because bags get lost more easily as you cross borders and make multiple connections — as you often do when traveling internationally. Don’t risk the success of your international business trip by checking a bag. Check out these top picks for backpacks by Travel + Leisure.
4. Fight Back Against Jetlag
Even seasoned international travelers struggle with their internal clocks after changing time zones. Try to build as much adjustment time as possible into your itinerary. Also, drink lots of water and get plenty of rest during the flight. Once you arrive at your destination, spending time in the sunlight will help you reset your clock, as will getting on a meal schedule that aligns with the local time.
5. Learn the Culture, Act Like a Local
It’s always important to be thoughtful about cultural differences when you travel internationally. This is even more essential when you’re traveling for business. Without a basic understanding of the local culture, you risk embarrassing yourself or even offending the colleagues or clients whom you’re visiting.
Take time to research your destination before leaving. Learn key phrases in the local dialect (like “hello,” “please,” “thank you,” etc.). And take note of everyday traditions, rituals or greetings that you’ll be expected to participate in.
Get Support for Your Business Travelers
International business travelers don’t have to go it alone. At JTB Business Travel, we provide real-time support for our clients and their travelers, including services like trip disruption assistance. Get in touch to learn more about how we can support you before, during and after international business trips.