5 Things Business People Forget to Consider Before Traveling Internationally
International business travel from the U.S. generates revenue in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. More and more businesses are becoming global entities. With the world becoming a “smaller place,” international travel has become a necessary part of doing business for many companies and their employees.
If you work in a global business, it’s always good to remember some basic tips that will make your travel to other countries less stressful. Here are five areas of concern that you should be mindful of when it comes to international travel.
1. Cell Phone Coverage may be Spotty if Available
When you’re in another country, you may not be able to make traditional phone calls like you would at home. For example, international data roaming can carry a hefty price tag. Even something as simple as sending a text in another country can add high fees to your cell phone bill. And these are just if you are even able to get coverage.
Set up your cell phone to avoid international data roaming. Many business travelers have an international calling and data plan. Some companies like Verizon and Boingo offer international hot spots on their data plans. For texting, you may want to use apps like WhatsApp to send free text messages.
2. Use of your Credit or Debit Card May be Limited
You may not be able to use your business credit or debit card easily. Limited ATM’s and customs can make buying a simple meal a real problem. If you have cash, it will be that much easier to purchase the things you’ll need while abroad. You can also easily exchange American currency for the currency of the country you’re visiting, much easier than if you were trying to use a debit or credit card.
3. Plugs and Connections may not be Compatible with Outlets
Remember that all countries don’t use the same types of electrical systems we use in the U.S. You may find that your plugs don’t fit their sockets. Different countries have different types of outlets, so if you bring your laptop or iPad to do presentations, you should pack along a power adapter or converter with you. Don’t rely on your hotel or residence to provide you with one.
4. Customs are Different in Other Countries
Make sure you have researched the country you’re visiting ahead of time. You don’t want to offend the very people you have come to do business with. Being familiar with the local customs will also show your international colleagues that you are professional in your dealings with them.
5. Your Passport’s Expiration Date
Do you know when your passport will expire? The U.S. lets you use your passport up to the date of expiration. But keep in mind that not all countries follow this practice. Some will deny you entry if you have six months or less before a passport expires. Even if you are going on a short trip that will be done months ahead of your passport’s expiration, you don’t want to risk being stranded in another country or prohibited from entering that country. You should also be aware of what type of travel your passport allows you to do. For example, a passport containing an Israeli visa may bar the traveler from entering certain countries in the Middle East.
Keeping these things in mind will help you avoid unnecessary stress during your international business travel.