International travel is not confined to luxury holidays and exploratory journeys. Millions of people fly overseas for work every year. Despite the pandemic hiccup, international business travel witnessed a rapid recovery in 2022, and the numbers have been steadily increasing since then. After all, organizations need to prospect clients and attend events to expand their horizons.
According to a 2022 survey, nearly one-quarter of travel managers stated that the corporate travel spending for trips to Europe would be more than in pre-pandemic times. Europe continues to be the prime destination, and the numbers have increased for other countries as well.
As a first-time business traveler, you may have a fair share of valid concerns regarding bookings, budgets, documentation, and local transit. Fortunately, a little planning sets you up for a hassle-free experience, regardless of your destination.
We have a checklist of tried and true tips to make your first international work trip a breeze.
Research Your Destination
Whether you plan to travel to a bustling business hub like London or a laid-back location like Auckland, you should know your destination before landing. Knowing your potential business partner or client isn’t enough for a successful tour. You also need to familiarize yourself with the local customs, culture, cuisine, language, and etiquette to make a mark.
Remember to research local transportation options because you don’t want to be stranded at the airport or in busy business areas after meetings. Let us consider the example of Bristol, a much-visited destination for Americans due to thriving technology, electronics, and creative media industries. The good thing is that you can get a luxury Bristol airport taxi transfer service to reach the airport on time.
Bristol Taxi & Chauffeuring recommends ensuring a reliable ride to the airport to avoid last-minute stress and rush. When researching your destination as a first-time corporate flier, you should pay attention to this factor.
Organize Documentation and a Travel Itinerary
Documentation is perhaps the trickiest part of international tours. Besides a valid passport, a visa is often a requirement for overseas travelers. While American citizens can visa-free travel to 148 countries, they need to apply for a visa beforehand to enter the remaining destinations. Remember to check the visa application timelines and get your visa beforehand. Post-pandemic journeys may require additional health documents.
After organizing the hard and soft copies of your passport, visa, health checks, travel insurance, and business papers, creating a detailed travel itinerary should be on your checklist. Share it with a family member, friend, or colleague in case of emergencies. Try fitting in your leisure time to make your first international work trip memorable.
Pack Like a Pro
Did you know that most airlines struggle with lost and delayed baggage? Likewise, travelers often face hefty penalties due to excess luggage. Packing like a pro is the best way to avoid lost baggage and fines for extra weight. Traveling for work does not mean carrying heavy loads of formal suits, fancy accessories, and heavy shoes.
Prepare a practical packing checklist to avoid extra load and ensure that you have every essential in your bags. Pick versatile clothing items and accessories you can mix and match for different meetings, events, and outings. Go minimalist with essentials like travel-sized toiletries, a small first aid kit, and any specific medications you need. Also, pack a universal power adapter and portable charger.
Techniques like rolling instead of folding and using packing cubes also make a difference. Try limiting yourself to carry-on luggage if possible.
Choose an Appropriate Accommodation
Your first international business trip can be a lot easier if you choose the appropriate accommodation. Unless your employer or host books a hotel for you, researching your options should be a priority. Look for a place close to your meetings because it can save you a fortune on local commutes. Check your budget, read about amenities, and go through reviews to choose wisely.
Since you may need to work during the trip, ensure that the hotel offers facilities like a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. A posh dining and conference room is a plus because they will enable you to host dinners and meetings. Remember to check leisure facilities such as a spa, swimming pool, or gym. That’s something you need to relax and unwind after long hours of meetings and conferences.
Business travel is an integral element of the corporate world. With global expansion becoming a norm, most business owners and employees need to visit destinations in the country and overseas. Your first international corporate tour can be exciting and overwhelming.
However, you can give your best by overcoming your apprehension and ensuring a stress-free experience abroad. These actionable tips set you up for a successful stint overseas as a beginner.