So you’ve landed your first international business trip. #Winning! While the excitement of purchasing a brand new Louis Vuitton travel bag to celebrate might be at the front of your mind (hello, luxurious leather!), make sure you take some time out before your first, big corporate trip to get organized.
I am constantly traveling overseas for work and discover a new hack almost every time. I love these tips and want to share them with you to ensure that you enjoy the perks that come with business travel (even if it’s only in economy).
Here are my five top tips to get the most out of your first international business trip:
Nail Your First International Business Trip With These 6 Tips
1. Get Organized (Then You Can Celebrate)
With any international trip comes a bit of travel documentation and organization. Before embarking on your journey abroad, check that you have everything ready to go. Make sure that your passport is valid, and see if your destination has any rules regarding passport expiration dates (and other rules of entry). If you need to renew your passport, act quickly! The process can take weeks, so make sure it’s ready to go before you are.
Make sure your accommodation dates match up with your flight plan, and share your travel itinerary with someone close to you, especially if you’re traveling alone. Some flights will also let you check in prior to your day of travel – this can be a great way to reduce your wait time in those pesky airport lines and give you the peace of mind knowing that you’re ready to rock before you even get to the airport. Save time and boost your chances of getting a good night’s sleep!
Safeguard your potential purchases by comparing providers before you leave, do your research and set up an account before you depart. Prepaid travel cards, travel credit cards, travel debit cards… there are stacks of different ways you can avoid being hit with hefty transaction fees!
3. Pack a Spare Change of Clothes in Your Carry-On (You’ll Thank Me Later)
Expect the unexpected. A spare outfit and a few compact toiletries in your carry-on are a perfect backup plan should your main luggage go missing during transit or disaster strikes while in flight. If you don’t, Murphy’s Law will ensure that you land with your luggage missing at midnight, or find yourself covered in baby spew mid-flight (true story!).
This can also be handy if you’re traveling from one season to another. A quick superhero change at the airport into warmer or cooler attire can keep you feeling fresh and ready to take on what lies ahead while avoiding the need to rummage through your luggage once you’ve checked in, which is particularly stressful if you have a meeting to get to!
It’s your first international work trip, enjoy it! Browse the in-flight entertainment and order yourself a drink. Completing work 40,000 feet in the air can be distracting and before you know it, you’re starting again from scratch in your hotel room. Sit back, relax and put your KPIs on hold until after you’ve located your main luggage upon arrival!
5. Need Cash? Suss Out Your Options
Depending on where you’re traveling to, it’s likely that you’ll need some local currency on hand. It might be for a taxi fare, a cash-only restaurant, or other incidentals. Keeping a stack of cash on you, however, can be quite daunting (and dangerous), especially if traveling on your own or to a location you’re not familiar with.
International money transfer services allow you to transfer funds in your local currency and collect it on the ground once you’ve reached your destination. There is benefit in comparing transfer providers before you leave to make sure you’re getting the lowest fees and the best deal possible. This is particularly useful if you’re traveling for an extended period and might need a bit more physical cash than normal, as you won’t be constantly checking your pockets or the hotel safe to make sure your money hasn’t gone astray. You can withdraw as much as you need while you’re there, meaning that everybody wins! (And by everybody, I mean you).
6. Make a Great First Impression
As it’s a business trip, chances are you’ll want to woo all those you meet. Get to know the proper etiquette about where you’re traveling to before you land to make an impression that will really last. If you’re traveling somewhere where a foreign language is spoken, learn a few simple phrases (“hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” and “thank you” can go a long way). For international trips more generally, brush up on traditions and customs, how people address each other, and common gestures. Not only are you helping to reduce any potential barriers, but you’re also strengthening a business relationship built on consideration and respect. What are you waiting for? Break the ice!