Packing is never the most enjoyable thing in the world, but if you’re going on vacation at least you can look forward to finally using your bathing suit or busting out that new GoPro you recently bought.
Packing for a business trip is the same monotonous activity without the exciting times to look forward to. Sure, you could be looking forward to a different city and closing that deal, but it’s hard to argue that a business trip is more fun than a vacation.
You’re probably already a pro when it comes to packing for a domestic trip and you could do it in your sleep. With a travel heavy job, you probably have done it in your sleep before.
But what happens when you’re going internationally? Is there anything else that you should be aware of before hopping on the plane.
The answer to that is yes, there are some extra things you should think about and extra precautions you should take.
The Red Tape
If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you have your passport up to date and valid for travel. It depends on the country, but some require you to have your passport valid up to six months past your departure date.
More than likely, you don’t have running knowledge of all countries entry requirements. You can always head to your country’s exterior office or ministry, like the State Department for the United States.
There, you’ll have a rundown of any necessary visas or paperwork you may need. Business travelers may need to bring a letter stating the intent of your business trip. Others may need a letter of sponsorship.
Just make sure you find out the answers to these questions well ahead of time.
Supply and Demand
You can probably find X store close to your own home in a matter of minutes. Finding X store in a different country, however, may be a different story. Shops may not be open when you need them or a taxi ride is way too expensive for just a few things.
Let’s say you forgot to grab binders to hand out at the meeting. It might be hard for you to run down to the store and find what you need immediately. That’s why it’s a good idea to stock up on basic supplies, just in case something goes wrong. You don’t have to be a freight car, hauling stuff all around but have a few backups just in case.
Bonus tip: Be sure to carry branded items with you so that you can represent your brand everywhere you go. This can be a t-shirt, tote with your logo, or even something small like business ink pens. It’s always a good idea to get your brand out to as many people as possible and traveling is a great way to meet a lot of people.
You can’t go anywhere without your phone these days, especially as a business traveler. Make sure your phone plan will carry over to the foreign country you’re traveling to so you can check those emails and receive any important calls.
Also, bring a reliable power converter if you’re going to a country with a different voltage. You’d be surprised how many people completely forget about this step and arrive only to see that their plugs aren’t going to work with any of the sockets.
It’s always important to remember that when you are in someone else’s country, you are their guest. Even if you do not know all the rules and customs, it doesn’t give you an excuse to repeatedly violate the code of conduct.
Take the time to learn a bit of the language, just the basics, before you head out. Research business practices and if there is anything specific you should pay attention to or be wary of. Having that base knowledge is going to help you tremendously while you navigate your way through everything.
The Money Question
Credit cards are becoming more popular, but they’re not the be-all, end-all around the world. Cash is still king in many parts.
It will be better for you and your wallet if you try to use the local currency as much as possible. Many places simply don’t take credit cards and you’ll see a double charge for those that do when looking at your credit card statement.
The best way to get cash is to withdraw it from a machine when you arrive there, as you’ll pay the one withdrawal rate at the beginning instead of being hit with different charges along the way.