Have you been selected to go on your very first international business trip? Well done you! It might not feel like it now but it’s a big achievement and deserves a mental pat on the back.
Going on your first overseas business trip is always exciting, but it can also be stressful, challenging and quite different to travel for pleasure. After all, you are representing your company and so making a good impression is essential. Your job is to get the sale or the deal. Or to establish a business relationship so you definitely don’t want to get wrapped up in the idea of a free overseas trip.
Preparation will be key to success and there are a number of tips which will help you to be well prepared for embarking on your first overseas trip. Keep reading for a few key things to bear in mind before you hit the road – that way your venture will be much more enjoyable too, all whilst ensuring your first trip overseas won’t be your last.
Get Documentation Together
You will want to have quick and easy access to the various documents that you need on the trip, so it is a good idea to have a wallet that is easily accessible as well as digital copies on your smartphone. You should also check that your passport is in date and make a photocopy which is kept with the rest of your documents.
Book Accommodation in Advance
Where you stay will be critical to the success of your trip as you will want somewhere that is close to where you will be working. If you are travelling to New York, then you might want to look at staying at serviced apartments in New York which will give you privacy and peace but also a few key services that you would enjoy at a hotel.
Research the Destination & Business
As with any trip overseas, you should always research the area so that you know what to expect when you arrive. If it is not an English-speaking country, then you may want to learn a few basic phrases to get by and to make a good impression. Additionally, it is important to research the business and find out about the people that you are meeting, including how to pronounce their names if you are not sure how.
This is a must for all travellers, whether you’re hitting the road for work or pleasure. Chances are you’ll be covered by your employer’s policy, but it’s best to check in with HR just to make sure. From lost luggage to unexpected flight delays, it’s best to know what’s covered and what’s not.
Check in with Your Bank
It’s a good idea to visit your bank and let them know that you will be travelling overseas for a period of time to avoid any misunderstandings while you’re on the road. There’s nothing worse than a freeze on your account while you’re in an unfamiliar destination.
Small Amount of Currency
You want to make sure you have some cash for that taxi on arrival, and so it’s always helpful to have a small amount of the local currency. This will also help to cover any unexpected costs or for tipping but be sure to keep any receipts for expenses so that you can claim them back.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make on their first overseas business trip is overpacking. You do not want to have to lug a huge suitcase around with you and instead you need to strip back to the basics, including everything that you need for work, professional attire and comfortable clothing for when you are relaxing at the end of the day.
Set Your Out of Office Reply
This one is so simple hence so easily forgotten until you’re halfway to your destination and realise you didn’t set your out of office reply. So here’s a little reminder… Make sure you flick it on before you leave the office. Even if you plan on continuing to answer emails and maintain your schedule while on the road, it’s a good idea to set a reply to let everyone know that you’re currently travelling and may have limited email access.
These tips will hopefully help to make your first overseas business trip a complete success, both from a work point of view but also from a personal enjoyment point of view. Work always comes first on these trips, but it is also a good opportunity to visit a different country and explore somewhere new. Overseas travel gets easier with each trip, but it can be daunting at first which is why it is helpful to know a few key tips.