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5 Questions to Ask Before an International Business Trip

Monday, April 3, 2017 | Posted by: Alpha Kappa Psi

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Traveling abroad can be a fun time, especially when you’re going for business. However, traveling to foreign places brings about some considerations. Here are 5 important questions to ask before your next international business trip.

1. Does Their Business Culture Differ from Mine?

Regardless of where you travel, business is still business. There are still certain quirks that every culture has regarding professionalism. This could be anything from the appropriate greeting, to their definition of “lateness,” to dress code.  Do some research ahead of your trip to gather some ideas about how to interact with your business contacts. What seems like a small detail to us could be a deal breaker to those waiting to meet you.

2. How Heavy Will the Language Barrier Be?

We’re fortunate that most of the business world understands and speaks English to some degree, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be faced with language barriers. English is rarely a country’s first official language, so it’s important that you study up on some very practical, common phrases and terms like traditional or ritualistic greetings, food orders, asking for directions, and of course, saying thank you. Google’s Translate app can also prove a great resource, though it might be considered rude to use it constantly.

3. What Travel Documents Do I Need?

Of course, you’ll always need to keep your passport handy, and it wouldn’t hurt to also have your Social Security card in the hotel room safe, in case you need secondary proof of US citizenship. Some foreign countries might have very strict travel regulations and require additional travel and work visas for which you might need to go through a lengthy application process. Find out what additional documents you might need before your trip, especially if you plan to be in a foreign nation for more than a few days.

4. Are There Any Vaccinations Required?

Every region faces its own epidemics and diseases. Depending on your destination, you might be required to receive vaccinations prior to your trip. Sometimes these vaccinations will be required by your destination’s government, and sometimes they’ll be required by the United States. In both cases, vaccination requirements are set in place to avoid the spread of diseases and viruses. It’s also a good idea to make sure your tetanus shot is current—you never know what might happen!

5. What’s the Time and Date Difference?

Odds are, you’re going to also need to stay in contact with your coworkers and associates back in the States. If you’re flying half-way around the world, then you’ll probably be operating on a very different time schedule. If you’re going to Asia or Australia, you may even want to go a day early to give yourself time to sleep and get adjusted. Plan in advance with coworkers if any early or late meetings will be required to keep things back home running smoothly.

What are some other things to consider when preparing to travel abroad for business? Is there anything you wish you’d done before your first international business trip? Share with us!

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