A COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLIST FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Traveling abroad is no easy task – more so when you are traveling for business. The general rigors of traveling aside, business trips require a greater deal of organization and coordination, given that ultimate objective is to have things work out in the best interest of your work and/or business.
Here is a handy checklist that explains the essential items that you must include on your packing list for a smooth, hassle-free business trip.
While this isn’t exactly an item by definition, doing proper research is extremely essential to keep your business trip smoot. When you are traveling from one country to another, it is very important to know all that is necessary about your destination, so that you do not run into any unnecessary problems that prevent you from reaching your objective.
Here are some things you must know in advance:
- Local laws and regulations: Laws and regulations differ from one country to another – something that is completely legal in one country may be completely illegal in another. Having a knowledge about them will help you stay away from any potential trouble and/or inconveniences.
- Culture, customs and rules of etiquette: As with laws and regulations, every country has its own set of customs and rules of etiquette. Knowing about these will help you conduct your business more smoothly and make your travel experience more positive and fulfilling.
- Alerts and/or warnings (if any): Knowing about any potential risks (be it natural or man-made) in your destination country (if applicable) should always be a priority.
- Rules of entry: Rules of entry in a country depends completely upon the passport you hold. It is therefore imperative that you know the specific rules of entry for the destination country, so that you are not caught unaware and without the required documentation at crucial moments.
- Money matters: Currency varies from one country to another, and so does the rules of banking. Knowing about rates of exchange, banking rules, and ATM and transaction charges allows you to retain your purchasing power whilst utilizing your money in the best possible manner. It also helps you decide whether it is easier to exchange your money in your home or destination country.
Having your documents in place – literally and figuratively is extremely essential when you are abroad. Without that, you may end up in varying degrees of trouble that may completely disrupt your trip and its very purpose.
The most important documents that you must keep in-check are:
- Passport: Your passport is literally the most important document on the list. Without your passport, it will be impossible for you to even set foot on the airplane. Always make sure that your passport has at least two blank pages and remains valid for a minimum of six months after your return date. This is because some countries do not allow people with less than 6-month passport expiration date to enter in order to prevent them from overstaying. Make sure to have copies of your passport that you can use in case of emergencies.
- Visa: Rules for Visa differ depending on the passport you hold as well as your destination country’s rules, the reasons and the length of your stay. In the event that you are required to have a Foreign Visa beforehand, make sure it is UpToDate and well within your reach. It is good practice to keep it with your passport and have multiple copies. In other situations, you will be required get your visa upon arrival to your destination country.
- Airline Tickets: Having your airline tickets is a must. Without them, you will not be able to board your plane. A good practice in this regard is to book your flights in advance and keep the tickets close to where you keep your passport.
- Hotel Confirmation: Having a copy of your hotel confirmation helps you to keep your accommodation process seamless and can help you navigate better in a foreign country where you are not aware of all routes.
- Insurance: It is good practice to have a solid plan for health insurance and a plan for travel insurance – while the former will cover health issues, the latter will cover any disaster or other unforeseen event that may occur within the duration of your trip. Make sure that your plan is one that suits your particular requirement and does not expire in the short term.
- Prescriptions for medications: When it comes to medications, laws differ from one country to another. What may be over the counter for you, may be a prescription-only drug in another country. Therefore, if you are going to carry any medications, make sure to have a doctor’s prescription to avoid running into trouble with authorities. Having a doctor’s prescription also allows you to buy medications in case that is needed.
- Itineraries: Having your itinerary helps you conduct business more efficiently and waste as less time as possible. It also helps others (such as your staff and those you will me meeting with) know about your schedule and act accordingly.
- Maps and Guides: Maps and guides can (and should) be present on your devices in the form of downloaded files and apps. That said, you must also have hard copies of essential maps and guides which can help you in case your devices fail (due to lack of internet connectivity or lack of charge).
Gadgets and Electronics
In today’s day and age, when work is incomplete without the latest electronic gadgets and software. Here are the essential must-haves:
- Mobile phone: This one is a no-brainer – mobile phones are quite literally the lifeline of communications. Make sure that you have charging cords and that your phone is charged and has all things (like the OS and apps) updated.
- Laptop and/or tablet: Besides having a mobile, having a laptop and/or tablet is essential, especially for things like business presentations and the like.
- Plug converters: Plug and socket shapes vary from one country to another. Having a plug converter prevents you from being caught unaware and allows you make use of the power supply no matter what its format is.
- Portable battery charger: Having a portable charger or power bank proves helpful if you need to charge your devices but have no outlet you can use. Believe it or not, such situations crop up during travels all the time.
- Portable WiFi Hotspot: Portable WiFi helps keep connectivity, especially when it is least available. Not to mention that it will help you save hundreds in roaming charges.
- Flash Drives: Keeping copies of important files and presentations in flash drives will save you from the inconvenience of having to download them, especially when you are unsure regarding matters of internet connectivity.
Business Related Supplies:
Given that conducting business is the intention of your trip, it is important to have some basic business-related equipment handy. Here are some of the things that you must definitely include:
- Office Supplies: You do not need to carry your entire office stationery collection with you, but you do need to carry the essential items so that you can have your process in place. A simple portable office supplies kit includes pens, pencils, a notepad, paperclips, and sticky notes.
- Business Cards: Even if you are going to meet familiar faces, you must always have a few business cards ready with you. Not only do they help you introduce yourself better when meeting new people, they work as excellent name badges.
- Envelopes: Carrying enveloped (especially 10″ x 13″ envelopes) allows you to keep important documents such as letters, and store expense receipts safely.
Personal Care Products
Having your personal care products in place is an absolute must. Not only do they help you take care of your health best, they help you stay comfortable and save you from the hassle of having to buy and try out products during a time when you need to concentrate on your work and business.
Here are some must-have that you must include:
Purse and Wallet: Having a purse and wallet with essential items is a must. Must-haves for the purse include a pen and notepad, ID, breath mints and medications. Must have for the wallet include cash, ID and credit cards.
Clothes: Having the right clothes is important to maintain a good look whilst being comfortable. A good practice is to carry basic clothes that are comfortable and look good in formal situations. This includes a travel outfit (for traveling outside of the office) along with basic bottoms, a jacket or blazer, and tops/ blouses or sweaters (if applicable).
Cosmetics and toiletries: Your toiletries should include shampoo and conditioner, hairspray, face cleanser, toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor, and make-up. Make sure to pack them in a toiletry bag or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to consider travel restrictions and keep the quantities of all liquids and gels within 3 ounces. Apart from these, make sure to pack a hand sanitizer, which can help you escape sticky situations.