The global business traveling industry is projected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. That’s 11 zeroes for those counting.
“Companies across the globe clearly understand the return on investment business travel delivers for their bottom line, Michael McCormick, COO of the Global Business Travel Association, suggests.”
Given that growth rate, however, it could be easy to mismanage your business’ time and resources. To help you out, we compiled this list of seven integral tips for global business travel.
1. Update identification information.
Your identification is everything. That’s especially true when traveling for global business. It’s also the reason why keeping important documents such as your passport, your visa, or even your prescriptions as insured as possible is crucial for any business trip.
One of the first steps you should take as a global business traveler is to log onto the U.S. Passports and International Travel website. There, you’ll find travel and security updates, more information about safeguarding your required documents and general insight into careful planning. Additionally, you can also find out when your documents expire.
However, a great deal of responsibility still falls on you. Because of that, you should curate personalized back-up plans. These could start with simple actions such as photocopying your documentation or keeping in mind that you may need certain visas for different countries because of your flight schedule.
2. Grasp travel policies.
Business travel policies can facilitate the most effective kind of traveling. These policies are typically full of information such as preferred vendors, payment processes and even advance booking requirements. But when it gets down to it, they’re really full of information that keeps your business in the loop.
That shouldn’t sound like a problem to you if you’re like the 74 percent of survey participants from Travizon’s 2015 business report who believe their business should know where they’re located, what they’re doing and how they’re spending money while traveling. These participants recognize that these policies aren’t about being intrusive because they’ve realized that travel policies are about being safe.
When you’re willing to comprehensively grasp your business’ travel policy, you’re allowing your potential global business outcomes an opportunity to showcase your critical thinking ability. You may even save some money, too. But always remember, just because global business traveling is necessary, doesn’t mean it isn’t risky.
3. Share travel plans.
Travel plans span far beyond travel policies, though. They affect you and your family and friends just as they affect you and your business. That’s why it’s beneficial to look outside of government and corporate entities for peace of mind.
As indicated by a study designed by Skift in 2016, nearly 9 out of every 10 global business travelers look forward to their business trips. However, though these experiences are generally exciting, it’s beneficial to also come to terms with the potential dangers of global business travel.
Sharing your travel plans with those close to you is of vital importance, especially when considering the uncertainty that surrounds our global community. And in that way, keeping your family and friends in the loop becomes not only a representation of intimate trust, but also a safeguard against potential issues.
4. Learn practical language.
Once you’ve laid the foundation of your global business travel planning, you can begin focusing on the unique qualities of your trip. This starts by familiarizing yourself with the native language of your travel destination. However, this doesn’t mean you should purchase a translation dictionary just yet.
According to a 2014 Priceline report, over 53 percent of global business travelers prefer to study practical language-specific words and phrases over entire languages. The sentiment here is that this shouldn’t be a daunting process. And given that you’re more than likely familiar with your international business partners, there probably already exists a common understanding between you and the reason you’re traveling in the first place.
Simply put, mastering the translated versions of words and phrases such “hello” and “thank you” should prove enjoyable — even relatively easy. However, keep in mind the individualized qualities of each international business partner you have.
5. Study cultural norms.
Your global business travel destination’s culture will be different from the one you’ve lived in your entire life. Because of that, and after you’ve successfully mastered the words and phrases necessary to maneuver efficiently, you must study the culture as a whole. Otherwise, you could cause serious damage to your business reputation.
This is about etiquette. Coming to terms with the culture you’re traveling to can be as enjoyable as learning its language. In fact, the processes themselves are intertwined. Without a proper understanding of cultural norms, subtle differences in syntax could be lost.
Simply put, wherever you travel, it’s important to keep an objective mind. The only way to do that, however, is to educate yourself as thoroughly as possible.
6. Understand local laws.
Much like language or cultural norms, your potential global business travel destinations will have their own set of individualized laws. This tip is, like the previous two, about educating yourself. This time, however, this education will focus on the law.
That said, this is considerably more important given the introduction of governmental action. For example, even though England’s native language is English, there are fundamental cultural differences between America and England.
Just take a look at the Salmon Act of 1986. If you were to travel to London and, for whatever reason, hold a salmon under suspicious circumstances, it’s possible you could be arrested. That’s not an ideal way to start dinner with potential clients or business partners. But the possibility of that scenario should still be on your mind.
7. Be health conscientious.
By traveling abroad, you’re allowing your body the potential opportunity to come in close contact with bacteria and viruses it has never encountered before. Because of that, it’s important to maintain a keen focus on your health throughout the duration of your travels. If you don’t, you could be facing some unpleasant (and sometimes serious) health concerns.
Take Measles for example. With 120 cases officially reported this year alone, Measles is still a cause for concern in America. However, not only were the majority of people who contracted the disease travelers, they were also unvaccinated. Statistics like that showcase the worth of, at least, a conversation about vaccinations before you travel. It’s worth mentioning, too, that certain airways won’t even let you on a plane without proper vaccination.
Vaccinations aside, your health should be a priority. By maintaining a healthy diet, it’s likely that you’re at less of a risk for diseases while you travel. That said, it may be worth looking into engaging your business’ employees in health and wellness education.
Are you a business traveler?
We’d love to hear about your global business travels. In fact, we’d like to even talk to you about them. Let us know what works for you and your business by tweeting at @AppleRubber.