Any business trip comes with a fair share of planning, but an international business trip requires next level attention to detail. Aside from the business logistics, the travel aspect is a bit more involved and comes with a list of must-dos that just can't be overlooked ...
Check your passport
Did you know that most countries require at least six months of validity on your passport to cross the border? Since Australian passports come with 10 years validity, the expiration date is usually the last thing on your mind. That is, until you're standing at border control being told you can't enter the country because you only have five months left on your passport. Make sure you double check the expiration date before you book your flights.
Check visa information
Not only do different countries have different entry requirements, but these requirements tend to change from time to time. It's always important to look into required visas and apply as soon as your travel is confirmed. Make sure you give yourself enough time to accommodate any processing delays, and look into applicable entry and exit fees to avoid any surprises when you arrive/leave.
Take a copy of your travel docs
Once your travel is booked and your itinerary is finalised, make a few copies of all travel documents. It's important to leave one copy with someone at home and put one in your luggage. You should also scan a copy and store it on your smartphone for easy access in an emergency.
Alert your bank
This is another small detail that is often overlooked, but can cause major disruption to your travel. Be sure you let your bank know that you will be travelling overseas, providing them location details and dates. Otherwise you run the risk of the bank freezing your accounts due to unusual activity.
Invest in an international adapter
It's well worth the time and money to do a bit of research and purchase a quality international power adapter. Not only are power outlets different across the world, but different countries use different voltages. It's a good idea to get one adapter with different settings so you can plug your devices in no matter where you are in the world with one easy gadget. Just make sure it has a built-in transformer to handle higher and lower electrical currents. This will ensure your devices won't burn out when you plug them in.
Look into your data plan
If you plan on using your smartphone while you're overseas, it's always a good idea to look into your data plan to avoid being hit with huge data roaming charges when you get back. Most major mobile companies will offer overseas packages at reasonable prices. And depending on where you're going, you may be able to rely on complimentary Wi-Fi. Another cost effective option to look into is getting a new SIM card when you arrive at your destination. Just be aware that this will change your phone number while you are overseas.
Learn the local language
If you're travelling to a country that speaks a different language, it's always a good idea to learn a few key phrases before you go. Not only will you be able to get through most situations with basic expressions, but the locals will appreciate your effort. Think along the lines of 'hello', 'thank you' and 'nice to meet you'. It's also a good idea to learn key medical phrases such as 'help', 'emergency' or any phrases that may be specific to you such as food allergies or medical conditions.
Get travel insurance
This is a must for any overseas trip. You want to make sure that you're covered in any type of emergency. From losing your bags and missing connections to health concerns and injuries, having travel insurance will ensure that you can get the help you need without being stung with any crazy costs.
Check travel alerts
Before any trip, business or otherwise, it's important to check out the Smarttraveller website. Not only is it a great source of important alerts and warnings for travel to destinations around the world, but it's a great place to seek advice on everything from local transportation to taking care of your health. It's also a great site to bookmark in your phone should you run into any emergencies while overseas.
Bring your business cards
Last but certainly not least, make sure you stock up on business cards before you take off. This may seem like a small and trivial thing (especially now that we live in the age of technology), but in some cultures exchanging business cards is an important part of any professional relationship. Throw a stack in your carry-on and have a few at the ready when you're meeting new clients or colleagues.