Foreign Business Trips: Travel Risks and Tips

Whether you take foreign business trips on a monthly basis or only ever once in a while, it is important to keep safety in mind. The last thing you want to do when traveling for business is realizing you’ve misplaced your passport or have been speaking in a derogatory way to the locals. Things like this and other issues can arise that you can prevent by taking the following actions before traveling to another country.

  •  Learn about required or recommended vaccinations. Some countries require you to get special vaccinations in order to be safe and healthy during an international business trip. If you speak to your physician about where you plan to travel, he will recommend vaccinations, if any, that may be needed. Along with being properly vaccinated, there may also be medications to take before and during your trip to reduce the chance of getting certain illnesses, such as malaria.
  • Bring proper documentation. Documentation is key to a successful business trip abroad, and it is essential that you plan in advance. Passports are required to travel internationally, and may take a month or longer to obtain. In some cases, worker visas are required. Prepare ahead of time by getting these documents well in advance of your trip. Make a list of other important documentation you’ll need on your trip, including photo identification and insurance information. Not only do you need a passport, but you should make several copies of it in case yours gets misplaced. Keep a copy with a trusted co-worker and one with a close family member or friend. Here’s another tip: Make a copy of your passport and email it to yourself so you have instant access to it.
  • Learn some basic local language words and phrases. Taking a foreign business trip most likely means you’ll be traveling to a country whose language you aren’t fluent in. In order to have a safe and comfortable trip, you should learn the most important phrases and words to communicate effectively. Begin learning the country’s language prior to embarking overseas; this is also a good activity for the long flight.
  • Learn about the culture. Know country protocol and etiquette. Spend some time before your business trip abroad to learn more about the culture and customs of the country you’re traveling to. Be aware of proper etiquette and protocol, ensuring your mannerisms, behaviors, and language is appropriate. The last thing you want to do is say or do something that is rude and offends the locals. For example, some countries find it incredibly rude to be late to business meetings; it is not just frowned upon, but insulting to the natives. These are things you should be aware of.
  • Organize your medical information. Check to see if your health insurance is covered in the foreign country. Along with other documentation, it’s also wise to collect and organize your medical information before your trip. Contact your small business insurance company to find out if you have coverage in the country you’re traveling to, and be sure to carry your insurance card with you at all times. It also helps to keep a written record of your prescriptions, physician’s name and number, and emergency contacts. Place these contacts and your blood type and medications on a slip of paper and put it in your wallet.
  • Get business travel insurance. One of the most important foreign business travel risks and tips has to do with business travel insurance. Some unexpected events occur when traveling abroad for business that are unavoidable. When these events occur, it can be frustrating, but if you have travel insurance, it will be a little more bearable. Getting travel insurance provides you extra financial protection in case something were to occur, such as receiving a bad illness or injury, or having personal belongings stolen.

Traveling to another country for business can be an exciting prospect, but unanticipated events can spoil it. Prepare ahead of time in order to have a safe and secure international trip, while doing your best to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with new travelers.