7 Tips for Foreign Business Travel

Preparing for a business trip can be a challenging task, especially when your trip is overseas. You must not only prepare a flight itinerary, schedule meetings, and book accommodations, but you'll need to keep cultural protocols and appropriate safeguards in mind as well. In this inc.com article, author Carolyn M. Brown provides seven tips to ensuring a safe and productive business trip.

1. Prepare a well-planned itinerary.

A well thought out itinerary should reflect what your company hopes to accomplish, and leave a copy of your itinerary with trusted colleagues, family members or close friends. Don't forget to provide a family member or spouse with copies of your passport, medical insurance card, and an emergency contact list.

2. Seek information on the culture.

Learn about the history, culture and customs of the countries you are visiting. Brush up on negotiating styles, attitudes toward punctuality, gift-giving customs, and the proper use of names and titles.

3. Learn protocol and etiquette practices.

Study the general protocol and etiquette of the country you're visiting. Understand how to greet your counterparts and manage appointments. Check normal work days and business hours. Also take into account business manners, religious customs, dietary practices, humor and acceptable dress.

4. Learn the native tongue.

Study the language or hire a translator, especially if the persons you are meeting with do not speak English or are uncomfortable speaking it. Learn a foreign language on the go using Praxis Mobile Language Learning Networks, which provides podcasts for Chinese, Spanish, French and Italian. Take a class at a local college or university or try an audio language program from such sources as Rosetta Stone. Practice the language!

5. Check travel advisories.

Keep up to date on government-issued advisories about safety concerns that may affect travel to a particular country or region. Advisories include terrorism, natural disasters, political unrest, wars, health emergencies, and outbreaks of violent crimes against tourists. Have a backup plan in case something does go wrong. Find out whether your home country has an embassy or consulate in the country you're visiting.

6. Protect yourself.

Consider getting travel insurance. When choosing business travel insurance, remember that different destinations pose different risks. Most policies do not cover acts of war, riots or civil disorder. Find out what exclusions apply.

7. Plan to stay connected.

Have the adequate plug or adapter to charge notebooks, cell phones, and PDAs while overseas. Contact your cell phone provider before you leave to find out about international options for business trips. Other options are to use Skype on your laptop or a Skype iPhone app to make international calls.

For more detailed information about how to safely and efficiently travel internationally, read the full article: http://www.inc.com/guides/201103/7-tips-for-foreign-business-travel.html