5 Tips to Help You Prepare for International Business Travel

Travel overseas for business can be a fun adventure, but it also needs to be taken seriously. Before traveling to another country, whether for work or pleasure, it’s important to learn the customs and procedures of your destination, while also preparing yourself for your trip.

As a business traveler, you’re not only representing your country of origin to all of those you meet, but you are also a representative of your company. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the country you are planning on visiting as a way to show respect.

Besides requiring the correct documents like a visa and passport, there are other obligations you will likely need to complete before making your way overseas. Many of these requirements are specific to a particular destination based on the laws and regulations for the countries you are visiting. Make sure you do your homework well in advance so you know each of these requirements.

5 Tips for Overseas Business Travel

International travel for business can be a very exciting opportunity. You not only get to see new and interesting parts of the world, but you even get paid while doing it. In order to have the best experience possible, there are things you can do in advance to prepare. Here are five tips to help execute the perfect international business trip.

  1. Create an Organized Itinerary: Make sure that your days are packed with opportunities to help your company. Scheduling time for appointments, meetings, and personal time is very important to executing a beneficial international business trip. An itinerary should be a good guide for your trip’s goals and achievements. Because you do not want to waste any time on this trip, it’s better to plan in advance to take full advantage of the opportunity.
  2. Learn about the Culture and Customs: Before landing in said country, it’s important to understand the environment, culture and practices of this region. Knowing up-to-date news and information about your international travel destinations will help you avoid inappropriate comments or disrespectful behavior. Not only is it important to understand the culture, but it is also beneficial to know protocols, customs and etiquette as well. This includes things like: common greetings, religious practices, business manners, dietary practices, and acceptable humor.
  3. Learn the Native Tongue: While not every business trip requires learning a whole new language, it’s always advisable to seek out some basic vocabulary for the region you are visiting. The use of a translator might be beneficial as well. Communication is a huge part of business and breaking down those barriers will only help you with your business endeavors.
  4. Protect Yourself: Traveling internationally can be exciting, but also very stressful and sometimes dangerous. A new environment can mean new hazards and threats. Don’t avoid protecting yourself to save money. Sometimes travel insurance is a valuable way to reduce the risk of health crises and other types of risks.
  5. Stay Connected: Plan to use your communication devices while staying overseas. Make sure that your plan is available in other countries, or rent a cellphone from the airport. Communicating back and forth between your headquarters, while in a different country, is often an important part of international business. Communicating with your coworkers back at the office is an important part of international business travel.

Traveling internationally for business can be a new adventure. It’s becoming increasingly common as more and more U.S. companies also have offices overseas in places like Ireland, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. In 2014, Forbes rated Denmark as the #1 country for business.

Regardless of where you are traveling, planning ahead helps to make the experience as positive as possible. Know the culture of the places you are visiting, and when possible, make ongoing communication a vital part of your trip. Try to maximize your time spent overseas by preparing in advance for productivity. The more organized you are, the more time you’ll likely have to enjoy some sightseeing and leisure. Always remain respectful, while keeping your goal in sight.

Business Travel Agents Tips: Things to Know About Flight Delay Compensation

You arrive at the airport, your flight is delayed or even cancelled? Flight delay compensation is an important topic travellers should know about, especially when it comes to business travel. Whether it is due to bad weather such as snow, a security alert or a strike, there are many reasons for flight delays and cancellations. But whatever the reason, it means you have to stay involuntarily longer at the airport before you can travel to your destination or back home. Plus, you may be entitled to flight delay compensation or a refund. Here are some important rules helping you to make sure you are not left out of pocket and make the most of the involuntarily gained extra time.

1. Know your rights

From getting refunded for all your food and drink expenses to getting a hotel or some alternative transportation, you should know what you are entitled to. So, if your flight is cancelled or heavily delayed, you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation (EU rule 261/2004 and repealing regulation (EEC) No 295/91). Unless ‘extraordinary circumstances’ apply, you can claim a financial flight delay compensation for cancelled or heavily delayed flights totalling:

€250 (£210) for inter-EU flights of 930 miles or less

€400 (£330) for flights between 930 and 1,860 miles

€600 (£500) for other journeys (long-haul flights)

It applies for EU flights, which includes any flights leaving from or arriving at an EU airport with an EU-based airline. Plus, your compensation may be reduced by 50% depending on flight distance and the ultimate arrival time. This means the reduced compensation applies to short haul flights within two hours, to medium haul flights within three hours and to long haul flights within four hours. But remember, flight delay compensation is only applicable if it is the airline’s fault (i.e. no act of God applies, such as natural catastrophes, incl. earth quakes, volcanoes or bad weather or political unrest). To claim flight delay compensation simply write to your airline stating the flight number, date, length of delay and reason for the claim. Sometimes airlines try offering you vouchers as flight delay compensation, but you don’t have to accept them and can ask for a cash refund instead. If your airline refuses to compensate you, contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for support and advice. Note, technical faults, unless they result from events which, by their nature or origin, are not part of the normal exercise of the airline, do not count as extraordinary circumstances.

Your right to reimbursement comes into play, if the delay is a minimum of five hours. You should get a reimbursement within seven days, for the cost of the flight ticket, the part of the trip not travelled and the parts already travelled, provided they are then useless. Where applicable, you may be even entitled to the earliest possible return flight to your departure destination or rerouting along with a refund.

During the travel disruption you should receive assistance from your airline, including food, drinks, two free telephone calls, faxes or emails, as well as accommodation and transport transfers to and from the hotel – where applicable. This is regardless of the reason for the delay/cancellation.

2. Networking

It’s always good to make friends, so why not use the downtime for extending your network. Try to see the positive of dealing with flight delays. Seen from a practical level, you may be able to share costs, e.g. for a taxi into town. Also being friendly towards the airport staff may prove helpful. Especially in these kinds of situations they encounter a lot of stressed and unfriendly customers, although the delay/cancellation is none of their personal fault. If you are friendly they are much more likely to help you, maybe even give you some extra advice.

3. Gate-crash the airport lounges

Those of you flying Business Class or being members of corporate airline loyalty or frequent flyer schemes will already be in the VIP lounge enjoying a nice drink and peanuts. It’s a far quieter and relaxed environment. This may be the best option when having to wait for a delayed flight. But if you are neither flying business class, nor a member of a loyalty scheme, be advised that in some cases these lounges are not exclusive and you may be able to access them for a fee of around £20. This could be much cheaper than getting your food and drink from an airport bar.

Furthermore, desk agents in these lounges are often authorised to make fast, last-minute reservations’ changes and there are usually far fewer people ahead of you in the queue. At least you can enjoy the Wi-Fi and free snacks (or booze!) while you have to wait. In the case of a flight cancellation or major delay, and you are at the airport immediately contact the airline you are travelling with. To change the ticket and get advice on the available options, it is best to go to your airline’s ticket desk, as soon as possible. Your business travel management company should continually provide pro-active telephone support throughout, as Flightline Travel does.

What are your top tips for dealing with flight delays and cancellations?

© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved. All amounts and prices stated are correct at time of publication.

Flightline Travel Management – Pro-active business travel support services for corporate travellers