Doing Business Overseas Part 1
Follow these tips to tackle your next international trip.
Taking your business global can translate into lots of travel.Unfortunately, braving long lines at the airport, chasing lostluggage and enduring bland in-flight meals are only half thechallenge. There are foreign languages and customs that must beunderstood before your new partners sign on the dotted line-nevermind all the paperwork worries: passports, visas and otherdocuments you need in order to do business in a foreign land.
How do you keep your head when you're on the road? Here are5 tips:
1. Avoid hot spots. They're everywhere you don't want tobe. Know which cities are safe to walk around in at night to steerclear of any dangerous areas.
Insider tip: Private organizations such as Kroll Associates(800-824-7502) also offer reports on global hot spots.
2. Know your airlines. Code sharing can confuse even the mostseasoned travelers. This is when your ticket is issued through onecarrier, but the flight is shared with another carrier, and mayeven use the other airline's plane. This usually doesn'tmake a lot of difference unless you're counting on a particularservice or amenity. For example, you might pack a power adaptorthat fits the outlets on a U.S. carrier but end up on its Europeancode-share partner without the correct plug. Or, if you'recounting on a favorite meal on a particular flight, you might haveto go without. Another downside to code sharing is that sometimesthere are dramatic price differences between tickets for the sameflight.
Insider tip: 1travel.com (http://www.1travel.com) gives you thelowdown on airline rules and regulations.
3. Phone home first. Rent a cell phone before you leave.Depending on which country you're traveling to, using a rentedcell phone is probably less expensive than using the phones at yourhotel. Checking with an expert before you leave will also ensureyou'll have the right cell phone for the country you'rein.
Insider tip: Most of Europe and Asia is on the GSM (globalsystem for mobile communications) network, and their phones operateon a frequency that is incompatible with the majority of U.S.mobile phones.
4. Use the Web. The Internet is an excellent resource forbusiness intelligence. Whether it's a pre-trip briefing usingfinancial data from a service such as Dow Jones Interactive or arandom Internet search for the best restaurants in an internationalcity, logging on beforehand can help prevent problems. The Internetis also a must-have tool for making lightning-fast airline, hoteland car rental bookings when your travel agent isunavailable.
Insider tip: Web sites such as TheTrip.com (http://www.thetrip.com) can even helpyou track a flight.
5. Brush up on the language. New programs can help you learn tospeak like a native. Berlitz Passport to 31 Languages, a CD-ROMtutorial that helps you grasp the essential elements of 31 majorlanguages, is a great crash course. With the help of a microphoneplugged in to your PC, the multi-CD set compares your speech tothat of a native and lets you hone your pronunciation until yousound like you fit in. The set costs about $30.
Insider tip: For more in-depth language study, Berlitz alsooffers CDs that teach you a single language.
Look for five more tips tomorrow to make your overseas businesstrip a success.