International business travel presents its own unique set of challenges, so it’s best to always be prepared for the worst-case scenario (and then hope it doesn’t happen!). A few things to consider before traveling abroad:
1. Always carry your laptop onto the plane and keep it near at all times. Contraire to popular myth, airport x-ray machines will not harm your computer. Also remember to back up before you leave – you’re most likely to have your computer crash or worse, have it stolen, while traveling abroad.
2. Seatguru.com can help you find a seat on your international flight with a convenient and accessible plug-in, and let you know which type of adapter you’ll need in order to use your laptop, if any. Many airlines offer in-flight wireless internet access for a small fee and using your laptop for work in-flight is a great way to pass the time. It’s better to use the plane’s own power than depleting your laptop battery. Bringing a second battery is also suggested.
3. Make sure you have the correct outlet adapter. If you plan to travel to Australia, you will need a special adapter, which can be purchased at myriad online sites, such as amazon.com. Likewise, Europe and Asia have different outlets as well. Many hotels provide adapters for your convenience, and many don’t so it’s better to be prepared and bring your own regardless. Voltageconverters.com has a handy guide on finding the correct adapter.
4. Check with your cell phone provider to make sure your phone will work overseas. GSM, short for Global System for Mobile Communications, is a digital radio frequency that is accepted in virtually every country on the planet and allows for seamless international travel. Even with a GSM phone, different countries may require a different SIM card. SIM cards are the “brains” of your phone. For example, you will need a European SIM card for travel to Europe, and you will need an Australian SIM card for travel to Australia and New Zealand. Both GSM phones and SIM cards can be purchased online or through your local cell phone retailer. Cell phone coverage is surprisingly good Downunder especially considering its relative population.
5. If you’re traveling internationally for business, chances are good that you’re pretty familiar with the customs and culture associated with your travel destination. However, international business etiquette is constantly evolving. To avoid embarrassing mistakes that may ultimately not only damage your own reputation, but your company’s as well, take a minute to research the latest cultural developments and learn key phrases and pleasantries in the native language as a courtesy, even if you’re doing business in English.