Expedia Corporate Travel's International Rate Desk agents offer these tips to ease your next trip abroad:
- Check the standard work days and business hours in the countries you'll be visiting. In some Middle Eastern countries, for example, the work week generally runs from Saturday to Thursday. In some regions, two- to four-hour lunches are common. Also be sure to take foreign holidays into consideration when planning your business trip or meeting.
- Understand that what's considered "standard" in terms of accommodations or transportation in one country may be luxurious in another. In many countries, for example, rental cars rarely come with air conditioning or automatic transmission.
- Business travelers who plan to carry product samples with them should be aware they may be required to pay import duties. In some countries, duties and extensive customs procedures on sample products may be avoided by obtaining an ATA (Admission Temporoire) Carnet. The ATA Carnet is an international customs document used to obtain duty-free temporary admission of certain business-related goods into the countries that are signatories to the ATA Convention. Experienced international travel agents can advise travelers about requirements for specific destinations.
- Requirements for vaccinations differ from country to country; your travel agent can guide you toward specific rules. In some cases, vaccinations against typhus, typhoid, and other diseases are advisable even when they are not required.
- Find out what kinds of power adaptors or modem connections you'll need in order to use your laptop or other electronic devices abroad. Some hotel gift shops carry adaptors, but you might want to pick one up before you leave to ensure you have it upon arrival.
- Familiarize yourself with the local currency and exchange rates. Some business travelers find it useful to exchange a small amount of money before departing for their trip so they arrive at their destination with local currency to pay a road toll or tip a bellman. Once you get to your destination, avoid the service fees charged by exchange booths and visit a bank to get your local currency.
- Be certain your passport is current. Know that some countries will not permit you to enter and will not place a visa in your passport if the remaining validity is less than six months. Family members are not permitted to be included in each other's passports; even newborn babies need their own passports to travel.
- Make photocopies of your credit cards, ID, and passport. Pack the copies in a separate bag.