Business Trip Planning
When we travel for business, we can often leave things until the last minute. While that may be okay for national travel, travelling internationally for business comes with a whole different set of preparations.
Your travel manager can take care of a lot of the pre-planning, but there are a few things they can’t do for you, such as vaccinations, passport renewals, visa applications, and more. Those preparations can seem overwhelming, but if you follow a simple timeline, you’ll have things organized well before your departure.
Four to Eight Weeks Before Departure
Depending on where you live, and the processing times of your documents, you’ll want to check the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting as soon as you know you’re going! As Canadians, we have the luxury of Visa-free travel to many countries, but several countries require a Visa, Electronic Visa, or Waiver form completion before arrival. Some countries will issue a Visa on arrival, but it’s important to know what the requirements are well before you travel.
We recommend checking www.travel.gc.ca and selecting your destination to find out the entry/exit requirements. If you are travelling with a Passport from a country other than Canada, please ensure you check the specific requirements and restrictions relating to your passport.
Travelling internationally with a passport that is set to expire within six months AFTER your return date, will very likely cause problems either before you depart or on your arrival. Check your passport at least four weeks before your scheduled departure, and if the timeline is tight, it is best to renew your passport.
Obtaining vaccinations before travelling in some countries is highly recommended, and in some countries is required. It’s important to note that some vaccines are only effective after a certain period, so you’ll want to visit a travel medicine clinic to receive up-to-date information for the country you’re visiting.
Two to Four Weeks Before Departure
Notify Your Credit Card Company of Travel Plans
When you’re leaving the country, especially if you’re travelling a great distance, it is important to notify your credit card company of your travel plans. They’ll make a note of your destination and the dates of travel, so they can keep an eye on your purchases while you’re travelling. This will also make sure you don’t have any issues using your credit card in the destination.
What to Wear
Depending on your destination, there may be cultural differences in appropriate dress for business meetings, social gatherings, etc. To make your best impression and put your best foot forward, you’ll want to have done your research and collected any pieces you may need.
Check Your Cell Phone Plan
Many mobile providers now offer travel packages that you can utilize for a daily fee rather than racking up an enormous cell phone bill. Make sure you check with your provider to see what offers they have that will enable you to be available while you’re travelling.
Now is a great time to check in and see what loyalty programs you’re eligible for that will maximize your benefit at different hotels, car rental companies, etc.
One to Two Weeks Before Departure
If you’re travelling to a country that experiences hurricane seasons, monsoon seasons, or other adverse weather, or has experienced political unrest, etc., you’ll want to make sure these occurrences will not impact your trip. Have a look at Travel Advisories in the weeks before your trip so you can feel prepared, and of course, contact your Travel Manager if you have any concerns.
If you plan accordingly, you will have prepared for your business trip to come. Not having to worry about last-minute documents, expensive cell phone bills, or finding appropriate business attire in the destination, will make your trip much smoother and leave you feeling relaxed, calm, and collected for your meetings. Happy Travels!