It’s an empowering, but daunting, experience for any young female professional to embark on her first few business trips. The upside involves being paid to visit exciting new places, meet interesting people and be exposed to different cultures.
Claire Mitchell, director of sales and marketing at Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton says that a successful trip abroad lies in the planning – and balancing work with some fun, of course. These tips from Mitchell should alleviate some of the pressure associated with travelling and help up-and-coming women in the business world make their mark effortlessly.
It may seem like an obvious tip, but first always make sure your passport is valid. Many travellers overlook the fact is that many countries require your passport to be valid for six months after your return home. There is no difference between the requirements for men or women when it comes to travel documents; however, women can choose to change their names after marriage. Therefore travel documents should be updated accordingly, as it may present a huge challenge if your booking name does not match the name reflected in your travel documents.
Often when travelling on business, letters such as host letters, letters of invitation, company registration and a copy of your host’s passport may be required. You must ensure that you have all of your flight and hotel confirmations by emailing yourself copies of all of your travel documents, as a precaution should you lose your passport while travelling. Visas are a further travel consideration and are required for many countries that you may not have expected such as Australia and Brazil. Ensure that you allow sufficient time for the application and that the correct documentation is provided.
Most companies provide insurance policies for employees while travelling. Should this not be the case, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your insurance policies cover your travel, including any potential medical expenses that may occur. Some countries require confirmation of this insurance prior to your arrival. Make sure you not only know what you’re covered for, but also have a copy of your insurance policy and an emergency contact number with you while travelling both out of your province of residence and abroad.
Find a suitcase that fits all airline carry-on requirements. Being able to travel exclusively with a carry-on piece of luggage translates into no waiting at the baggage carousel and can save precious time, particularly on a short business trip. Don’t forget that any liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry-on luggage must be in containers that hold 100ml or less and should fit into one clear plastic re-sealable bag that is no more than one litre in capacity.
Investing in a laptop bag that is easy and comfortable to carry while on-the-go, will also make your life easier.
We love the Samsonite® Neopulse™ collection, which offers a combination of lightness and strength. The unique suitcase design is self-reinforced by clever use of continuing lines, strategically placed to add strength to the case and its corners, which absorb the biggest part of any impact t. At only 2.2kg (Spinner 55), you can pack more luggage. Visit www.houseofsamsonite.co.za for prices and sizes.
- Currency exchange
It is important to know the exchange rate of the country you are travelling to before you set off for your trip. Also explore options that eliminate the risk of carrying large amounts cash, such as using your debit or credit card, but be sure to check local costs of the country in which you will be based. Don’t forget to alert your local bank that you will be travelling overseas so that purchases are easily authorised.
- Comfort first
Pack a neck pillow and eye mask to ensure comfort in transit (Business and First Class will provide these comforts). Use a good-quality pair of noise-cancelling earphones and if you want to maximise on-board sleep time, eat before boarding and ask the airhosts not to disturb you. If you have the option of a window seat, book one as it means fewer people walking past you to use the toilet or stretch their legs. Most importantly, wear comfortable clothes!
- Traveller security
As a traveller it is important to be aware of existing and potential incidents globally. Always scan your environment and respect the customs and traditions in each country, as they differ vastly. Women are often confronted with less liberal and more traditional mindsets, but respect is the golden rule. Abiding by the local laws and customs will take you further than resistance.
- Plan for fun
You absolutely owe it to yourself to make the most of your trip while you’re away. Pack casual cloths and walking shoes, and if you can steal a few hours of free time, go and explore the country you’re in – eat the food, shop in the markets and have fun! It’s all about balance.
Source and image: Gillian Gamsay International Communications for Radisson Blu Hotel, Samsonite