Working as executive director and chairman of the board of directors for the Business Development Institute International, Howard Nutt is no stranger to travel. In fact, throughout his career he has worked with companies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Facilitating business deals, providing business development training and consultations, and building professional relationships have required him to refine his travel skills to maximize each trip. Traveling internationally does not have to become an overwhelming task. There are numerous ways that people can make sure they are ready for their trip, prevent avoidable hang-ups, and ensure smoother transitions.
1. Maintain a Valid Passport
Nowadays a passport is necessary to travel virtually anywhere, notes Howard Nutt. Check each country’s entrance and exit requirements before the trip. Find out if a visa is required, or if there are certain specifications the passport must meet. Make sure that it will not expire during the trip. If applying for a passport, do this several weeks before the trip to leave enough time for processing and shipping.
Howard Nutt recommends that people keep their passport on them at all times. Leaving it in a bag or piece of luggage increases the risk that it will become lost or stolen. Having it on their body means that they always have proof of identification on hand.
2. Plan the Itinerary in Advance
Business professionals should have meetings planned and confirmed in advance. Determine the best way to get from place to place and leave some flexibility for any delays. Have names, phone numbers, and addresses for each appointment to make travel and communication easier. Leave a copy of the itinerary with someone not on the trip so that they are aware of the schedule and general whereabouts. People should also make sure that their phones are set for international calling to avoid unnecessary charges.
3. Bring all Necessary Equipment and Files
Make sure to pack all electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, phones, projectors, or anything else that is necessary. Do not forget power cords, cables, extra batteries, or other essential elements. Different countries run on different voltages, so make sure to have the proper voltage adaptors before leaving, advises Howard Nutt. This will ensure that it is possible to safely plug in devices. Keep all documents, files, paperwork, and other materials in a safe location so they do not become lost or forgotten.
4. Pack Accordingly
Try to pack as lightly as possible. The less luggage one has to keep track of and transport, the faster and easier it is to get around. Check the weather beforehand to see what type of clothing to pack. Choose pieces that travel well and are wrinkle-resistant. Picking a few items that match with multiple others helps to reduce the amount of clothing that must get included in the suitcase.
Howard Nutt Encourages Cultural Awareness
When traveling to another country, it is important to understand how their culture works, explains Howard Nutt. Find out what types of traditions and practices they follow, and learn about proper business etiquette. Each country is different, so what is acceptable in one is not always acceptable in another. Becoming culturally aware can help to facilitate better business interactions. It will help to build more trust and respect.
Research how the company does business and who some key leaders are. This will make it easier to know who to direct specific information or questions to. Business professionals should understand how what they have to offer fits in with the company’s current mission, vision, and operations.
Even though many business professionals throughout the world understand and communicate in English, Howard Nutt encourages travelers to know the basics of the country’s native language. It shows respect for their culture and country. Knowing a few common phrases can help not only when first meeting someone, but also in trying to navigate the area. There are many books, classes, and programs available to help people learn new languages. If communication is a problem, arrange in advance for a translator to assist.
Sometimes business meetings may take place over a meal. Stay open to trying new things and learning more about the culture. Brush up on proper meal etiquette, common dishes, and whether business is conducted before, during, or after eating. Pay attention and take cues from others if unsure what to do.
When traveling anywhere, Howard Nutt always tries to make time to enjoy the country. If the schedule allows for some down time, take advantage of the opportunity to explore. Check out local attractions and historical sites. Get to know more about what makes the area unique. Exploring the history and culture of the area can give business professionals a deeper appreciation for the country and the people who live and work there. This can help when engaging in business meetings and transactions. With experience, international travel becomes easier, but Howard Nutt encourages following these simple steps to help ease the way.