Most Americans have traveled to a foreign country in their lifetimes. The reasons for the travel vary greatly. Nonetheless, an estimated 71% have set foot on foreign soil.
Traveling internationally for business is much different than traveling for leisure. Locals expect tourists to act in a manner that causes them to stand out. Although some tourists try to blend in, many unknowingly make a faux pas.
The business world places several expectations on its peers, even international ones. They expect them to research the culture before arriving; it’s a sign of respect.
Let’s look at seven tips on how to embrace a business trip in a new country.
1. Research the Business Etiquette
The United States remains in the middle of a cultural identity crisis; that’s not true for others.
For example, China keeps its heels dug into its cultural past. If you travel to the Middle Kingdom for business, your group must present a gift to the hosts. Moreover, the hosts will deny the gift up to three times before finally accepting it.
In India, cows remain sacred. Thus, it’s a faux pas to order cow meat when dining with your Indian hosts.
If your team requests a meeting with professionals from another country on their soil, research the etiquette before arriving. Etiquette can make or break a deal.
Understanding different cultures on a basic level helps you embrace them.
2. Pick Up Pointers about the Culture
While you research the destination, pick up pointers about the culture.
Those who travel to the Middle East should expect the business locals to adhere to gender norms. Men participate in business while women raise the families.
Moreover, if you travel to the United Arab Emirates, avoid using your left hand; they consider it unclean.
3. Learn Some Language Basics
English remains the most spoken language worldwide. However, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish continue making ground in the business world.
Business professionals benefit from learning basic phrases and words in several languages. The most important include:
- My name is
- Thank you
- I only speak English
Locals appreciate it when foreigners make an effort. When you find someone that can imagine themselves in your shoes and speaks some English, they will help you.
4. Find a Local Contact
Companies that have serious international aspirations must position their teams to succeed in these environments. Hire a local contact native to the culture who can guide your executives and employees.
Plus, companies that can afford to add this member to the team, make a better impression. It proves that your business remains serious in this endeavor and has the funds to make it happen.
Beginning corporate travel planners who plan domestic and international travel benefit from reading this guide.
5. Check the Travel Requirements Beforehand
Pre-2020, most countries had vaccination requirements. Some have not eradicated malaria, polio, or yellow fever. Therefore, their health departments protect locals and travelers by requiring vaccinations before entering the territories.
In addition, the TSA adds more travel requirements to international flights than domestic ones. Thus, double-check them before your travel date. Your company’s corporate travel planner is one resource. You can also check with the airlines.
Starting the trip on the right foot helps travelers embrace it.
6. Research Landmarks
The first time you travel internationally for business, focus on its purpose. As you pick up on the destination’s etiquette and culture, research some historical landmarks too.
If you have time to see them, you can do so efficiently. The most historic landmarks include:
- Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
- Sydney Opera House in Australia
- Great Wall of China in Beijing
When you find yourself in the vicinity of them or others, seeing them in person allows you to embrace the new country in a meaningful way.
In the business world, hosts often outdo themselves to make a good impression. Plus, they hope that their generosity will receive reciprocation when they travel to their guests’ home offices.
Even though you find yourself in an unfamiliar country, remember to network. You can find locals that can provide welcome guidance on where to eat or stay.
Understanding the business etiquette and culture of a new country during business trips helps professionals succeed. Lean on your corporate travel planner for information before taking off. Plus, do some research so you can arrive prepared.