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Travelling on home turf is one thing, but business practice outside of your native country can be very different. When planning to travel abroad for business, it is important to do thorough research on the culture and customs of your destination. In order to present your company in the best light, it is vital to demonstrate knowledge of and sensitivity to the new environment you are entering. Read on for tips on how to prepare for business travel abroad.

1. Examine your travel plans in detail
Although many people will have assistants helping them to prepare for a trip, it is always a good idea to double check the details personally. Ensure your passport is up-to-date, that any necessary visas have been acquired, that you know the currency exchange rate and that you have adequate travel insurance in place. If in doubt, check out The Co-operative Travel Management website to help you organise your corporate travel.

2. Preparation is everything
Faced with different customs, rules and traditions, it is vital to be fully aware of what is expected of you. Seeming naïve or lazy in the eyes of your hosts doesn't simply reflect badly on you, it could even hurt your chances of doing business abroad by suggesting you can't manage a position of responsibility. Not only should you study the country, its culture and customs, you should schedule in time before beginning your business to get a sense of local life.

3. Plan for success
Even the most confident and well-researched traveller can make the mistake of overloading their itinerary. Make the most of your time by confirming appointments well in advance, spreading them across the day and leaving ample time to travel to and from meetings. Although your company will have set goals and objectives for your team, keeping things more flexible allows for unforeseen issues and opportunities to be swiftly managed.

4. Stay connected
This is a hugely significant point on any checklist. To ensure you can maintain your personal and professional responsibilities, you need to be able to contact your colleagues (at home and abroad), loved ones and travel insurance provider 24 hours a day. For those relying on a laptop, mobile phone or tablet, always make sure to invest in a special adapter that will work in your host country. Also take the time to confirm that your phone provider has you on the correct tariff before you travel, which will allow you to make international calls. Alternatively you can use Skype or buy a phone locally to take a weight off your mind and save you a lot of money.

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