The main elements of your
international meeting might be in place, but before you or
your attendees depart for distant lands, consider the following
DO SOME RESEARCH
Read up on customs, topography, culture, weather,
language phrases, legal issues, politics, etc. Study maps.
Consult with colleagues familiar with the country, as well as
internal resources such as the corporate travel department. Local
information also can be gleaned from bookstore travel sections and
Prescriptions should be filled in advance, packed in their
original containers and tucked into a carry-on bag or purse. Note:
Some drugs that are legal in the United States are not so in other
countries, so be sure to find out if your medications can travel
(the U.S. State Department’s website, travel.state.gov, has
pertinent information). Physicians advise travelers to take copies
of their prescriptions with them. Bring an extra pair of
glasses/contacts and a copy of your eye prescription. Also, be sure
to pack your health insurance card.
If you have not already done so, get the names and phone
numbers of local hospitals and doctors (for English-speaking
doctors, the local U.S. consulate can provide recommendations), and
have a contingency plan for emergency procedures during the
For the most up-to-date global health alerts and much valuable
information on health precautions, immunizations, etc., check with
the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization
GET PLUGGED IN
Will your cell phone work overseas? If not, check with
your carrier for other options. You also might want to consider
renting a phone in the country where the event is taking place
(this usually can be done at the airport) or purchasing a prepaid
Tips for packing smart could fill an entire column, but
here are the main points to keep in mind:
* Leave all valuable jewelry behind; accessorize with costume
jewelry or easy-to-pack silk scarves.
*Pack appropriate clothing, such as
long-sleeved shirts, dresses, etc., in line with local
*Take only necessary credit cards and, if
you’ll be driving during the trip, your license; leave the other
contents of your wallet at home.
*Put ID information inside and
outside all luggage.
HAVE ENOUGH MONEY
In general, ATMs offer the best conversion rates. If you
want to have some cash on hand when you arrive, convert just enough
dollars to cover a light meal and cab fare from the airport to your
hotel before you leave the United States.
Rely on ATM and credit cards or traveler’s checks for the
rest. Remember to stash US$20-$100 somewhere safe in your
hand-carry luggage for your return.
BRING THOSE PAPERS
Be sure to keep the following in your carry-on bag or
purse: passport, visa, traveler’s checks, vendor contracts and
other legal documents, shipping documents (for materials that are
being sent from the States to the meeting) and your itinerary.
Photocopy all documents in triplicate, and keep copies in your
office, home and carry-on luggage.
PLAN FOR HOME
Make back-up plans for your home, pet and child care (not
necessarily in that order) -- not only for the intended duration of
your trip, but in the event your return is delayed for any