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Technology has made running international companies from home almost a matter of routine. Even so, entrepreneurs may find that even cyber-clients occasionally want face-to-face time. This means traveling abroad – an adventure when all goes right, a disaster when things go wrong,
Whether a veteran globe-trotter or a travel novice, just about anyone doing business outside the United States can benefit from current information. This is particularly true when it comes to customs, passports, visas, emergency resources, high-risk travel and communications.
International Customs: A Challenge to American Tradition
When journeying abroad, new business travelers are inclined to feel more comfortable when they know what to expect after arrival. So here is a tour guide, of sorts, that sums up the international customs experience:
Passports: All about the Protocol
Obtaining a passport – a document verifying the identity and nationality of the bearer – can take weeks during peak summer travel times. What’s more, new federal regulations stipulate that certified birth certificates presented in the application process must list the full names of the applicant’s parents as primary evidence of U.S. citizenship. What’s more, many countries require that U.S. passports have up to six months validity remaining for entry. For these reasons, new entrepreneurs with international clients would do well to apply now, even if they don’t plan to travel anytime soon.
The U.S State Department’s travel division (www.travel.state.gov/passport) offers some practical guidelines to facilitate the application process.
A Word about Visas
In addition to a passport, U.S. citizens traveling abroad also may need a visa, depending on the country of destination. Because requirements vary, the State Department provides a comprehensive list of nations (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html), with details on their individual visa application processes.
Other vital information on this site includes the locations of all U.S. Embassy and Consulate offices, crime and security information, health and medical conditions, drug penalties and localized hot spots.
In Case of Emergency: The Right Resources Help
Proverbial wisdom says the savvy business traveler plans ahead for any emergency that might come up during a trip abroad. But unexpected things do happen, so a back-up plan is equally important. The U.S. State Department has addressed both sides of the questions.
Official recommendations follow, with a few more added.
Mobility /Communications: Making the Connection
With cell phones and laptops probably the most valuable communication tools for American entrepreneurs, businesspersons traveling overseas should do advance research so that they will be able to stay in touch:
Free hotspots are on the rise, too. The Wi-Fi-FreeSpot™ Directory (http://www.wififreespot.com/) provides a comprehensive list of cafes, airports, public facilities and hotels that offer free Wi-Fi. Coverage includes Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Mexico, Caribbean, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, as well as the U.S. and Canada.
Travel Tips and Resources: More Tricks and Links for Foreign Trips
The tidbits of useful information and list of excellent Internet sites offered here answer a multitude of questions concerning the complexities of foreign travel:
The following websites provide a wealth of information targeting the international business traveler:
U.S. Airports, arrival and departure schedules, parking, airport amenities, etc.
International Airport Websites
U.S. State Department Travel Resources
Food, Lodging, Attractions
The World Clock
International Dialing Codes
Business Travel News