Global Views Featured

8:53am EDT February 26, 2004
No company spends tens of thousands of dollars sending someone on a foreign business trip without expecting results. You aren't there to relax, yet you should arrive in tip-top shape, ready to conduct business.

Here are some tips to help you do so.

Get in shape

Preparing physically is a key component to mental alertness. One of the best ways to reduce jet lag is to start a travel diet three days before a trip.

Eat lots of high-calorie food on the third day out from a trip. Eat lightly on the second day and normally on the day before the trip. On the day of the trip, eat lightly and change to eating times to reflect the normal eating times at your destination. Refrain from stimulants and alcohol when traveling.

If you travel frequently, consider membership in an airline executive club. Arriving early at the airport and being able to conduct business after clearing security reduces hassles. Most offer comfortable chairs, televisions, light food and ports to plug in computers, away from the crowds and crying children. The larger clubs sometimes offer services such as massages, dry cleaning, full meal service and sleeping rooms.

Be prepared

Going through airports, with their increased security and scrutiny, makes planning travel even more important. Having passports updated (with at least six months before expiration), vaccinations, letters of introduction, prescriptions and local currency in pocket can help reduce delays. Visit www.state.gov/travel/ for more information on travel warnings, visa requirements for Americans traveling abroad, required inoculations and more.

If you need samples or tools in your foreign destination, consider shipping them in advance. Samples or tools of value can be brought into almost any country duty free under a program administered by the US Council for International Business called ATA Cartnet. Your freight forwarder and/or trade show administrator can provide details of this program.

Think ahead

Upon arrival, having ground transportation and hotel arrangements already made relieves a great deal of anxiety.

Give yourself time to adjust before engaging in business as well. Based on a study by the Argonne National Laboratory, it is recommended that travelers give half a day's rest before a first business meeting in Europe and one-and-a-half days for travel to Asia and the Pacific. This also will help cushion any travel delays.

David Levey (jdl@interax.com) is an adjunct professor of Global Management in the MBA program at John Carroll University. He is the former manager of the Cleveland World Trade Association, the international business education arm of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association.