International Business Travel Tips, From Business Travelers

business travel

After posting our 10 Tips For International Business Travel, readers responded with some engaging comments. Chiming in with additional tips that work, their ideas for international business travel have an undeniable common sense. Based on their personal experience, with some lessons learned “the hard way,” readers shared not what they heard would be a good idea, but what they did that worked. Take a look and see if you agree.

Bring Local Currency With You
“Take foreign currencies with you,” advises Rosie in her comment, adding “In France, you cannot go to a bank to change dollars, you need to go to the Post Office, but they will NOT exchange $100 bills unless they have been verified as genuine by the French Banque de France. And this could take a minimum of 3 weeks. Apparently, a lot of fake $100 bills ‘manufactured’ in Russia have been floating about.”

Notify Credit Card Companies In Advance
Annie recommends, “notifying your credit card company(s) of your itinerary. Also if on a cruise notify them of the name of the line & where they bill from. My card co. did recognize the name of the billing co. & it was really annoying as the card co. doesn’t have 24/7 call service. Also check your medical insurance! Medicare participants especially need to check their supplemental as most only cover $10,000 out of the country (except emergencies in Canada).”

Scan Documents, Be Prepared, Know What To Do
“In addition to carrying copies of your documents and cards and leaving a set with family, scan copies to your email account,” commented reader brinniewales. “This helps considerably in case everything you are carrying is lost or stolen and/or no one is available at home to respond to your immediate needs. Internet cafes are available around the world, so those copies of documents and cards are just a few clicks away.

If your passport is lost or stolen, and if possible, check the government website to determine the requirements for a replacement passport before going to your embassy or consulate. You may be able to complete the form online and print a completed copy to submit. Photos are necessary so, if necessary (if not taken at the embassy), take the appropriate number (and size) of photos.”Have A Backup Plan and Know The Rules
Lou had a bunch of comments including, “Leave a complete list of the contents of your wallet and valuables home with someone who can immediately report these items to credit card companies, law enforcement, US Customs or insurance companies.

Business travel may require a VISA where tourist does not. Business travel laws and rules vary in most foreign countries. Also items you travel with may be considered for tariff. It’s smart to have a letter of invitation from [your] client stating your business.”

Better Than An App For That
“Here’s a good idea for protecting your valuables and keeping track of your iPhone, your iPad, your laptop and even your camera, keys, luggage and passport,” wrote Gordon. “Two years ago, I found Okoban and obtained tracker tags for a free global lost and found service. I put them on all of my valuables.”

It paid off in Rome. I left my passport at a restaurant at lunch. That afternoon, I received a text message from Okoban saying that my passport had been found. I did not even know it was missing.”

Know Your Cards And Don’t Assume
Hanky wanted us to know that he “just returned from Europe a few weeks ago, so my experience is fresh.

  • Be sure you have a credit card that can be used internationally, i.e. Citibank cards in the US are not used in Europe, call for the upgrade at least one month early and they will send a new card that can be used in all locations.
  • Be sure you call all your banks and credit/debit cards to tell them your travel dates, so they don’t reject a bill.
  • Be sure you take the appropriate electric converters, we stayed at the Ritz and even they did not (have any to loan)”

Share Your Story, Work The Maps
Reader Joy has multiple suggestions too, advising:

  • Give someone at ‘home’ your complete itinerary, and numbers where you maybe found.
  • Take foreign money with you, and be ready upon landing to get where you need to be.
  • Do not assume anything, so be prepared. Maps help too. (show and tell cab drivers).
  • Take all medicines with you, in your possession, and not in luggage.

Thanks to all who commented, these are great tips we think others can use too. You lived and learned and we benefit. See more comments at “10 Tips For International Business Travel” or add yours here.

[Flickr photo by _tar0_]

Traveling To Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch


Traveling in Wales today on the island of Anglesey, we passed by the place in Europe with the longest name and one of the longest place names in the world.

The railway station in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is hard to pass by without stopping and many travelers do, as well as the local post office where they can get their passports stamped. Those 58 letters sure caught our attention so we stopped for a photo.

How do you say that?

The longest place name in the world?

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu at 85 letters is a hill on North Island, New Zealand.

[Photo- Chris Owen]

Traveling Cat Back On The Road, With Friends

travelingTraveling across the United States, Canada and Mexico, Ted Brady is raising money to support local animal shelters. Biking through a variety of terrains and weather conditions along with his cat, he stays with families or camps along the way. Already traveling more than 1,000 miles through a variety of conditions, happy times and disappointments, the journey is far from over.

The cross-country cycling trip started last October in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to raise money and awareness for the ASPCA and local shelters. Ted bikes, while his cat Pikachu (“Pika” to his friends) rides behind in a covered, secure cat shelter. The pair travels, meets people and engages a growing online following, posting videos of their adventure as it unfolds.

Last December, when Pika went missing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, followers and local residents joined in the search, eventually finding Pika and reuniting the two weeks later.

“He’s my best buddy and we go everywhere together. The bond that you share with your pet, it’s more than just a pet. It’s your best friend,” Brady told LifeWithCats at the time.

Back on the road this month, Ted and Pika will make their way with the help of friends, old and new. Just a few days ago via Instagram, Ted posted a map and an upbeat plea for shelter on the road. “Do you know anyone along this route? This is the path I’m taking north into Colorado, if you know anyone I could stay with on the way, hit me up!”

Follow Ted and Pika on their journey via Facebook, Instagram or on their website The Traveling Kitty.

[Photo and videos by Ted Brady]

Traveling Safely To Avoid Identity Theft

travelingWhen traveling we take extra care to secure our gear. Entering unknown worlds requires an extra measure of caution, causing us to keep cash, cards and travel documents out of sight. We pay special attention to where these things are at any given time and taking extra precautions keep them from being lost or stolen. But how much thought goes into protecting our identity on the road? It’s a topic worthy of a little thought and some action before traveling.

“Our phones are used more and more to organize our lives,” Nikki Junker, social media coordinator and victim advisor with the Identity Theft Resource Center told us in an email. As the use of smart phones increases, con artists are finding ways to access personal information. “Smart phone security is going to become even more important,” says Junker.

Protecting smart phones, and the information that is transmitted over them does not take all that much work or time, just a few security pointers.

Create a complex password. Your first line of defense is a strong password, one that combines letters, numbers and symbols. An 8-digit combination of letters and numbers, once the gold standard of passwords, is no longer good enough to foil identity and data thieves.

Seek backup/wiping services. iPhone and other brand users have this ability built in but it has to be turned on to work. Some brands require it to be loaded onto the phone. “Not having these services is one of the biggest mistakes smartphone users make,” says Junker. “They’re easy to obtain through the phone’s manufacturer or your wireless provider.”

Install security software. “Treat your smartphone like you would your home computer,” Junker says. Install security software that contains an antivirus, and be diligent about downloading updates as they’re available.

Take action. If your phone is missing, call your carrier as soon as possible to report that it’s been lost or stolen and to have the data wiped.

If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, Junker advises taking these three steps:

  • Place a 90-day fraud alert on credit reports
  • File a police report
  • File a fraud affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission

All of this is especially important for those who email copies of travel document, confirmations and identification to themselves and then store them on their smartphone.

Already have your phone password-protected? Think your password is secure?

Test the strength of your password here

[Flickr photo by dmott9]

Travel Dilemma: Old Favorite Or Someplace New?

I’ve just spent four days in London, where I saw friends and did some work before heading up to Oxford for two weeks. My family and I do this every Easter and summer. It’s good for my kid’s English (we live most of the year in Spain) and my wife and I both have plenty of work to do up here.

While I love these regular trips, there’s always a nagging pressure in the back of my head to travel to someplace new. We could just as easily spend Easter in Tunisia. In fact, it would be cheaper! Then there’s that hike I’m planning in Scotland for September. While I love hiking in Scotland, why not do that hike in Montenegro like I’ve been talking about?

Or I could skip the hike and take a slow boat up the Gambia River, or visit the pyramids of the Sudan. The world is big and my time is finite. Should I really be going back to the same place over and over again?

Gadling’s own Annie Scott came up with ten reasons you must revisit. Her reason #10 is the most important one: “to check in on friends.” We’ve been coming to Oxford and London regularly enough that they aren’t so much trips as they are homecomings. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice that for the sake of simply seeing new sights. Even going somewhere a second time, like I did when I revisited Harar last year, allows you to look up old acquaintances and turn them into friends.

Revisiting a familiar place has so many rewards… and yet the rest of the world beckons.

It’s a constant struggle. Some places like Oxford, I won’t let go, since they’re a part of my wife and son’s lives too. Harar I also don’t want to let go, but that’s my own thing and an expensive thing at that. The rest is a delicate balancing act, one that I feel I’m never getting entirely right.

So do you prefer to travel to a new place or an old favorite? Take our poll and share more of your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy Archibald Ballantine. No, that’s not me with the map.