Basic Preparations for International Business Travel

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Traveling abroad for business can be beneficial, productive and exciting for your company. It can produce new business and networking opportunities, but it can also be hard on you. Especially if you are a business-travel novice.


Stay Connected
One of your most important considerations, especially for international business travel, is staying connected— to your office, to your contacts overseas and to anyone in the States who you rely on to conduct business. Start by managing your technology to preserve your ability to communicate en route: put your laptop, tablet, digital camera and anything else electronic in your carry-on luggage, rather than in your checked luggage. To make sure you have access to smartphone technology while traveling abroad, your best bet will be Internet-based solutions, which depend on data instead of cell technology. Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) applications like Skype let you make free calls to other users of these apps and very inexpensive calls to land lines and mobile phones— anywhere in the world. For text messaging, use free services like Google Voice.

Send Things Ahead
Sending materials ahead of time if you’ll be presenting at a conference may be a necessity or simply a convenience. Either way, one of the most important steps in the shipping process is international address verification. The last thing you want to worry about is undelivered mail.

Take Care of You
Jetlag is a common problem for business travelers. Drink plenty of water in the days before your trip, and cut back on alcohol and caffeine. If you’re going to a destination that requires more than 12 hours of air travel, stopping in a city en route for a night or a few hours or arriving early at your destination can help to break up your trip and allow your body to adjust to the time differences. Try to sleep and eat according to your new time zone, not the one you’re coming from.

Protection
To protect your data, files and presentation materials while traveling, Microsoft recommends these precautions:

  • Don’t carry your laptop in a designated computer bag— it’s a dead giveaway that you’re carrying a laptop. Instead, consider a suitcase or a padded briefcase.
  • Create strong passwords with capital letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t carry them anywhere near your laptop.
  • Encrypt your files.
  • Use a screen guard to make it difficult or impossible for anyone to see what you’re looking at on your computer.


Acclimate
Familiarize yourself of common cultural practices through books and videos before your trip. Take note of idioms (whether or not you speak the language of the country) and customs. You can even pass the time on the plane by reading up on the culture of your destination. If you can do this, you and the people you meet will all feel much more relaxed.

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Summer Holiday Locations

Summer is the ideal time to go away on holiday. The school holidays coincide with the summer, so this is usually the time that families with children pack their leisure wear and head for somewhere exciting. Even young couples or singles take to the road at this time as the weather is generally great and places look their best.

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New Orleans Summertime Blues? Try These Vacation Destinations

Summertime is full of barbecues, shorts and river walks. New Orleans is an exciting city this time of year. Everyone seems to have summer fever and is out and about. The only problem is that hot, sticky New Orleans summer weather! You might enjoy this year’s steamy months a little better if you took a break. A cost-conscious, fun-filled vacation is just the ticket if you want a month, week or even a long weekend away from The Big Easy.

The Everglades


Enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, eating and drinking in one of the most unique locations. Stay in Florida City’s Everglades International Hostel and enjoy breezy accommodations at great rates: dorm beds are $28 per person, and a group of six can book a private room with bathroom for $168, according to evergladeshostel.com. They can set you up with tours for any time of day. Prepare to share space with gators the size of tanks and heavy-artillery mosquitoes … it’s all part of the fun!

Everglades

Photo by Bogeskov via Flickr

Europe


Although it might seem like an ambitious goal, seeing 10 or even 20 countries in a summer is completely doable, as long as you know where the deals are. A Eurail pass for up to 3 months starts at $494, according to eurail.com. Save by staying in hostels and eating cheaply at markets and street stalls instead of restaurants. One of the best sites to check the cheapest flight deals is Skyscanner.com. Round-trip flights from New Orleans to the U.K. start around $1300.

Eiffel Tower

Photo by Terrazzo via Flickr

Charlotte, North Carolina


So you can’t be Katniss Everdeen, but you can at least travel to the state where much of “The Hunger Games” was filmed. Take a day trip to the ghost town of Henry River, where several District 12 scenes were set or catch a show at the Knight Theater, also a filming location, according to romanticasheville.com. Looking for adrenaline boosters? Check out the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Photo by James Willamor via Flickr

Carnival Dream Cruise


Set sail on the high seas with a cruise through Carnival Dream. Their all-inclusive packages include 24-hour room service and multiple dining options, among them a coffee bar, steakhouse, chef’s table and tasting bar. Entertainment doesn’t lack, either. Packages come with a comedy brunch, access to the art gallery, “dive-in” movies, concerts and an Internet café. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget the candy shop. And when you’re done there, head to a yoga or Pilates classes to work off the extra calories before hitting the pool. Depending on your room choice, cruises can cost as little as $40 per night, according to carnival.com. There are cruises departing from the Port of New Orleans year-round.

Carnival Cruise

Photo by El coleccionista de instantes

A quick word of advice: When traveling a lot, protect your identity with security measures while dealing with money or personal information. According to Lifelock, in 2011 there were more than 11 million victims of identity fraud. According to usa.gov, must-dos include keeping receipts or tearing them up, shielding your PIN with your hand while at ATMS and storing personal information in a safe place.

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Global Humanitarian Experiences for Philanthropic Travelers

third_world_donkey

As long as you have a spirit to serve and passion for volunteering, you have what it takes to be a humanitarian.



“Whether you’re an accomplished physician, a student in nursing school, or someone with zero medical training, there are plenty of organizations (religious and otherwise) looking for volunteers,” explains the travel blog of HCCMIS. You can help treat and improve the living conditions of third-world nations by learning more about the following organizations and embarking on the trip of a lifetime. 



Project Hope



Medical volunteers for HOPE participate in ship-based care in partnership with the U.S. Navy. HOPE volunteers also participate in land-based projects that provide medical assistance to needy people worldwide, including major disaster relief efforts. In 2004, volunteers helped mitigate the Tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia. HOPE volunteers provided aid to Katrina victims in Gulf States during 2005. Five years later, HOPE relief workers assisted Haitian earthquake victims.



Volunteers in Latin America, West Africa and Oceania also participated in health education and humanitarian assistance missions. The goal: remediate disasters and improve the quality of life for people throughout the globe by executing educational and health care services.



Embark of any of the current HOPE opportunities: 




  • Nurse Educators (Shanghai): Qualified graduate-level nurses will teach undergraduate nursing students.




  • Physical & Occupational Therapists (Haiti): Volunteers will train and mentor local techs specializing in PT and OT.

     


  • Physician Faculty and ESL Teachers (Shanghai): Qualified recruits will teach students about basic medicine, physical sciences and comprehensive English.

     


  • Various Volunteers (South Africa): Recruits will carry out the HOPE Centre chronic disease project.

     


  • Health of Women and Children Program (Dominican Republic): Team of diverse volunteers will promote global health program.

     


  • Physician Specialists (Haiti): Physician Specialists will assist with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and the health system. 



Global Crossroad: Nepal & Other Destinations



The Himalayan country of Nepal suffers from severe poverty and sickness. Global Crossroad offers life-changing Nepali experiences for volunteers who want to embark on an adventure as well as help heal the sick or make a difference in an orphanage.



Nepal volunteer programs include:




  • Teaching English to Buddhist Monks


  • Working in an orphanage


  • Volunteering in nature conservation or medical/health care


  • Becoming a photojournalist


  • Impacting the lives of underprivileged children through Mini-Venture Nepal programs 


  • Discovering the beauty of Nepal through Summer Escapes program, including community work   



Volunteers will participate in a language and cultural immersion orientation program in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. During two phases, you’ll learn about the county’s history and the negative wear-and-tear effects of the modern world. Volunteers become submerged in Nepali culture and way of life for a more rewarding experience. 



Fees include meal plans and accommodations for projects and traveling. You’ll receive three meals a day full of local ingredients and traditional cuisine. GlobalCrossroad.com also explains that international volunteers will stay in a permanent residence called a “home base, either with a host family or in a project hostel." 



Individuals with a passion for traveling, new experiences and humanitarian service can also venture to an array of worldwide destinations through Global Crossroad services. Help disadvantaged and at-risk children in Argentina. Care for individuals in Kenya who are infected with HIV/AIDS. Support Thailand locals as they strive to achieve economic opportunity by generating projects, such as a fish farm and animal husbandry. Other countries include Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uganda and more.

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