Travel Arrangements to Wow Any Boss, Part Three: International Travel

By | Feb 6, 2008

While international travel requires all the same steps as domestic travel, it holds some unique pitfalls of which the administrative assistant should be aware.

  1. Time zone issues, specifically date issues. It is not unusual when traveling to another continent that you will leave on one date and arrive on another date. Don’t make the mistake of one assistant I knew that got her boss to China one day too late to make the key note address he was scheduled to give. When making international travel arrangements, always search for flights based on arrival date, not departure, to be sure you boss arrives on time for whatever meetings she will be attending.
  2. Jet lag is a serious problem when crossing multiple time zones. It helps, when possible, to build a little bit of recovery time into the travel schedule on both ends of the trip to help your boss equalize to the local time.
  3. Passports and Visas. Your boss will require a passport when traveling internationally. In your store of data about your boss, always keep things like expiration dates of various documents including his passport. Set yourself a reminder a good 8-9 months in advance of the expiration date to start the renewal process. Some countries will require the passport to be at least 6 months from expiration for travel into their country.Visas are also an issue. As soon as you know your boss is traveling to a foreign country, check to see if they require a Visa to enter the country. The same assistant who sent her boss to China a day late also didn’t look into the Visa process because our company used American Express (cross my heart, it really happened). Luckily our travel agent caught it in time to get the visa before he traveled. Some countries require the visa application to be submitted more than 30 days prior to the travel.
  4. Climate is an issue if your boss is flying down under (or up over if you are located in the Southern Hemisphere). Remember that when you cross the Equator, seasons are reversed, so if it is summer in Boston, it will be winter in Melbourne. Check the internet for weather predictions to advise your boss on appropriate clothing to pack. Actually, this is just a good general tip since weather varies across the country as well.

International travel is where it pays to have a really good travel agent familiar with international travel. They will often have a service that will walk passport and visa applications through the process (for a fee, of course), will be conversant in the visa requirements, and can help you navigate the minefield of international travel. In the long run, you are better off just paying the extra money to get a travel agents assistance, especially if you are going to a country outside of North America and Western Europe.

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11 Comments so far
  1. MarkH (4 comments) February 17, 2008 11:27 am

    One other point is to remember that some states/provinces have their holidays at different times.

    I was on a road trip, and my very first presentation was to an almost empty room since that province had a holiday. It’s hard to convince people to break up their three day weekend to come hear about your product. Not only was it wasted time, but also we couldn’t get back there to book another day until after our long string of presentations was completed. And, it was a blow to everyone’s confidence that our first event went so dreadfully wrong.

    Checking the destination holiday dates is important, but I think the opposite is true as well. It’s good to remind me that although I am working that day, my office might be closed. Having alternate home/cell numbers for support staff available for me beforehand would be handy, and finding out if they are willing to take a call on a day off.

  2. Jodith (189 comments) February 17, 2008 11:36 am

    Another excellent point, Mark. Thanks for giving us the boss’s perspective!

  3. Lena Misquitta (1 comments) October 7, 2009 7:01 am

    Don’t forget to remind your boss (or you pack his briefcase) to carry his business cards. Check well in advance that he has sufficient boxes of these – if the stock needs replenishing, you will have enough time to place an order with the printer your company uses, for additional ones.

  4. Jodith (189 comments) October 23, 2009 1:16 pm

    Great tip, Lena! I used to keep my boss’s business cards in my desk so I would know when he was low and could reorder.

  5. Australia Travel Planning (1 comments) December 17, 2009 4:03 pm

    Don’t forget to book him a 1st class seat! 🙂

  6. Jodith (189 comments) December 20, 2009 7:47 pm

    That, of course, would depend on company policies. Most companies won’t pay for first class except for international travel. Sometimes, though, the boss is willing to pay the difference in the cost of the ticket. If that’s the case, you’ll need to document the cost of the coach class ticket for reimbursement purposes.

  7. Vitalka (1 comments) January 3, 2010 2:13 am

    Also, sometimes is necessary to think about agent on other side… Especially if you travel to China or any Asian country. Their culture is absolutely different from all the rest, so your boss need at least to find some compressed information about foreign traveller behaviour in such countries.
    .-= Vitalka´s last blog ..Акция на китайские мобильные телефоны -1 =-.

  8. Jodith (189 comments) January 3, 2010 12:30 pm

    This is actually a good tip. Thanks for mentioning it. One thing you can do if your boss is traveling someplace with a different culture is find information for travelers to help him make the most of his time there and try to avoid obvious faux pas.

  9. Jordans (1 comments) March 4, 2010 10:06 am

    Yea I spent 12 hours in my connecting airport thinking that it was 12 Am but it was 12 Pm lol =(

  10. Jodith (189 comments) March 13, 2010 12:16 pm

    OUCH! I bet that was no fun, Jordans. Like I’m always telling folks, it’s all in the details when it comes to managing travel arrangements.

  11. Daycare Grants (1 comments) July 18, 2010 7:28 am

    Furthermore, try not to schedule your boss’ connecting flights so close to each other because one delay from the previous flight will screw up the whole schedule. Try to space connecting flights so that flight delays won’t be a problem.
    Daycare Grants´s last blog post ..Response cached until Mon 19 @ 16:24 GMT (Refreshes in 24.00 Hours)

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