Ask the Admin – International Travel Arrangements

By | Aug 21, 2008

I had an e-mail this morning from someone who is recently laid off and wants some advice to be able to take her career to the next step.  She says”

I have been looking for a new position in the Atlanta area for the past couple of days now.  I have realized in order for me to get past the normal $36-40,000, you have to have extensive experience in things like accounts payable/receivable, international travel, etc. in order to make between $50-60,000.  I was wondering if you could give me any pointers on International Travel.  I see you have some information on your blog and I have read over that information, but I wanted to know if you have any advice for newbie’s.

For those who haven’t seen my previous post on this topic, you can see it here.  But I do have a few more tips to add:

  1. Get to know the travel agent your company uses.  If your company doesn’t have one, find one!  Yes, I know they charge extra for the service since the airlines don’t give the same kind of kickbacks any more, but for international travel, the cost of using the travel agent is well worth the assistance you’ll get.  Find one with experience in international travel.  Interview them like you would any employee you want to hire.  They should be able to tell you about any visa and passport requirements as well as the best airlines for the area your boss will be visiting.  Having a good travel agent will save you some serious headaches.
  2. Make sure to check any State Department travel advisories for the area you are visiting.
  3. Make sure you are well versed in your company’s expense reimbursement policies before making your travel arrangements.  This may include things like all expenses must be charged on a company credit card, or a maximum hotel rate for the area of travel, or receiving pre-approval for travel expenses.  You don’t want to wait until you boss gets back with out of pocket expenses before realizing that the expenses are unreimbursable.
  4. Probably the hardest part of international travel is figuring out the currency conversions for the expense reports.  Some companies have an approved manner for calculating these, so it isn’t an issue.  But if your company only requires a prevailing conversion rate for the date of the expense, then you’ll need a way to find those conversion rates.  I’ve used XE Currency Exchange for years, and they now have a handy expense calculator tool to make things even easier.  Ideally, you’ll be able to submit credit card expenses immediately and get reimbursement before the credit card payment is due, to limit how much actual out of pocket expense your boss needs to front for this trip.
  5. Once last thing to remember for international travel.  All electronic devices are liable for search and seizure when entering the United States, even if the traveler is an American citizen.  This includes, laptops, USB drives, I-Pods and other music players, and cell phones.  If your boss has proprietary information on his laptop, he might want to consider whether or not he wants to carry it with him on an international trip.  If he needs to carry the laptop for communication, then he might want to back up proprietary information to disk and delete it from his laptop for the trip.  Remember, the government can seize any electronics for any reason, and it may not be returned immediately and all information will certainly be copied.

So, what about my other readers out there.  Do you have any advice to give on international travel?  What are the pitfalls you’ve run into?

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3 Comments so far
  1. Alice Oerther (2 comments) August 22, 2008 5:31 am

    I agree with finding a travel agent who is experienced in international travel.  I handle international travel from time to time and have also found great advice in several books.  One is The Woman Road Warrior by Kathleen Ameche.  Another is Complete Office Handbook by Susan Jaderstrom, Leonard Kruk, and Joanne Miller.  This book contains a wonderful chapter on travel.  You can find these books for a reasonable price on  As far as the accounts payable/receiveable experience goes I suggest going to the website.  They have a great newsletter for bookkeepers as well as study booklets that will teach you what a bookkeeper should know.  Hope this helps. 

  2. Alice Oerther (2 comments) August 22, 2008 5:45 am

    The above webite for the American Institute for Professional Bookkeepers should be  Sorry if this caused any inconvenience.

  3. Jodith (189 comments) August 22, 2008 7:24 am

    Thanks for the suggestions, Alice.  I haven’t read those books, but I’ll definitely put them on my list.

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