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Europe is an economically thriving and diverse continent, full of business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. But before you travel to Europe for business purposes, there are some important things you’ll need to know.
Get the Right Travel Authorization
One of the first things you’ll need to secure for your trip to Europe is the correct travel authorization. Without the correct documents, you may not be able to leave the country, let alone be permitted access to any country in Europe.
As a starter, you’re going to need an international passport in place. You may also be required to get a business visa or get authorization through the visa waiver program (VWP). Starting in 2023, passport holders in visa-free countries will need an ETIAS waiver to travel to Europe for business purposes.
Prepare for Electronic Differences
If you’ve spent most of your time in the United States, you might be shocked to learn how different electrical outlets and plugs throughout the world are. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) identifies 14 different plug types used throughout the world, categorized as “A” through “N” to make things simple. You’re likely used to types A and B; type A has two flat, parallel pins, while type B is similar – but with an extra grounding pin.
If you’re traveling to France, you’ll need to be prepared for plug types C and E. In Italy, you’ll need to prepare for C, F, and L. Throughout the United Kingdom, you’ll need to prepare for type G. No matter where you’re going, you’ll need to prepare with the proper adapters – so you’re not left stranded without a way to charge your devices.
If possible, try to pack light. This isn’t really a requirement, but it could help you in a number of ways. You’ll find it much easier to coordinate travel and you’ll probably save some money in the process. Just as importantly, you won’t be bogged down with extra items that you don’t really need.
Prepare Some Common Phrases
If you’re traveling to a country where they speak your language already, you don’t really need to worry about language barrier issues. If you’re going somewhere where your native language isn’t spoken by default, it’s awful to prepare for some common phrases, such as asking for directions or inquiring about the cost of goods. While you’re at it, get a pocket translation guide that you can carry around with you so you can help translate things on the fly.
Get Used to Exchange Rates
You’ll also need to get used to exchange rates in different countries. Many countries throughout the European Union rely on the euro as a standard of currency, meaning one exchange rate is all you’ll need to know, even if you’re traveling between these countries. Still, it’s important to do your research in advance so that you’re prepared for the translated cost of items and so you’re less likely to be ripped off by a bad deal.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Even if you’re careful, you could be put in a dangerous situation or face a significant emergency. If you’re hit by a car, if you’re mugged, or if you suffer from a health complication during your trip, you’ll want some extra form of protection.
In the months leading up to your trip, figure out whether your current insurance policy covers you for international incidents. If not, it may be wise to purchase travel insurance. At minimum, you’ll want to do some research into the emergency services of your destination countries.
Travel as Comfortably as Possible
Finally, try to travel as comfortably as possible. In many ways, comfort is its own reward. But you also need to understand that being more comfortable is going to make you more alert, more friendly, and better at thinking critically, which is going to be very important if you want to be successful in your business trip.
Some of your strategies should include bringing extra snacks and extra water to make sure you’re satiated and hydrated, bringing entertainment so you never get bored, and of course, getting lots of sleep. You can have an easier time sleeping on airplanes and trains with accessories like the following:
- Pillows. Neck pillows, especially, are designed to be comfortable for travel.
- Earplugs (or noise canceling headphones). Block out the noise from your surroundings and fall asleep easier.
- Sleep masks. Bright lights are no concern if you bring your sleep mask.
Traveling to Europe can be good for your business and enriching for you personally. As long as you’re prepared with everything you need and you optimize the trip for your personal comfort, you’ll be in a perfect position to make that pitch, conduct that interview, or negotiate that deal.