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  May 18th, 2022 | Written by

How Supply Chain Employees Can Simplify International Travel: 8 Tips

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Travel is an unavoidable part of supply chain operations. Supply chains often reach across borders, involving parties in multiple countries, making international travel a necessity to cooperate with these global partners.

Travel spending is increasing for medium and small businesses as COVID-related restrictions loosen. Organizations beginning to think about these trips should simplify them to keep expenses and disruptions to a minimum. Here are eight tips for supply chain employees to ease international travel.

1. Reserve Travel, Lodging and Activities Early

One of the most important considerations for international travel is reserving things ahead of time. That applies to travel, lodging and anything employees want to eat or do at their destination.

The earlier companies can make reservations, the more options they’ll have. Businesses will have an easier time finding the most streamlined routes to their destinations. Planning has financial benefits, too. The best time to buy airline tickets is four months to three weeks before the departure date, as they tend to be cheapest during this period.

Employees that have reservations for dining and activities will find it easier to pack light. These plans remove uncertainty, helping travelers decide what they do and don’t need.

2. Read up on Regulations

Regulatory considerations are another important factor in international travel. Employees that don’t know what they’ll need to meet other countries’ travel requirements or laws will likely run
into complications. By contrast, understanding local regulations means they can prepare to meet them as efficiently as possible.
This applies to the return trip, as well. The U.S. may have stricter international travel restrictions than the destination, even for citizens. The last thing employers want is to get stuck at security
coming back from their trip. Businesses must stay on top of developing regulations in both locations to streamline travel.

3. Pack for Versatility

Packing light is an excellent way to simplify international travel. The less employees bring with them, the less time they’ll have to spend finding what they need as they unpack. Any security stops and baggage checks will also go by more quickly.

The key to packing light is to opt for versatility. Instead of bringing multiple clothing items for different occasions, employees should bring attire they could dress up or down to fit various scenarios. Travelers can apply the same principle to electronics, toiletries and other items.

Packing for versatility will also help prevent unnecessary expenses. Overweight baggage fees cost between $100 and $200 on average, so encouraging employees to pack light can save businesses a lot in the long run.

4. Choose the Right Bag

Employees should choose their luggage carefully. They want something large enough to hold everything they’ll need for their trip but small enough to enable easy handling. Security, weight and organizational features are other important considerations for international travel.

Generally speaking, hard-sided security bags are often the best option. These cases are virtually impervious to thieves, can withstand any jostling they experience during the trip and
won’t expand too widely as employees pack them. Employees should also look for colors that stand out to reduce any confusion at baggage claims, further streamlining their trip.

5. Consider Flying Private

It makes more sense for some companies to fly private than to book commercial flights. Since businesses can choose when to leave with a private plane, they don’t have to worry about delays or cancellations. Similarly, they can use smaller, less crowded airports that many larger aircraft can’t. Having more options can reduce travel time, especially when going through customs.

It may seem counterintuitive, but flying private can save travelers money, as well. Over time, it may be more affordable to buy a private plane outright than to pay for frequent business class tickets. This also enables more flexible schedules, potentially avoiding extra nights in hotels and the fees that come with them.

6. Stay Organized

Supply chain employees should be as organized as possible, regardless of how they fly. The less organized a bag is, the more time travelers may spend looking for what they need. That can make them rushed or late to meetings or hold them up at security checkpoints at the airport.

Employees can organize their baggage whichever way makes it easiest for them, but generally speaking, items they’ll need first or often should be the easiest to access. Along those lines, it may be better to carry passports, other forms of ID and tickets on-person instead of in a bag.

Workers should also be organized in their plans, having a set schedule to reduce decision-making delays.

7. Carry Cash

Many international travelers run into money issues, so supply chain businesses should prepare for these complications. Remember that 41% of banks use AI to detect transaction fraud.

Purchases in other countries may look suspicious to these algorithms, leading them to pause cards. Using travel cards or informing banks of plans ahead of time can help, but carrying cash
is a more reliable solution.

International travel brings too many complications for electronic transactions to be reliable. Cash is simple and free of these considerations, so employees should always travel with some.
International airports have money exchanges if they need to convert their money into a different currency.

8. Maintain Communication

Supply chain management should keep in regular contact with traveling employees. Unexpected disruptions or delays can arise, even with sufficient preparation. Quick, effective communication channels help workers adapt to these situations.

Traveling employees should contact their company at least daily, whether through phone, email or instant messaging platform. That way, all parties can stay on top of ongoing developments and respond faster to any news. Workers should also have a way to contact support immediately if they need to in an emergency.
Both parties should go over communication protocols and services before the trip. Having a predefined plan for who to contact in different situations will minimize confusion and delays if
something happens.

International Travel Doesn’t Have to Be a Hassle

International travel carries some unique considerations, but they don’t have to be disruptive. Proper planning ensures supply chain employees have minimal trouble traveling overseas.
These eight steps aren’t a definitive list of what businesses can do to simplify international travel, but they’re the most important. Companies and their workers that follow these guidelines will find international business trips can be quick, affordable and easy.