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If there is one thing I can tell you about my country, Macedonia, it’s that you will get to meet a lot of hitchhikers from all over the world on a daily basis. What they do is come to Macedonia and hitchhike their way to all the popular cities and attractive destinations that my country has to offer, before eventually going to one of the neighboring countries. As for me, I had never experienced life as a hitchhiker until 2 weeks ago. It’s an experience that I will never forget.
I had just finished my work for the day and I was waiting for the bus to take me home. Suddenly, a man approached me and asked if I could show him the way from Skopje (Macedonia’s capital) to Kumanovo (one of Macedonia’s bigger cities) on a map. I was more than happy to help and after giving him the answer he wanted, he introduced himself as a 30-year-old man from Madrid, Spain (when I think about it, he didn’t tell me his name). Moments later, a woman approached us and introduced herself as Camille (from Lille, France). She thanked me for helping her friend and asked me if I was willing to go hitchhiking with them. To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect the question to pop up at all and I didn’t know what to say.
Camille went on to explain that they wanted to have a Macedonian by their side, so that they could understand the locals better. She had a nice smile that was making me feel comfortable and it was like I had known both Camille and her friend for a long time. So, I decided to accept her proposal and instead of going home and taking a rest, I found myself on the highway, some 40 minutes later, waiting for a vehicle to stop and take the three of us to Kumanovo. There was a storm on the horizon and I was not sure if I should just go with my first hitchhiking adventure to the end. However, my new Spanish friend could tell that I was having second thoughts about it and that is why he was telling jokes all the time. Frankly, I laughed not because they were very funny, but because his English was hilarious.
Some 20 minutes later, a truck stopped and offered to take us to Kumanovo. That is when I fully realized how polite my new friends were. As soon as we were on our way, Camille took out 4 sandwiches from one of her bags and asked if anyone was hungry. Nobody could say no to her sandwiches and they really tasted delicious. Meanwhile, my Spanish friend took his camera out and started taking selfies of the three of us and the truck driver.
As business professionals, you are constantly on the go. Most business professionals or travelers worry about various things including their safety, where to stay, getting to business meetings on time and making it to the airport on time, among other things. Although business trips are enjoyable, they come with risks especially for first time business travelers. Business trips require you to be vigilant, cautious and have laser-like focus to avoid getting into trouble. It is important that you remember the following safety tips so that you can take care of your business objectives without endangering your life.
Five Safety Tips for First Time Business Travelers
1. Have All Necessary Travel Documents
You should always carry all your travel documents especially if you travelling internationally. Ensure that you make copies of your travel documents in case they are stolen or lost, or in the event of an emergency. You can leave one copy with your relative, friend or business partner at home. Also remember to store your originals separately from the copies. Some of the documents you need to make copies of include foreign visas, itinerary, airline tickets, hotel confirmations, driver’s license and credit cards.
2. Have a Safety Plan
You should have a safety plan even when you are in a safe place. A safety plan entails updating your family or business on everything you do. In addition, ensure you have the contact information of your nearest consulate or embassy. Most consulates or embassies have duty personnel who are available 24/7 for emergency help.
3. Familiarize Yourself with Local Customs and Laws
While on a business trip, you are subject to the local legal systems and laws. These systems and laws differ from country to country or state to state. In case you break the laws, you can be arrested and prosecuted.
4. Prepare to Handle Money
If you intend to travel abroad, you need to understand the exchange rate. Always notify your financial institution or credit card company when making international business trips. They will advise you if the credit cards are accepted at the foreign country. Always pay bills with small amounts of cash. Flashing large amounts of cash will attract attention and this may pose risks.
5. Be Familiar with the Area
Other than knowing the local customs and laws, you should know the social, economic and political concerns of that area. As a first time business traveler, you need to do research and learn more about the place you will be visiting or staying. The internet and Smartphone apps are good sources of information and they will update you regularly. Ensure you avoid late night business meetings and always hold your meetings in public places. These will greatly reduce your risks.
For US citizen alway visit the Department of State’s Alerts and Warnings page.
So you love to travel and let’s be honest who doesn’t? There is so much of the world to explore that you should never have any problems in having somewhere new to visit and different cultures to interact with. However, being prepared for your travels is far more important than you probably realize and this preparation has become so much easier now thanks to the Internet.
Using Online Resources For Your Research
Even if you love to get off the beaten track or make decisions as to what to do or where to go once you are physically there, it is still advisable to do some research in advance via the Internet. What is the climate going to be like when you are there? What are the rough kind of costs that you are going to encounter so you can budget accordingly? How about any local customs that you have to take into consideration? Are there any areas that must be avoided? Do you need any inoculations before going there? This is all relevant information and by simply being armed with these details it can make your vacation far more pleasant.
Plan Your Route At Least Roughly
You may want to wander around without any strict guidelines as to what you are going to do or where you go, but there is still the need to at least have some kind of structure to your journey. Know where you are landing and where you want to eventually reach, unless you are based in the same location throughout the duration, and have some kind of time frame. If you are doing this alone, then make sure somebody else knows what you are doing in advance just in case something goes wrong.
Do Not Have All Of Your Belongings Together
Getting out there on the open road can be a fantastic way to see a country, whether you take your own vehicle or hire one there. You can see a lot in a fairly short length of time and travel freely without being restricted by the limitations of public transport. You can take a vacation where you are entirely in control. What could be better than that? But road trips can often go wrong. Here are a few handy hints that may help stop that from happening.
Knowing Before Going
I can’t overstress this point. When planning a road trip, always do your research. This does not mean planning your whole itinerary down to the smallest detail, but it does mean knowing the basics. What side of the road to they drive on where you are going? Are there any different road rules? Is a permit or toll payable? What are the road conditions like? How much will it cost (roughly) in fuel to get where you are going?
Preparation Is the Best Defense
Make sure that you are prepared for most, if not all, eventualities. Make sure insurances are in place, for you and your vehicle. Do you have breakdown cover that will cover you everywhere you travel? Simple measures like those can give you peace of mind and allow you to relax and enjoy your trip. Bring plenty of water to drink on each leg of your trip, and snacks in case you find yourself far from food.
Travel Takes Longer Than You Think
Each leg of your journey will almost invariably take longer than you expect. Learn not to stress about the little delays, and if you can’t reach your destination, let it go. Sometimes, delays and frustrations can unexpectedly lead to spontaneous fun in the most unlikely of places. Know when to push on but also when it is best to call it a day.
Let life happen. Stay in control, but not too much, and you could have the roadtrip adventure of a lifetime!