With many businesses working across a global marketplace, it’s become much more common for employers to send their team abroad for business. Whether it’s to manage relationships with partnering organisations or to start up new offices in other countries, there are many reasons that we travel for business. But, although we never anticipate our trips to go wrong, there are a number of risks associated with heading abroad for work.

It’s easy to forget sometimes, especially if you’re a frequent traveller, that all it takes is a lost passport, forgotten ticket, misunderstanding with the local authorities or a natural disaster for things to go wrong. Here are six of the common risks to look out for and be prepared for when you or your employees next travel for business.

1. Risks faced by employees or individuals

Although the UK Government provides travel advice online for when travelling abroad, it’s important to understand the risks as a business, so you can plan and prepare for each eventuality should it ever arise. These risks are:

1. Safety and security

2. Terrorism

3. Local laws and customs requirements

4. Country entry requirements

5. Health

6. Natural disasters

7. Money

It’s crucial for businesses to have plans readily available for any scenario in these categories that may happen. This will help to mitigate risks where possible and protect your workforce.

2. Working with legal specialists to help

Navigating all of the potential risks can feel like an impossible task. It might be worth enlisting the help of leading specialists such as Withers to help. With their global mobility offering, they’ll be able to assist your business thanks to their first-hand experience in collaborating with colleagues and partners across a number of international hubs.

3. Understanding potential health risks

As with any trip, whether that’s for a personal holiday or jetting off for business, employees and companies will need to understand any potential health risks. At least four weeks before the scheduled journey, those who are travelling should visit a health professional and check whether any vaccinations are required for their destination. If you’re unsure, the World Health Organisation website has all of this information.

4. Immigration and customs needs

Not having the appropriate documentation can cause major border issues. It’s important to obtain the correct visas and other travel forms you may need well in advance of your departure data. It’s also vital you understand the requirements at customs. In the UAE for example, importing alcohol illegal – if you have an e-cigarette these will also be confiscated at the border.

5. A good knowledge of local laws

Ignorance is never an excuse when it comes to local laws. Make sure you have a good understanding of local laws in the location you’re travelling too – it may surprise you at what constitutes as a criminal offence and what penalties you may face in other parts of the world! Alcohol for example, is illegal in a number of countries and some have implemented extreme measures where drugs usage is concerned.

6. Knowing the appropriate etiquette and culture

Knowing the local culture and the correct etiquette will take you far when you’re travelling for business. It’s important to gain the respect of those who you’re potentially doing business with, and understanding their culture and customs will help to impress and increase the likelihood of a successful business trip!

If you as a business, or even as an employee, fail to take the proper care when jetting off for business, the unnecessary risks you may be putting yourself under are far too great. By taking appropriate steps to mitigate as many risks as possible, you’ll not only help conduct good business, but you may be preventing yourself from facing legal action.