Travel Compliance for Business Travelers: Why an effective Travel Compliance method is important for Multinationals as well as Business Travellers

You are about to embark on an exciting journey to work for your company abroad, something that you will have to keep into account is the type of travel compliance policy your company employs. These are the things that you should take into account when dealing with Travel Compliances and what it means for an employee or employer.

Travel compliance is an agreement multinational companies have to take into consideration when sending employees abroad, such as regulations of the host country and policies the company itself has in place. Not all companies employ the same methods regarding their Travel Compliance, but all of them are in place to make sure spending does not exceed reasonable amounts and laws and regulations are taken into account- while providing professionals with comfortable accommodations when working abroad.

Why do companies bring over or send employees abroad?

One could argue that there is no need to move employees around from one place to another, because why not just hire someone that already lives there? In most cases, this is not attractive for companies if there is a certain type of expertise needed which they cannot find in the country they operate. It would be much more effective to rely on an employee that has a track record and familiarity with the company.

There are various risks involved for business travellers and companies when the regulations of a host country are not taken into account, what are these risks exactly?

For the company

  • Fines
  • Not being able to apply for new working permits
  • In rare cases civil/criminal action

For employees

  • Entry denied to the country
  • Fine(s)
  • Incarceration

Apart from the external risks companies and employees are exposed to when not carefully handling their papers- there are policies set by Multinationals to ensure employees travelling to work abroad do not spend excessive amounts of money. Of course, a multinational is not going to monitor an employees’ every move while this person is abroad, as this would not only breach their privacy but also create a hostile working environment. Instead, companies choose to set certain policies and methods in place to ensure employees do not exceed the set budget- these methods are never able to control expenses entirely, making acting in good faith on both sides imperative.

Expense management is a vital aspect of travel compliance, but what type of methods and processes can multinationals put in place?

  • Automation: By having a monitoring system in place to see what type of expenses are made, a red flag can indicate which expenses are of the highest importance.
  • Process optimization: Along with automation optimizing the processes that go along with detecting certain expenses are important, by automatically searching for the largest expenses it would be possible to avoid looking at all of them individually, instead, focusing on the most important ones.
  • Expense reports: By examining expense reports of an employee over a longer period it would be possible to see whether this person has a predisposition to spend excessively.
  • Comparing Employees: Aside from individual expense reports it is also effective to compare employees with each other to see if one of them spends more than the other while keeping relative measures into account.
  • Resolution Workflow: By assigning certain names for the cases in which excessive spending has been made, it would be possible to categorize them, thereafter it would be possible to see which ones are a recurring problem and give employees training to prevent it in the future.
  • Expense report data mine: By storing cases of excessive spending it would be possible to have useful information for other methods such as comparing employee expenses and having a centralized system possible.
  • Comprehensive Centralized System: By combining several types of information that can be gathered a centralized system will enable it to effectively deal with information.

Overall, it can be said that Travel Compliance is something that will be increasingly important in the future, parallel to the rising amount of Business Travellers. For companies, this means managing expenses properly and employees should be well informed about what type of expenses they are allowed to make.

 

Short Stay Citizens

If you’re in need of serviced apartments, use Short Stay Citizens to relieve you from the accommodation compliance. Short Stay Citizens work with professional serviced apartment providers to ensure industry recognised compliance standards.

 

 

By Selçuk Salman

 

Sources:

Visa Traveler, 2019 

The Accidental Expat, Baker McKenzie

Corporate Compliance Insights, 2016


Global Nomads vs. Tourists

People are travelling around the world to explore, learn and enjoy new places, cultures, languages, for their own personal growth. Everyone travels in their own way, whether that is by getting a hotel, an apartment, a room, or with a camper. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to travelling and how they will be spending their time in the city or country. 

There are two differences made when it comes to the people travelling, namely, the tourist and the global nomad. Well, at least global nomads make that distinction themselves.

Global Nomads

Global nomads have the desire to connect with the country.

Global nomads like and want to be called a global nomad, global citizen, traveller or if they are backpacking a backpacker. For now, we’ll just be using the word, global nomad.

A global nomad is someone who is well travelled. They travel frequently, usually for an extended period, and have the desire to connect with the country. They stay at local accommodations, join locals in their daily routine, connect with local educators, professionals and community members to learn firsthand about their culture, history and language. They want to learn and grow from their experience in another country and take what they have learned and share that with their community, whether that is back at home or online. They want to know how locals live their lives. Global nomads want to meet people in their homes, have authentic meals and contribute to their community in any way possible. A global nomad will do some research into the country before going and will even learn a few phrases to show their gratitude. For example, greetings, thank you’s and how to address someone. 

Tourists

Tourists often don’t stray too far from the hotel.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the definition of a tourist is: ‘’someone who visits a place for pleasure and interest, usually on a holiday.’’ In addition, a tourist does not travel frequently and travels mostly during the holidays. They often travel to a city or country that can offer them something special that their country or city can’t offer, for example, good weather or beaches. They will mostly stay in the hotel and will not stray too far from it. Tourists usually stay in the city centre, join in activities offered by the hotel and visit the hotspots. A tourist will want all the comforts they have at home available in other countries, including food. A tourist will visit restaurants with a familiar menu or dine at the hotel. 

 

 

At the end of the day, we all want to visit new places, explore, learn and enjoy ourselves. The only difference is how we do it. What works for you might not work for another and we should not shame one another for that. Just remember the next time you are travelling, whether as a tourist or a global nomad, we all want to have an amazing experience! 

 

 

By Naziha Bentouhami 

 

Sources:

Cambridge Dictionary

Nicola Balmain, Nanda Journeys 

 


Work-Life Balance

When it comes to making career choices, people tend to always say the following: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. The famous words of Mark Twain may be true, however, this mentality can cause an unhealthy work-life balance.

Work-life balance is the ability to enjoy the four aspects of a person’s life: Family, career, health and friends. And in the current digital age, everything is very fast-paced and employees tend to overwork themselves trying to keep up with the new environment leaving no time for the other three aspects. To avoid burnouts and exhaustion you need to reflect on your working habits and in order to do so, you need to set boundaries.

By prioritising and separating work-related activities from your personal home environment, a so-called work-life balance is created. It is important that the moment your working hours end, you are leaving all of your professional worries and responsibilities at your workplace. Some European countries have already undertaken several legal measures to control excessive working hours. For example, French law permits all employees to ignore their email after work hours and the European Union enforced a maximum 48-hour work week.

In the business field, business travellers face the most difficulties in maintaining a healthy balance since they are away from home for a long time. Being constantly on the road can be stressful since they have less quality time with their families and are surrounded by unfamiliar places and people. Also, in order to kill time during the commute, the travellers are tempted to catch up on their emails. To take matters into your own hands, we have gathered some tips to help you create a healthy work-life balance!

  1. Talk about it

When you notice that you are stressed out because of work and feel powerless, talk about it with people around you. It is not good to bottle up feelings since at some point they will explode. Engage with your colleagues, HR department and ask for advice on how to solve this issue.

  1. Start exercising

A great way to relieve stress is to do some type of physical activity. One of the effective ways would be to join a sport’s team because in this setting you are surrounded by other people and commitment to the game will distract you from your worries. Furthermore, doing physical activity will help you to reset your stressful state. For instance, upbeat exercises which make you sweat and raise your heartbeat will increase your mood, energy and make your mind feel more refreshed. Rhythmic exercises like walking and running will calm down your nerves. Whenever you feel like work is overwhelming you, during your lunch break take a stroll around the block.

  1. Plan

Plan your week ahead and include a window for the things you love doing the most. Having a clear overview of your task can help you think more clearly, however, your goals need to be realistic. When travelling on a business trip, try to schedule a few days either before or after the trip to do some sightseeing. This will be a great escape! A bonus tip, take your family with you on the trip.

  1. Unplug

The moment you leave the office, mentally leave all of your professional responsibilities there. Mute your work email and focus on spending quality time with your loved ones. A tip, never give your personal WhatsApp number as your work number. In this case, you will be getting unofficial work-related phone calls at unexpected moments.

Reflect on your current situation and include these tips to feel more refreshed!

 

By Polina Zavyalova

 

Sources:

Work-life balance, OECD

Deborah Lee, Forbes

Stress in the workplace, Helpguide

Work-life balance around the world

 

 


Make a Big Impact with a Small Commitment

As a global nomad or a business traveller that is always on the road, it is difficult to find time to maintain a healthy work-life balance and simultaneously give back to the community. Most of the charity projects require quite long-time commitment since the usual duration of projects can vary from 2 and up to 4 weeks of consistent dedication. To avoid the registration hassle and high sign-up fees, consider opportunities for an amazing concept: micro-volunteering.

Micro-volunteering offers opportunities that are cost-free and have little to no commitment. It allows volunteers to contribute to various causes on the spot and there are no commitment boundaries.

The demand for flexible short-term volunteering opportunities is on the rise because more and more people are leading a busy, unpredictable and global-nomadic lifestyle. During your work travels, micro-volunteering would be a great opportunity to explore the neighbourhood, community and culture. It offers great flexibility and a chance to explore various volunteer projects to discover what you like best. A great way to get involved would be volunteering at a local homeless shelter, food bank or any other local community centres. In the Netherlands, there is a platform NL Voor Elkaar which provides various volunteering options that are possible for one time only volunteering experience. The concept of micro-volunteering is known world-wide and there are other platforms that promote various causes such as Speed Volunteer in London or Cause Corps with various short-term volunteering openings all around the world.

What makes this concept even more special, is the fact that it is also possible to help the world online. For instance, an online volunteering act would be online sponsorship, crowdfunding, providing feedback, filling in a survey and much more. It requires minimum effort, however every small contribution matters.

No matter the setting, everyone should explore volunteering opportunities that the world is offering. Remember, each contribution counts and it will definitely make a difference!

Are you planning your next business or leisure trip? Contact Short Stay Citizens and reserve your next accommodation with us! Need additional information about any accommodation location? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help you!

 

By Polina Zavyalova

Sources :

Charlotte Jones, The Guardian

Anna Patton, Mission Box

 


Cultural Differences while Travelling

In the beginning, travelling abroad and leaving a familiar place behind seems to be scary, but then the excitement of unknown kicks in. This new sense of energy gives you the illusion that you are invincible. However, do not let this feeling cloud your judgement! What may seem normal to you, can be completely out of the ordinary to others- especially to people from different cultural backgrounds. Here are some tips on how to be respectful while travelling.

Hand gestures 

We’ve all been there, making weird signs and miming short sentences as if we are playing charades. Hand gestures always come in handy when you are visiting a new country or a city where a language barrier is present. This non-verbal communication might not be so precise, but it will still get your message across. Only, it is important to note that most cultures embrace different meanings and symbolism to gestures. An innocent gesture like scratching your chin can deeply offend an Italian. Another misinterpretation would be the ‘V’ sign that is expressed by most countries with a palm faced either outwards or inwards which indicates peace or victory. Conversely, if the palm is faced inwards it could be offensive to an Australian and a Brit since this gesture is equivalent to a middle finger. In Brazil, tapping under your jaw means: ‘It’s not true, just gossip’, whereas an Eastern European would interpret this gesture as: ‘Let’s get a drink’. Therefore, before visiting a new country, study the culture briefly and remember the basic facts with useful tips.

Personal space

How close is too close or too far to be considered rude? The concept of personal space is dependent on the country and the relationship you have with the person. Based on a conducted study by the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, residents of Argentina, Peru and Bulgaria stand the closest to strangers. On the other hand, Romania, Hungary and Saudi Arabia keep the most distance to keep their ‘personal bubble’ intact. Nevertheless, this all changes based on a type of relationship you have with a resident of the country. The closer the relationship, the smaller the personal bubble. So before you get tensed up about the amount of space between you and the other person, think of their cultural background and the type of relationship you have with them.

Tips to keep in mind

  1. Gum-free Since the 1990s, Singapore is a gum-free zone, unless it is used for medical reasons. It is permitted to bring two packs per person, violation of this regulation can result in a one-year prison sentence and a $5,500 fine.
  2. Eating with a cap. In Southern Europe, it is considered rude to eat with a cap/hat on indoors.
  3. Toilet regulations. Toilets come in different forms around the world. In Western cultures it is normal to sit on the toilet seat, however, in several countries such as in Japan and the Middle East, it is a norm to squat on the toilet seat. Moreover, in countries like in Africa, South America and Asia it is not common to flush toilet paper down the toilet.
  4. Drinking. In an Eastern European household, your drink (especially alcoholic beverages) would be automatically refilled by the host. It is considered rude to leave your guest with an empty glass.
  5. Tipping. Each country has its own regulation regarding tipping, usually, 10% is expected when it comes to restaurant service. However, some restaurants automatically include a fee to the bill. In Italy, this is indicated by coperto or servizio.
  6. Saying hello. For some countries just saying the word hello, is not enough for a greeting. The French and Italians follow up a greeting with two kisses on the cheek, whereas the Dutch do it with three. Other forms of saying hello around the world would be bowing, sticking your tongue out, handshake etc.
  7. Punctuality. Germans are not the only ones that value punctuality. Some cultures consider tardiness a sign of disrespect. However, in some countries like China, arriving within 10 to 15 minutes before the agreed time is considered acceptable. Whereas, in most of Latin, African and Middle Eastern countries, showing up late is considered to be normal and quite common.

Final tip

While travelling, be open-minded, try to learn a thing or two and embrace every culture. Nowadays, the world is extremely integrated and therefore there should not be any culture that is superior to others. Remember these tips, especially when going abroad for business purposes… You do not want to mess up your negotiations.

 

By Polina Zavyalova

Sources:

Herrine Ro, Business Insider

Rebecca Winke, CiuItaly

Carla, Opodo

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa, SocialMettle

 

 

 


Why Expensive Luggage Is Worth Buying

When you frequently travel for a living, the last thing you want is to stress about your luggage, as travelling can be quite stressful on its own. By investing in quality luggage, you avoid the risk of it breaking down during the worst possible time and it also facilitates you during check-up points. Allowing you to have a stress-free and pleasant journey.

Here is why you should always invest more in high-quality luggage to help you be organised and give you peace of mind during your (business) travels.

There is no substitute for Quality 

Samsonite Omni PC Spinner

High-quality luggage has an extremely light and tough luggage design with a lot of benefits to offer. One of the major benefits is the protection and security of your belongings. High-quality luggage will provide better resistance as they are equipped to endure the inevitable impact of travel and luggage handling during your many trips. Whereas, traditional luggage is not properly equipped and almost always bring issues along with it, which you usually find out after a couple of trips. The new generation of luggage is stronger, lighter and thinner than ever before. This is because they are made with stronger materials such as Tegris. This is because they are made with a new stronger material called Tegris. This is a thermoplastic material used in race cars and NFL helmets since it is very light and impact resistant. Their strength makes them more secure and durable. On top of that, the usage of thinner materials allows these new generation suitcases to maximize the inner space of the suitcase.

The protection and security a high-quality suitcase has to offer are priceless. They allow you to have peace of mind during your journey and you can rest assured that your fragile items such as a laptop or iPad are going to arrive intact. Allowing you to proceed to your meetings or presentations without any unpleasant surprises.

The ease of moving through Airports and Train stations

Another major benefit that high-quality luggage will provide you with, is the ease of travelling. It will make your journey easier and much smoother rather than taking up all your energy from dragging traditional luggage around. You want luggage that is easy to manoeuvre instead of luggage that will give you trouble going through narrow passageways. You want to avoid spending too much energy manoeuvring your luggage through complex passageways, especially through airports and trains stations. High-quality luggage, in contrast, is designed in such a way that allows you to move seamlessly through airports and train stations.

Time-saving and fewer risks

One key element that you must consider when choosing your next luggage is its size. Cabin size luggage designs are highly practical for travelling by train but especially by plane. Because you don’t have to check it in, you spend less time waiting and more time moving. This is convenient if you are running late. Furthermore, you avoid waiting if there are any delays with the luggage. Another advantage of not checking your luggage in is that your luggage won’t get lost by the airline. Which let’s face it, it’s the worst.

Special Compartments 

Samsonite Pro 4 DLX Vertical Spinner Mobile Office

High-quality luggage offers you divided compartments to facilitate a good organisation and storage for your clothes, toiletries and your tech supplies in one bag. Such divided compartments include zippered dividers, packing cubes, pockets or other types divider.

Best Carry-on Luggage for Business Travelling

We have taken the time to look up the best carry-on luggage out there for you. Here is a top-five list of the best carry-on luggage for business travelling according to Aslam S. from Omnicore Agency. The list is compiled in view of crucial factors such as comfort, durability, safety, and value.

  • Samsonite Omni PC Hardside
  • Victorinox Luggage Avolve 2 22
  • Merax Travel house Luggage 3-Piece Expandable Spinner Set
  • Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside 21’’Spinner
  • Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 3 22’’ Expandable Rollaboard

 

In short, as someone who travels a lot for a living you want to make your travels are as efficient and pleasant as possible. Having a high-quality suitcase or carry-on can help in achieving this. It secures your belongings, has perfect compartments and doesn’t compromise the inside space.  Furthermore, high-quality luggage is designed to allow you to travel smooth and effortlessly through airports and trains stations.

 

By Anthony Rasmijn

 

Source

Aslam, S. (2019) – Omnicore Agency

Green, D. (2016). -Business Insider 

 


How to choose a good restaurant when you're travelling

As a global traveller, you are continuous going to new places, learning new languages and cultures. It is part of the travelling journey. What is more exciting is that you get to enjoy the local cuisine! Therefore, it is always important to do some internet research or make use of apps that help you choose your choice of the day. This will minimise your chances of ending up in a regrettable situation.

Ask a local 

Whether you’re travelling for business, pleasure, or both..travelling is a journey. You start your morning with the usual, breakfast and coffee. Later, you don’t know where to eat and the hotel buffet just doesn’t look appetising enough. What do you do? You ask a local! Ask your concierge at the aparthotel you’re staying at, ask the serviced apartment host, ask the cab driver..ask, anyone! Ask where to go to experience the local cuisine or where the best restaurants are. Engage with the locals to have a better experience!

Before you go ahead and decide what to eat later in the evening, check websites or apps like Tripadvisor, Yelp and Foursquare. These websites have many selections of cuisine choice and many reviews. This will help you save time and unpleasant experiences.

 

Zomato app

Plan ahead 

An extra tip is to use restaurant apps. Top 3 restaurants application that you need to download and is free are Open table, Tastefull and Zomato. These apps have many hidden and very useful perks. You can search for your restaurant and the menu is available for your selection of taste. The apps work in all major tourist destinations.

 

 

Ben Thanh

Street Food Market 

Always ask locals if they have a street food market where you’re staying at. You’ll be surprised to see what they have in store for you! From local fresh fruits to freshly baked bread, spices and herbs, and stalls that cook the food right in front of you! You pay less and you can taste so many different cuisines. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

 

PS. Tips for tips

Okay, you found an amazing restaurant and the bill comes..now what? Back at home, you know everything. You know the restaurant, the people, where to go and what to tip. It is different when you go abroad. Not all around the world uses the “tipping” system. For example, in some countries, the tip is known as a service charge and is already added to the bill. And in other countries, it’s not added automatically, some require you to leave between 10% to 15% of the bill. If you don’t know, search online, or just ask the waiter, politely, how it works here.

 

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

 Travelling to new places becomes a new journey and a new life experience for you. It can be the food, the language, the religion and the people you meet along the way. You can enjoy the best coffee prepared by the lovely barista, a delightful wine tasting course or an amazing dinner served by the polite waitress. All these experiences become your memories. Do a little online research, engage with the locals and enjoy the journey.

 

By: Corina Ng Wu

 

Reference:

(Travel Stack Exchange, 2018)

(Durack, 2015)


5 tips to reduce jet lag

Being a global nomad allows you to travel the world. You’re constantly on the move. Switching from one place to another and switching from one time-zone to another. It can be really exhausting to adapt our biological clocks of our bodies every time we’re on the move. Especially after long hours of flight, we become restless, and it’s more difficult to fall asleep. We all know the inconveniences of jet lag. We’ve gathered 5 tips to make your life a little easier and jet lag a little more bearable.

Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is stimulant that can give you an energy boost to go through the day. This substance is highly addictive and can be found in coffee, tea and energy drinks. As a business traveller, you’re always on the go, attending different meetings and you are more prone to be exposed to beverages containing caffeine. Sebastian Beaton from Barista Del Caffe explains in his article, “The Health Benefits of Coffee: Is coffee good or bad for you?”, that caffeine works by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is responsible for inducing sleep. Too much caffeine can cause sleeplessness, especially if taken later in the day. The caffeine effects can take up to 6 hours to wear off. That’s why it is advised to not consume caffeine 6 hours before going to sleepThe Mayo Clinic states that 400 mg of caffeine a day should be enough for healthy adults. That is roughly 4 cups of coffee,10 cans of cola or 2 energy shot drinks.

Avoid alcohol
One of the most common mistakes we make while travelling is drinking alcohol to relax during the long hours of flight. A survey revealed that 42% of Singaporeans avoid alcohol completely to try to adapt to a new time zone. Drinking also causes dehydration to the body and if we drink too much it may also lead to a hangover. The combination of a hangover with jet lag can be extremely bad especially when you need to be fully functional for meetings the next day. So, avoiding alcohol is the best option to prevent dehydration and hangover on top of jet lag.

Be active
Doing some light bodyweight exercise can help to stretch our muscles to reduce cramp and relaxes your body. The most recommended exercise for better sleep is yoga, where you can practice prior to bedtime or in the morning. Yoga doesn’t require any equipment -just a yoga mat- and you can easily find a video for a yoga tutorial online. The same survey mentioned previously also revealed that 45% of Singaporeans do exercise or take in fresh air before a flight to try to avoid jet lag.

 

Sleep better
Waking up in a different time zone can be really challenging if you didn’t sleep properly. Adjust your sleep schedule to shift your bedtime or awakening time to help your body’s internal clock move closer to your destination’s time zone. Do this ahead of time, at least 3 to 5 days before your trip. If you arrive in the daylight, expose your self to natural sunlight for 15-30 minutes right after you wake up. This helps our body to feel more awake. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, this will slow down the adaptation of the biological clock. If you really need to take a nap, don’t nap more than 20 minutes. If you arrive in the nighttime, set the stage for a good night’s sleep: dm your lights, eat lightly and do an activity that relaxes you.

Stay hydrated
Spending long hours on a flight can cause serious dehydration, the oxygen and humidity are way lower in the cabin. For example, men can lose up to 2 litres of water on a 10-hour flight and women can lose up to 1.6 litres of water. Our body consists of 70% of water, we need to consume plenty of liquid to stay hydrated. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to drink a glass of water every hour to prevent dehydration. When someone is dehydrated it has a significant impact on the overall health and mood. Which consequently reduces the cognitive functions of the brain and increase tiredness and fatigue.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate jet lag, but this can be reduced following these simple tips. Don’t forget these useful tips for your next trip: Limit caffeine intake, avoid alcohol, be active, sleep better and stay hydrated!

By Yan Yue