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Tag Archives: travel

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Tips For Smooth Business Travel

Katia Arias No Comments

Recently I had to organize a business trip and believe me when I tell you, it is not something you should take lightly. To ensure a smooth trip, I advise you to plan ahead and try to travel as light as possible.

Based on personal experience, I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you on your next trip.

1. Before going anywhere, check if you need a visa!

There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a ticket and then realizing you can’t enter the country. That’s why, before you do anything I advise you to check your destination country’s embassy website and review their entry requirements. Many countries have convenient exceptions but many others don’t and paying for a “rushed visa service” could end up raising your trip costs.

2. Book with a reliable airline

Everyone loves cheap, but cheap can sometimes turn to be more expensive. Booking cheap airlines can result in delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage or inconvenient malfunctions, which only adds to your stress and puts you in a bad mood.
To prevent any surprises and ensure a pleasant (and on schedule) trip, it’s better to book a reliable airline for a bit more.

3. Pack Light

Increase your peace of mind by avoiding checked luggage. Unless you absolutely need to check liquids or sharp objects, try to fit your clothes in a carry-on you can take with you at all times. Especially if you’re taking trains, subways or any other public form of transport, carrying a small bag will make your life easier.

4. Keep all your information in one place

If you’re visiting more than one country or city during your trip try to keep a binder or folder with all your reservations, flight tickets and important numbers/addresses. Make sure to book your hotels and locate the best mode of transport (if you’re not being picked up) before you go.

5. Keep local currency

From public transportation to hotels and cafés, there are many establishments (especially in small towns) that only accept cash. To ensure you can pay for any emergency it is always advisable to keep a good amount of money in local currency (depending on your lifestyle and needs).

6. Advise your international partners when you arrive and where you’ll stay

Letting your partners know about the technicalities of your trip could play to your advantage. They can offer to pick you up at the airport, advise you on the best hotels and tour you around. Keeping good personal relations with your partners can also increase your chances of closing that deal!

7. If it’s your first time visiting the country: do your research!

To avoid huge culture clash, make sure you look at pictures and maps of the places/areas you’re visiting. Learn some phrases in the foreign language and (if you’re going to Asia or Eastern Europe) you can even study some important symbols. That way you will avoid getting “too lost” or overwhelmed.

8. Take the new culture into account

Knowing how to properly address people of different cultures and bringing business cards in both your and their language shows a great deal of professionalism, commitment and respect. And proves to your partners that you appreciate not only their business but also them as people and as a culture.

9. Make room for sightseeing and fun

Lastly, it is not worth it to travel places if all you’re going to see is a meeting room. If you’re on a “very tight” schedule plan at least to have a meal outside or stroll down the street for a break.

If you have a bit more room for activities, plan to visit at least some of the most famous landmarks of the place!

If you find this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

Business English with International Business Academy

Experience and Travel within Guatemala City

Jackie Jacobsen No Comments

When I first came to Guatemala I was excited as well as nervous. I was not sure what to expect coming into a new culture. There are many differences here compared to the United States. For example with how people greet each other, the food, the language, and etc. It was challenging to adapt at first, but as time went by and I started to become close with people and get in a routine, which has helped me to consider this country a second home for me.

For my traveling within Guatemala it has been quite adventurous. Recently I had traveled to the Peten to visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal. It was so beautiful and interesting. I have never seen or done anything so adventurous in my life. Walking through the Jungles of Tikal and climbing the ruins was a whole new experience for me that was very enjoyable. download (8)

Now with completing my internship in another country has been quite an experience in itself as well. The internship at IBA has been great. I have learned so much about important business topics as well as my own personal career development. I have also been working on developing a training for the Company, which has helped me learn how to use the skills I have learned in my studies within a real world setting.

Overall this experience has taught me many lessons thus far within my career as well as my personal life. I feel I have grown as a person and have conquered many fears and aspirations sense being here. I do not regret my decision to come and live in a new country to complete my internship because it has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. If you are considering traveling abroad to Guatemala or in general I say try anything to make it happen because it really does change you and helps put your life into perspective.

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How to be a happy flier.

Patrick Gartrelle No Comments

I have spent much of my life flying. In fact my first flight was at age six months from New York JFK to Bridgetown, Barbados. I do not remember that flight but I am positive that is when I became addicted to flying. I grew around planes all thanks to my mother who has dedicated almost 30 years at American Airlines. I am only 22 so when you do the math, I was blessed into the luxury of flying. But I have seen the airline industry at its best, when in 1999 it was very common to find me and other little kids inside the cockpit before take off. Taking pictures with the captain and pretending to fly the plane were common prior to the tragic events of 9/11. After that, plastic airline wings, pillows, blankets and headphones disappeared. Accompanying those draw backs were new fees slapped on cash strapped passengers that received the bare minimum from the struggling airline. But today the airline game is healthy or healthier than it was last decade. Today we are seeing new amenities making their way into all 3 cabins of service today and flying is once again a little less hostile, but how can we do our part to make airline operations run smooth and in our favor. I for one fly at least 5 round trip journeys in a calendar year, much less than the global businessman. So how do I get through the airline terminal smoothly and at the gate worry free? It is simple you have to become a team member in the airlines operation and everything the airline does will work for you.

24 Hours before your flight.

Ensure your bags are packed and are not overweight. Check your carriers website for size and weight allowances for your bags. Make sure to ensure your carry on bag is actually the size of a carry on and if you are checking luggage make sure your bag is not over sized or overweight. A little research before departure can save you time and money.  Some carriers also have separate allowances for bags on domestic flights versus international ones. Ladies remember a purse no matter how big or small is considered a carry on bag.

Check in online. This is possibly the best thing you can do to avoid long lines and a misunderstandings with ticket agents or the self check in systems. Utilize airline websites because they truly want to help travelers and if you save them time at the airport then you earned yourself some time yourself.

Print your ticket at home and if the airline allows you to choose your seat before hand, than seize the opportunity! Why show up to the airport and realize that you are in the last row that does not recline and to make it worse the middle seat. Avoid check in lines as well, try and spoil yourself as much as you can before you enter the battlefield.

Day of flight.

Arrive at the airport 90 mins before departure for domestic flights and two hours before international flights if you are flying with carry on bags only. Add 30 minutes to your arrival time if you plan on checking bags.

If you are so lucky to only have carry on items I suggest making your way to the nearest TV monitor and checking if your flight is still on time and the gate has not changed from what was posted on your ticket printed the night prior. An easy way to also save extra time is download the app of the airline you are traveling on. They are a great resource and alternative to staff personal if the terminal is busy. If you want a simply answer to a very simple question. Apps for your smart devices include flight status, alerts, terminal maps and baggage information upon arrival.

I have always been a fan of packing certain things in my smaller carry on in plastic zip lock bags. It makes everything easier once I am on board but also through security. Pack wires, headphones and chargers all in one clear zip lock bag. Pack another zip lock bag with your passport, pens, sleeping aids and medicines. I always suggest packing a toothbrush on flights 6 hours or more. These zip lock bags are easy for security to see and when you are on board you are not frantically looking for things every 45 mins in the overhead bin. No one wants to be the person who stands up every few hours to retrieve an item from their carry on. Once on board take the plastic zips from your bag and place them in your seat back pocket, they are easily accessible and very well organized.

But before you can enjoy the wonders of finally being in your seat on a plane you need to pass through security as easily, quickly as possible. I usually believe this is the worst part for travelers and of course security measures vary from country to country. I am an American so security for us is a multi step process. But in order to pass through security easy I try to follow a few simple rules. I try to avoid entering security lanes that have children or elderly passengers waiting in Que before me. Unless security places you in that line opt out for another line even if it seems a little longer. I like to wear shoes that can slip on and off and use my shoes as a storage compartment for all my valuables. Stripping down before I even reach the convener belt is important and placing all my items in the bin neatly is also a plus. If you stay organized then your flight process will as well. Give yourself a pat down before you walk through security screening and it is that simple. Now it is just a waiting game for your items to pass through as well.

Make your way to the gate and charge all your items before hand and take this time to reorganize your carry on. Make sure books or other reading materials are easily accessible for a long journey. Have flyers etiquette and if you are charging your laptop use the USB ports on your computer to charge cellphones, tablets or cameras, no one likes a power port hog.

Use the bathroom before departure so you wont delay push back from the gate. Airlines receive millions of complainants and fines for late departures due to standing passengers. So do your part to keep a crew happy before they close the door of the aircraft, by staying in your seat.

But now it is time for boarding. Boarding seems to be the process in which everyone regardless of culture, upbringing or language looses their mind. First class passengers and frequent elite flyers never seem to have an issue boarding because they board before the remaining 85% of the aircraft.  I do not know why passenger catch cabin fever in the terminals but main cabin boarding seems to be a stampede and only delays the process.

So make sure you board when requested or permitted to board by airline personal. Refer to  your boarding pass as a guide to a successful boarding and know your group number. I always question when they board Group 1 and everyone on the entire aircraft surrounds the boarding lanes which makes it harder for everyone to get through. So sit tight and remember that if they run out of overhead space then your bag gets checked for free and life could be worse.

Once you hear the beep confirming your ticket is sending you to your next destination its time to have faith in your fellow passengers and realize you need them to work with you and the crew to hear the amazing words “flight attendants prepare the cabin for departure”.

Once in your seat give yourself a high five and sit back and relax but don’t sit back to far. Remember that you cannot have your seat out of the locked position until after take off, the same goes for tray tables and for you lucky ones in business / first class your lie flat seats and foot rest need to stay put tight until after the captain pulls back and brings the wheels off the ground.

But your fight to stay happy during your flight is not over yet. Landing and departure is also when you question if you are on a plane with people or cattle trying to escape from a barn. Observe the cabin and try and time when it is best for you to jump into the aisle like a car jumping lanes on a packed highway. But before you want to anger all the passengers in the rows behind you should take a few minutes to pack your things up that you have at your seat. Grab your carry on out of the overhead compartment and keep the line moving and make sure to compliment the crew, even if they gave Pepsi when you ordered Coke. It is okay because they are here for you safety and you made it where you were going safe and sound.

Remember that everyone smooths or destroys the airline flying experience. We are responsible for about 50% of our travel experience. Airlines, weather conditions and fellow passengers make up the rest of the equation. So do your part in making yourself and everyone else as happy and calm as possible.

Before flying remember

  • Dress simple for security and comfort
  • Plan the night before and complete check in task before arriving to the airport
  • Research your airline
  • Have knowledge of airline rules, allowances and federal / international regulations.
  • Pack, and pack with intelligence
  • Move quick
  • Keep items organized
  • Have faith in fellow travelers
  • Say Thank You!

and remember everyone wants to get to their final destination just like you do.

Guatemala-map

Guatemala, a place to live, travel, and work

Trevor No Comments

Guatemala, also known as the “land of many trees” named for its foresty landscape is the cultural hub and and the most visited country in Central America.  The official language is Spanish but being a country of Mayan descendants, there are also 21 dialects spoken throughout the country. The capital city is Guatemala City, a place tourists often choose not to visit, heading straight from the airport to the colonial city of Antigua.  At IBA, our internship program provides a great opportunity to live, work, and explore the capital city and also travel to top travel destinations such as Antigua, Tikal, Semuc Champey,  and Lake Atitlan.

IBA interns, Sarah Leib and Rob Dolot, have spent the last three months working at the IBA office in Guatemala City’s zone 4, in an area also known as 4° Norte (4° North), an upcoming trendy spot within the city, and also exploring the country.

 Antigua

Antigua was once the capital city of Guatemala. After being destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, it was preserved as ruins and Spanish colonial buildings, churches, and houses. It is one of the top tourist destinations of the country and a great place for dining, purchasing typical clothing and souvenirs, and exploring.

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shopping for local artesan goods at the market

 

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Just one of the many parks…

 Rooftop Views in Antigua

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Café Sky

 

Antigua 7

Jungle Party Hostal rooftop bar

Around the office, 4° Norte

Ciudad 5

4° Norte has become an urban renewal project started by a group of entrepreneurs to make the area what it used to be, filled with nightlife; bars; restaurants; and music. The IBA office is located in the heart of the area in a building called the Campus Tecnológico. The area bustles during lunchtime with business people and food trucks on Thursdays, brought in by the municipality. On the weekends, the municipality also organizes a “flea market” where local artesans come together to sell their products.

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 In the office…

Ciudad 1

Sarah and Rob became much more than interns to the company, they have become part of the team.  In addition to teaching local Guatemalans and online clients in Germany business English, they also became managers of their own projects within the company.

 

Ciudad 2

Campus Tecnológico, IBA Office Building

Ciudad 4

Coffee break at the local café Rojocerezo Coffee

 

Ciudad 9

International Business Academy of Guatemala is an organization that is dedicated to the constant improvement of its shareholders, customers, and its workers. Each person here has a genuine passion for learning and the office environment is one that promotes self-learning and rewards creativity.  Personally, the Professional Development Training I have received though International Business Academy has been a tremendous experience and has given me some great ideas that I will apply to any career path I pursue. Overall, I would highly recommend this internship program to anyone who wants to gain valuable international business experience in a friendly atmosphere that fosters growth.

Oh, and the food here is incredible!

– Rob Dolot

My time working with the International Business Academy has been remarkable. The IBA team immediately welcomed me in as their own and helped me comfortably immerse myself into the culture and country of Guatemala. My work days fly by because I always have work to do,the work environment is comfortable, and my co-workers are fantastic. Additionally, the housing arrangements they set up for the interns is great. The family has been very welcoming and accommodating.

Overall, I’d highly suggest this program to those who are interested in an innovative international internship experience! This has definitely been a great resume builder, I am proud to say I work there and overall have enjoyed my time with the IBA!

– Sarah Leib

Want to learn more about the IBA internship program? Check our the Careers section of our website!

Sources: mwengo   lonely planet  THE TICO TIMES

Photography by: Rita Flores

 

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