It is an interesting time to be an entrepreneur. The world is getting smaller every day, both with advances in telecommunication allowing us to connect with each other instantaneously, but also with faster and more economical means of travel allowing us to meet for those all-important face-to-face meetings.
Elon Musk recently announced plans for rocket travel to deliver people between major cities in 30 minutes. Google just released automatically translating earbuds for 40 languages. Hyperloop is regularly completing tests in the desert of Las Vegas for hypersonic land travel.
Unfortunately, for the present, we're stuck with old-fashioned air travel. Fortunately, we have some amazing options -- especially when you consider time, destination and amenities.
Bringing the World Together
For many years, Turkish Airlines has ranked as the Best Airline in Europe via Skytrax, and is best in class in many other categories. Their route map of over 200 cities in over 100 countries make it the most connected airline in the world, with the majority of their flights flying through their hub in Istanbul.
Onboard, they have service that includes fast, cheap wifi, full meals and comfortable seats -- even in economy, which means that it has fast become the airline of choice for business travelers throughout Europe. Their low fares have even drawn many from the US to take the carrier through Istanbul -- made even more palatable because the airline even provides free tours of the city or a free hotel overnight for long layovers.
But that's now changed -- overnight.
Due to increased tensions between the US and Turkey, and a recent incident focused around the arrest of the US Ambassador to Turkey, all US tourist and business visas to Turkey have been indefinitely suspended. In retaliation, Turkey has made the same move.
This kind of thing is more serious than people can realize. While airlines do everything they can to ensure passengers have the legal right to be in whatever country they're transiting through or arriving in, sometimes things fall through the cracks. In the case of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, he was famously stuck living in the departure lounge of Paris' Charles De Gaulle airport for 18 years because he had no visa to enter the country.
What can you do to lessen the pain?
Matthew Renze, international speaker and data science consultant who has traveled over 100,000 miles this year alone, says "It's hard to predict what will happen with international relations from day to day. If you do a lot of international travel for business, you should definitely consider travel insurance to minimize your exposure to risk."
Credit cards like the American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire offer automatic travel insurance, and you can supplement that by checking out InsureMyTrip. Read the fine print -- many policies offer no coverage for extradition due to acts of civil unrest.
Lauren A. Koenig, CEO of TWIP (Travel With Interesting People) adds "As Americans, we've been historically lucky to travel to over 166 countries visa-free or with visa on arrival. All of this is changing on a near-daily basis. As a traveler, for business or pleasure, you must stay informed on international relations."
It's important to note that as business travelers, visa rules are often different than for tourists. Ensure you have all the required information and have applied for the appropriate visa with the Traveler's Checklist.
Keep a Backup.
Christina Aldan is an international speaker and digital advertising consultant who has traveled solo several times a month on and off for over 20 years. "I have been lucky enough to avoid any sticky situations because I set myself up with safety in mind every step of the way. I bring notarized copies of my important documents with me (insurance, passport, visa, itinerary, etc.) and I also make sure I leave copies with someone back home in the U.S."
She also mentioned that she uses Tripit for Teams with her colleagues to create a digital footprint of where each of them is at in case anything does go wrong. You can also sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Traveling internationally is still a great way to do business -- but you may need to do a bit more planning and spend a bit more to get it done right.