It is important to be confident when you travel, especially when traveling to another country for work. In order to be confident in your travels you should learn what the customers are like in the country, what the area will be like where you are staying and working, and be well informed about your itinerary.
I cannot stress how important it is to learn the customs of the area that you will be traveling in. No one wants to commit a social faux pas. For example, if you’re traveling to Japan you should know that there are different levels of bowing. Friends get a quick 30 degree bow, and superiors get a slow 70 degree bow. You should also attach certain suffixes to people’s names. Either “san” or “sama” are proper choices, the suffix “sama” is the most respectable suffix.
There are different table manners in different countries. Sticking with our example of Japan, it is polite to slurp hot noodle dishes. Also, wait to drink out of your glass until everyone is served and then someone will make a speech and raise his drink, it is then appropriate to drink at that time.
Other examples of customs that are important in Japan are using chopsticks appropriately; there is no tipping in Japan whatsoever; and always remove your shoes before you enter a person residence.
As you can tell by my examples on Japan, learning the customs from different areas is very important.
Another important thing is to do research on the area before you arrive. It is important to know the crime rate of an area and what you can do to minimize your risks. It is also fun to learn about different sightseeing opportunities that are near your hotel so you can enjoy a mini vacation while you’re traveling for work.
Lastly, try to memorize your itinerary. Nothing is worse than missing an important meeting with a client because of jet lag. Also, knowing your itinerary will help you schedule any sightseeing time that you may have available.