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How to plan a business trip to Singapore

by Peaushan Devanarayana 11 days ago in travel

A guide to hassle-free corporate travel

How to plan a business trip to Singapore
Photo by Jisun Han on Unsplash

Considered Southeast Asia’s largest international hub, Singapore is today a go-to business destination as it is a tourist destination. Business opportunities abound in various industries, including technology, oil, banking, shipping, trade and tourism. Whether you are travelling to Singapore on business for the first time or not, it is vital that you go prepared. Discover a handy guide to help you plan a successful business trip to Singapore.

Timing your visit

Unless the timing of your trip is beyond your control, it is best to be mindful of a few things when planning your visit. Singapore experiences typical tropical weather. It is warm and humid, with unpredictable bouts of rainfall. December to January brings in the monsoon season, so expect heavy rain during this period.

It is crucial that you organise your visit to match your client’s/local business counterpart’s schedule. Singapore has 14 public holidays during which many businesses are closed. Additionally, locals tend to take short vacations during long weekends. School holidays in Singapore fall in June and December, which means many locals with families will be away on vacation. Hence, you should check with your Singaporean counterparts first before making any definitive plans.

Prepare the essentials

Ensure you update your passport and book flights and accommodation early. Singapore is a popular tourist and business hub which means flights and hotels get booked up fast. Research Singapore’s business travel policies and obtain any necessary work permits/passes if required for your line of business. Have printed/digital copies of all business documents, contracts, letters of invitation on hand with you.

Despite its modest size, Singapore boasts a myriad of accommodation options catering to tourists and business travellers. Look for a Singapore residence hotel, the likes of Citadines Mount Sophia Singapore, which offers business-friendly facilities such as internet connectivity and business centre services. If your stay is for a week or more, consider finding serviced residences that offer flexible long-term stay arrangements.

Research travel routes

Singapore’s public transport network is very efficient and quick. Hence, getting from one point to another is a breeze. Research the travel time between your chosen accommodation and your place of work/client’s office to get a clear picture of how long you will need to allocate for travel. Punctuality is highly valued in Singapore, which means tardiness is not tolerated. Singapore’s MRT network is reliable, fast, and convenient, making it the perfect mode of transport, particularly during rush hour. Alternatively, you can book a taxi if you prefer a comfortable option. Walking is possible, but with the warm temperatures, you will need a change of clothes in no time.

Business practices in Singapore

While Singapore broadly conducts business in line with Western business practices, there are still a few things to keep in mind when travelling to the country on business. Business cards are a big deal at both business and social gatherings. Hence, ensure you pack in a box full of them. As with other Asian cultures, it is considered polite to receive the other person’s business card with both hands and express interest in the cards given to you.

Lunches and dinners are extremely popular among the Singaporean business community. Hence be prepared for lots of business entertaining. Business is often discussed/concluded over lunch or dinner. If you decide to host a client or local colleagues at a restaurant/bar, ensure you choose seats inside as locals are not fond of sitting outside. Keep in mind that smoking is not frequently accepted in social gatherings, and it is prohibited indoors.

Handy tips

Preparation and convenience are essential when it comes to business trips. Consider installing some useful business travel apps to make your trip stress-free. An expenses app will come in handy when keeping track of your corporate expenses, such as accommodation, travel, and entertaining costs. This app will eliminate the need for you to organise your expenses manually. Instead, you only have to snap pictures of the receipts. The app will then collate the information and prepare an expenses report.

Consider setting aside a few hours/days in your schedule for some leisure activities. Take time to explore the city or its famed multi-cultural dining scene. Remember to pack your laptop, chargers, adapter, and an umbrella or raincoat to counter the rain. Stick to business casual clothes and a blazer. Men can throw in a tie if meeting with high-ranking officials.


Peaushan Devanarayana

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