I was appointed by my company among 5 other subordinates of mine as their representatives in the form of a Pakistani delegation to Hong Kong. It was a new and exciting experience for me as it was for others. With the thrills and chills we had in the beginning, the challenges were highly overwhelming but totally worth all the effort. My colleagues were quite confused at times due to the language barrier and language unknown to them but fortunately for my frequent visits to various new countries things became easier for us with a little travel guide of my own in the form of a smartphone.
Here’s my little travel guide for the young and new business travelers.
We were scheduled to stay at the Silka Hotel, so the very first thing to do before leaving for the trip was to search for the hotel and all the surrounding locations in order to get myself mentally familiarized with the target locations.
Searching the locations and travel routes through Google maps was relatively easy. Marking the important landmarks, such as popular restaurants, bus stops, subway stations and shopping malls was done swiftly. However, until I reached that destination, I figured mapping out an accurate physical description of my surroundings was not doable for me.
The first rule of travelling: carry everything that you need to. But it’s necessary to know what you require on a foreign business trip and not to burden yourself with excess baggage. Asking colleagues who have been there is a good choice, but it’s always better to do the research on your own for you know your needs better than anyone else. That being said, all the necessary business equipments, which included a smartphone, laptop, universally compatible chargers and data storage equipment (hard drives and flash drives) were part of my checklist. Besides these, make sure you pack your clothes as per the days you’re staying and not to overdo with packing.
Smartphones really are a blessing! A large amount of burden was lifted from my shoulders due to all the utility apps inside one gadget. My family is always concerned about me travelling on business trips, so I made sure my smartphone was always charged with me. I didn’t have to get the roaming activated on my number from Pakistan because of the large number of free calling services over IP with their free smartphone downloadable apps. These apps were easy to use due to the instant WiFi access all over the city. This allowed me to call my family, as long as I was connected to a free Wi-fi hotspot which wasn’t a big deal for Hong Kong to provide as it’s the business hub of China. Since there were several free Wi-fi hotspots present in shopping malls, restaurants and cafes, so checking with my team member back at the hotel for some directions wasn’t a big fuss either.
There are several uneasy factors of Hong Kong. One of which is their traditional Chinese language which is spoken by majority. Their English isn’t fluent for which we initially suffered some problems. Then I made use of my android smartphone translator app and my colleague used his iPhone translator app that bridged the language gap in no time. That’s not all; since a very few amount of sign boards were written in English, and the bus conductor was also speaking in Mandarin (a language that neither me nor my team mates understood), we never knew where our actual stop was until we crossed that location several times. Taking a taxi was only convenient if you had a map with you, so you could point out your desired location on the map. The Google maps helped us in this regard along with the translator app so that we wouldn’t be lost in the maddening traffic of Hong Kong.
It goes without saying that Hong Kong happened to be the most challenging business trip for me so far but it has given me a lot to learn from as well. My smartphone did help me a great deal, along with some travel tips from my boss which I’ve now passed onto you all.
Hope I’ve helped you with planning out the entire trip. Do let me know what you need to know about Hong Kong and I’ll be happy to share it with you.
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