Travel Services/Destination Information
U.S. Passport Services: A nationwide list of where to apply for a passport; how to get passports the easy way; downloadable, printable passport applications; and a section with answers to frequently asked questions:
U.S. Customs Know Before You Go has specific information for U.S. residents returning home, including duty regulations and customs exemptions:
Background Notes, a valuable source of information on specific destinations around the world, can be found on the Web under “Countries and Regions” at www.state.gov, or call the State Department's public information number at (202) 647-6575.
U.S. Embassies abroad offer a range of information. See a list of “U.S. Embassies and Other Diplomatic Missions” online under http://usembassy.state.gov/. Americans who register in the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in foreign countries can obtain up-to-date information on travel and security in that country. The Overseas Citizen Services 24-hour travelers' emergencies hotline is for overseas travelers to leave with people who may need to contact them in an emergency: (202) 647-5225. For links to Services and Information for American Citizens Abroad:
The International Trade Administration home page is a good source of government data on various countries and hyperlinks. See trade events at:
Trade Compass, a Web site on international business, can be used by planners free for three days for information such as updates on business regulations: www.trade compass.com/guest/index.asp. Get free daily briefings on dollar rates, breaking overseas news at https://registration.tradecom pass.com/freetrialonline/fto_dailybrief_signup.asp. Questions on Trade Compass services may be directed to (800) 598-3220 or (202) 266-2000 (outside U.S.).
World Weather Forecasts lists weather information and satellite images for cities and regions around the world. National and international 10-day forecasts:
Travelocity, the mother of all travel Web sites, has detailed site and travel information on a huge destination database:
Event Planner provides country-by-country information, including many meeting-specific and event-specific services:
Excite Travel Guides has information on 14,000 destinations, including each country's culture, lodging, maps, transportation, weather, and yellow pages, plus travel tools such as currency converter, airport survival guide:
Business Travel Net has news and information on business travel products and services worldwide, including airlines, hotels, and car rental companies:
U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings and Bureau of Consular Affairs Information Sheets show listings of the latest headline warnings for every country of the world, including such information as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, unusual currency and entry regulations, and crime and security facts. The site also has information on conversion to the euro, passport and visa information, lists of attorneys, doctors and hospitals abroad:
International Dialing Codes provides information on phone codes, electrical plugs and codes worldwide, plus direct-dial prefixes for destinations, worldwide facilitates for mobile computing anywhere, and world television guides. It also has an explanation of how to make calls to and from foreign countries, and how to hook-up your laptop anywhere:
Destination Management Companies
Euromic, founded in 1973, is a consortium of more than two dozen European DMCs. Contact Euromic Inc.:
333 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601
(800) 621-8045, (312) 845-9734; fax (312) 845-9739;
Destination Management Companies has listings for more than 1,000 companies in more than 70 countries:
The Department of Commerce's Trade Information Center provides information on countries, tariffs, taxes, and trade events:
(800) USA-TRADE (872-8723); fax (202) 482-4473;
Department of Commerce produces catalog exhibitions that display product catalogs to potential agents, distributors, or buyers in selected world markets. Contact Export Promotion Services:
(202) 482-3973; fax (202) 482-2718
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency publishes a helpful booklet “Welcome to Canada — Your Guide to Bringing a Convention, Meeting,, or Exhibition Across the Canadian Border.” For info:
(613) 946-0237; www.ccra.gc.ca
The National Trade Data Bank is a compilation of export promotion and international trade data from 17 U.S. government agencies. The International Trade Library is a comprehensive collection of over 40,000 documents related to international trade. To order, call (800) STAT-USA, (202) 482-1986; fax (202) 482-2164; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.stat-usa.gov
The International Association of Professional Congress Organizers can put you in touch with member PCOs in specific countries. Contact IAPCO Secretariat:
42 Canham Road, London W3 7SR, United Kingdom
+44-20-87496171; fax +44-20-87400241;
The International Association for Exposition Management offers worldwide daily news and information about the exhibition industry, a show search database, industry reports, career center, industry links.
8111 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 750, Dallas, TX 75251
(972) 458-8002; fax (972) 458-8119; www.iaem.org
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research is a nonprofit organization that represents the entire exhibition industry. Founded in 1978 as the Trade Show Bureau, CEIR's mission is to generate research and communications programs that promote the value and benefits of exhibitions. CEIR provides marketing and research reports, as well as statistics and hard data about the industry. Contact CEIR:
2301 So. Lake Shore Drive, Ste. E-1002, Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 808-2347; fax (312) 949-3472; www.ceir.org
TSNN.com is an online resource for the trade show and exhibition industry. Its database contains data on more than 15,000 trade shows and conferences, and through a strategic partnership, more than 30,000 seminars. TSNN.com offers resources, solutions, and a forum for exhibitors, producers, designers, marketers and attendees. Contact info:
58A West 15th St., New York, NY 10011
212-924-9300; fax 212-924-8989;
International Show Management Companies/Publications
E.J. Krause & Associates Inc., a long-established marketing and marketing research company for international business and trade shows:
(301) 493-5500; fax (301) 493-5705;
Knowledge Industry Publications Inc., part of PBI Media, a B2B information and marketing solutions provider:
PBI Media, LLC Corporate Office
1201 Seven Locks Road, Ste. 300, Potomac, MD 20854
(301) 354-2000; www.pbimedia.com
U.S. Representatives of International Shows
Shipping/Customs Freight Forwarders
Green Gander specializes in exhibit building and staffing around the world. Representatives from associated exhibit services firms are available to provide any trade show need.
Green Gander, LLC, Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-1411; email@example.com; www.chrisfrain.com
TWI Global Exhibition Logistics provides online downloadable international shipping guides to air freight, hand carry/courier shipping, ocean freight, insurance, etc.
(702) 691-9000; fax (702) 691-9065; www.twiglobal.com
D. Hauser Inc. (customs brokers)
Michael J. Bonvissuto Sr., VP
182-23 150th Ave. Springfield Gardens, NY 11413
Panalpina Inc. Handles freight forwarding on six continents, including West and South Africa and Kazakhstan.
800 Arthur Ave., Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 545-1500; fax (847) 545-5599;
ATA Carnet. For a list of ATA Carnet member countries and copies of ATA Carnet forms, contact:
U.S. Council for International Business
1212 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
(212) 354-4480, fax (212) 944-0012;
Safety, Security, and Medical Services/Information
International SOS Assistance Inc. provides medical clinics worldwide, as well as emergency assistance and insurance plans. A plan called Global Premier provides individual and group medical coverage, death and disability insurance, emergency evacuation, 24-hour access to multilingual operators, and monitoring of medical problems abroad by SOS specialists. Contact headquarters in Philadelphia:
(215) 245-4707, (215) 244-1500; fax (215) 244-2227;
Global Hotspot Informationis available free on the Web site of Sheldon Little, a UK-based firm specializing in security and crisis management. Country-by-country information includes details on severe weather, flash medical reports, transport-related strikes likely to cause delays, and demonstrations and security incidents of concern to travelers:
MEDEX Assistance Corp. offers Medical assistance; insurance including evacuation, repatriation coverage, trip cancellation with direct payment to foreign providers; and 24-hour professional multilingual assistance with medical, travel, and personal emergencies, including medical transportation. MEDEX services range from doctor referrals to the coordination of complex medical evacuation assistance anywhere, anytime.
(800) 527-0218, (410) 453-6300; fax (410) 453-6301;
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to advise travelers about health risks, geographical distribution of diseases, and immunization requirements for all countries, and to make available to travelers around the world competent medical care by western-trained doctors who speak English. Membership is free, but fees are charged for services. Doctors are U.S.-, Canadian-, or British-trained. IAMAT publishes a directory listing of 850 English-speaking doctors in 130 countries.
(716) 754-4883; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Worldwide Assistance Services Inc. This is the North American subsidiary of Europe Assistance Holding S.A., headquartered in Paris. It provides medical assistance around the globe. Corporate memberships or event-specific coverage are available.
1133 15th St. N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, D.C. 20005
(800) 777-8710; fax (202) 828-5892;
InHouse Physicians is a group that offers on-site medical care for meetings and events worldwide.
25 W. 273 Concord Rd., Naperville, Ill.
(800) 356-3627; fax (630) 369-7657;
GlobalCare and Global Emergency Medical Services Inc. GlobalCare offers the MedPass program. Its Web pages offer an overview of the medical services and support provided by this company, including a help desk staffed by registered nurses 24 hours a day, who are able to provide telephone assistance in medical situations and make referrals to English speaking providers or arrange medical evacuations. An online enrollment form is included.
GlobalCare Inc., Attn: Customer Service
2001 WestSide Pkwy., Ste. 120; Alpharetta, GA, 30004-7408
(800) 860 1111; fax (770) 677 0455;
MedicinePlanet.com is a health site that features a pre-travel checklist, global food and water precautions, information on insect avoidance and altitude illness, country profiles, lists of travel medicine providers, and pointers on traveling with medications. A large site with many links and much information.
(415) 362-1444; fax (415) 834-9554;
The U.S. Department of State Citizens' Emergency Center issues travel warnings, health precautions, and other safety information for those traveling abroad. The Web site includes a long list of publications on various aspects of foreign travel, from “A Safe Trip Abroad” to “Foreign Entry Requirements: travel.state.gov/travel_pubs.html
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's International Travelers Health Site offers health information on specific countries, including vaccinations, health risks, infectious diseases, health requirements, emergency preparedness. Information for special needs travelers and safe food and water instructions are available. The CDC no longer responds to individual travel questions:
Corporate VAT Management provides a section on VAT refunds for businesses. Created by a management consulting firm that sells VAT refund software called AUTO VAT.
(888) 828-6468; (206) 292-0300; fax (206) 292-0123;
Currency Information and Services
The Universal Currency Converter is an interactive chart that lets you convert U.S. dollars into a selected currency, and vice versa: www.xe.com/ucc/
Foreign Exchange Currency Converter view currency exchange rates for any of 164 currencies for any date; provides interbank rates, currency codes, currency trading game:
(202) 408-1200; fax: (202) 408-1211;
Travelex Financial Services provides a comprehensive range of corporate and commercial payment services for companies doing business internationally.
(800) 535-4681; fax (800) 235-2544;
CNN's Financial Network Currencies Market provides charts of currency values compared to the U.S. dollar, showing the latest trade dates.
Visa Expo. Click on the ATM Locator on Visa's Expo site to pinpoint the exact location of ATM machines in cities and airports around the world. Site includes safety tips for using ATMs and credit cards worldwide.
Publications on Cultural Protocol
Do's and Taboos Around the World, 3rd ed., edited by Roger E. Axtell, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1993
Do's And Taboos Around the World for Women in Business, by Roger E. Axtell, Tami Briggs, Margaret Corcoran, and Mary Beth Lamb, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1997
Do's and Taboos of Hosting International Visitors, by Roger E. Axtell, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1990
Do's and Taboos of Preparing for Your Trip Abroad, by Roger E. Axtell and John P. Healy, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1994
Do's and Taboos of Using English Around the World, by Roger E. Axtell, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1995
Gestures: Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World, by Roger E. Axtell, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1998
Russian Etiquette & Ethics in Business, by Drew Wilson and Lloyd Donaldson, NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 1996
Chinese Etiquette & Ethics in Business, 2nd ed., by Boye Lafayette De Mente, NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 1994
Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business, 6th ed., by Boye Lafayette De Mente, NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 1996
Korean Etiquette & Ethics in Business, 2nd ed., by Boye Lafayette De Mente, NTC Business Books, a division of NTC Publishing Group, 1994
Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in 60 Countries, www.getcustoms.com, by Terri Morrison et al., 1995 (U.S. $19.95, Adams Media, 800/872-5627)
Multicultural Manners: New Rules of Etiquette for a Changing Society, by Norine Dresser, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1996
Professional Meeting Management: A European Handbook, 35 authors, available through Meeting Professionals International: www.mpiweb.org/resources/bookstore
Put Your Best Foot Forward: Europe, by Mary Murray Bosrock, available through MPI:
Put Your Best Foot Forward: Mexico/Canada, by Mary Murray Bosrock, available through MPI:
Going International: How to Make Friends and Deal Effectively in the Global Marketplace, by Lennie Copeland and Lewis Griggs, NAL, 1990 (out of print, but still available from www.amazon.com)
The Traveler's Guide to Latin American Customs & Manners, by Nancy L. Braganti and Elizabeth Devine, St. Martin's Press, 1989
The Intercultural Press offers many cross-cultural communication guides. For more information:
(207) 846-5168, (800) 370-2665; fax (207) 846-5181;
Brigham Young University and the Millennial Star Network (MSTAR.NET) publish four-page CulturGram briefings that cover greetings, dining customs, courtesies, gestures, lifestyles, and attitudes of a nation's people. CulturGrams, available for 175 countries, are updated annually.
(800) 705-4200; Fax: (801) 705-4300;
United Nations Publications — Sales Section, Room DC2-853, Dept. I004, New York, NY 10017
(800) 253-9646, (212) 963-3489;
Europublic does intercultural consultations toward understanding Europe: books; training courses; speakers; lecturers; and trainers for the private, business, institutional, academic, and association sector:
ExecutivePlanet.com provides online, up-to-date information on international business culture, customs, and protocol, gift-giving, negotiating tactics, business entertainment, cross-cultural communication, and more:
Digital Passport is an easy-to-use site with lots of helpful information, such as currency exchange, time zones, embassies, international deliveries, and international airports:
More Organizations and Associations
Meeting Professionals International offers executives a global network of colleagues, continuing education, and a resource center that sells literature. MPI maintains a European office in Luxembourg that is a good information source for those planning European meetings:
4455 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 1200, Dallas, TX 75244
(972) 702-3000; fax (972) 702-3070; www.mpiweb.org
MPI Canadian Office, 329 March Road, Ste. 232, Box 11
Kanata, Ontario K2K 2E1 Canada
+1.613.271.8901; fax +1.613.599.7027
MPI European Office, route de Grundhof, 22, L-6315 Beaufort Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
+352 26876141; fax +352 26876343
For MPI's Convention Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Plan, call Seabury & Smith:
(800) 503-9230; fax (847) 803-1653;
The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives holds educational conferences and workshops on international business challenges. SITE constituents located in key international destinations can be consulted or linked into a developing incentive program. For more information:
21 W. 38th St., 10th Fl.
New York, NY 10018-5584
(212) 575-0910; fax (212) 575-1838;
International Meetings and Marketing Inc. is a specialized organization that serves the international trade, investment, and meetings marketplace. Also publishes online The Globe newsletter of international meeting travel. Members are decision-making executives of associations or corporations with an ongoing global program:
1110 North Glebe Rd, Ste 580, Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 908-0707; fax (703) 908 0709;
The Professional Convention Management Association offers continuing education programs on international meeting planning:
2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Ste. 1001, Chicago, IL 60616
(877) 827-7262, (312) 423-7262; fax (312) 423-7222;
The American Society of Association Executives has an international department and professional interest section to support association executives and their suppliers who are operating globally. It also maintains relations with 13 other societies of association executives worldwide. Web site provides tools for meeting planners, self-study courses, job bank, and industry research.
Global Resource Center, ASAE
15751 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 626-2723; fax (202) 371-8825;
The International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus publishes a directory listing 1000 cities and member bureaus around the world. The member CVBs can help plan a meeting, often free of charge.
2025 M St. NW, Ste. 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-7888; fax (202) 296-7889;
For Asian destinations, the Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus can provide information and contacts: Contact the association c/o:
Macau Government Tourist Office
2/F Tourism and Conference Centre
Rua Luis Gonzaga, Gomes, Macau
(853) 798-4156/57; fax (853) 703 213;
L'Association Internationale des Palais de Congrés publishes the AIPC and ICCA prepared “General Conditions forwith Congress Centres,” which have been adopted by nearly 200 congress centres worldwide, which are members of the two organizations. Also defines keywords and offers quality standards for congress, conference, and convention centers worldwide:
1060 Brussels, Belgium
32.2.534.5953; fax 32.2.534.6338;
For meetings and events in Australia, get contacts and information from the Meetings Industry Association of Australia, a national industry association with 1600 members in Australia and the Asia/Pacific region. Members work in areas such as: meetings and events management; event and technical production; convention, visitors and tourist organizations; venues; meetings industry suppliers and services:
MIAA, Ste. 6,
9/17 Young St., Neutral Bay NSW 2089, Australia
+61 2 9904 9922; fax: +61 2 9904 9933
The European Federation of Conference Towns offers many services to U.S. meetings executives, including a free directory of more than 100 European convention destinations in 34 countries that have proven ability to handle a minimum of 300 delegates:
EFCT Secretariat, PO Box 182
1040 Brussels, Belgium
32 2 7326954; fax 32 2 7354840; www.efct.com
The International Congress and Convention Association has about 450 members in 76 countries representing the main specialists in handling, transporting, and accommodating international events. ICCA has an extensive database with information on more than approximately 7,300 international meetings, some of which can be purchased by non-ICCA members.
Entrada 121, 1096 EB, Amsterdam, Netherlands
31 20 398 1919; fax: 31 20 699 0781;
Tourism Offices Worldwide. This directory contains a comprehensive database of official government tourism offices and similar agencies around the globe, with links to those that have Web sites:
The Trade Show Exhibitors Association publishes The TSEA Guide to Successful International Exhibiting, by Rayna Skolnik, a contributing editor to this publication and its sister magazines. This helpful 84-page book includes sections on preshow planning, international style, sources of information and assistance, statistics on 99 international exhibition facilities, and a glossary of international exhibiting terms. The organization also produces TS2, the Trade Show About Trade Shows, and provides effective RFPs and other helpful exhibiting information. For more info, contact TSEA:
5501 Backlick Rd., Ste. 105
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 941-3725; fax (703)941-8275;
Here are some favorite web sites from the editors of Corporate Meetings & Incentives,, , Insurance Conference Planner, and Technology Meetings.
- For info on air service problems and on-time stats:
- National Weather Service has international weather conditions and extended forecasts:
Another good weather site is the Weather Channel:
- EmbassyWeb lists diplomatic offices, international affairs Web sites, travel and immigration bulletin boards, and EmbassyWeb member pages:
- Take a look at some of these helpful translator sites:
http://babelfish.altavista.com/ and www.freetranslation.com/
And at www.travelang.com/languages, you click your mouse on the icon of the language you want to learn, and access translations in seven categories that include dining, directions, places, and travel.
- For good info on international business protocol:
- For an easy-to-use compendium of state and religious holidays around the world:
- For exchange rate information, check out these sites:
www.xe.com/ucc/; www.xe.com/ucc/; www.xe.net/tec/; www.oanda.com/convert/classic
Giving Something Back
“We all know how horrible [September 11] was,” says Louise Hall Reider, CITE, president of Louise Hall Reider & Co., an independent incentive-travel management firm based in Bellevue, Wash. “But it's a wonderful thing when you look at how these terrible events have rekindled that part of us that wants to give something back. We've gotten back our giving spirit.”
There has been something of a charitable epiphany — a desire, even a need, to give — since September 11. Hall Reider underwent a similar epiphany back in 2000, one that resulted in her forming her own company, whose goal is to plan “incentive programs with a difference.” It all began when Hall Reider was an executive with WorldTravel Meetings & Incentives and was researching a destination near Cancun for a Muzak Corp. incentive trip.
“Muzak has always been very community-minded, and among other things had established the Heart & Soul Foundation as a way of bringing music to underprivileged kids domestically. When I was traveling through a little town near Cancun, I came upon La Casita, a shelter that had been established by a dentist from Mexico City to help the needy children there. It was a life-changing experience for me.”
She decided to integrate that experience into the philosophy of her new company. When working with a client to plan an incentive trip, she'll suggest donations, either of time or money, to a charity near the destination. For example, as part of an incentive program she is planning for Muzak later this year, the company will purchase bricks inscribed with the names of the winners. The proceeds will go toward building the Grand Bahama Children's Home.
“We're also hoping to get local children to perform at our various functions, and we plan to donate money toward the costume fund for their local festival,” she says.”Giving back doesn't have to be a big thing, you know,” she adds. “Even something small can help make people feel good about themselves.”