International Event Planning Tools and Tips

When planning business meetings and corporate events in other countries, there are a number of considerations. Here are some international event planning tips as well as some useful tools.

Time Zone Differences

The greater the time zone difference between where attendees live and the destination, the longer the meeting or event should be to allow enough time for rest and recovery from jet lag.

Consider bringing attendees who are traveling form the furthest points in a day ahead of the rest of the group so that they can be full rested by the time the start of the meeting or corporate event.


Differences in electrical current can influence everything from whether you will be able to bring some of your own AV to the number of converters you need for AV.

Food and Beverage

For sure, food and beverage differences and the availability of Western cuisine are important considerations. Regulations about the sale and consumption of alcohol are of particular importance.

For example, in the United Arab Emirates, alcohol is not permitted in Sharjah. Licenses are required to purchase and serve alcohol in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman and the other emirates do not require licenses.

If you’re planning an event in the province of Ontario (Canada), licenses are required to serve alcohol at venues that don’t have their own licenses. In addition to the legal intoxication limit.(blowing over 0.8 on a breathalyzer test), there is now a warn zone of ) 0.5 – 0.8. Within that zone, licenses will be temporarily suspended, cars will be confiscated and drivers fined. If an event attendee gets into an accident and injures or kills someone when intoxicated, the event organizer and sponsoring organizer are legally liable.

Appropriate Behaviour for Corporate Trips

When selecting a destination, it is extremely important to do your homework and brief attendees about what behaviour is acceptable. For example, while public displays of affection are common in North America, they are not considered appropriate in many countries.

Dress Code

Take your cue from local residents and you won’t go wrong. In parts of Europe, sneakers are considered to be appropriate only for sports. Outside of North America, in many countries, ¬†tank tops and shorts are not considered to be acceptable on city streets.

In Muslim countries, it would be considered inappropriate for women to wear sleeveless tops, short skirts or skimpy bathing suits in public. Off the beach, men should also avoid sleeveless tops and shorts that are shorter than walking length.


Years ago, there used to be a TV commercial “When you’re busted for drugs over there, you’re in for the hassle of your life.” It still applies. Some countries have severe penalties like death at a firing squad if you have more than a certain amount of marijuana or other illegal drugs in your possession as it is considered to be trafficking. The warning is usually right on your landing card. Take it seriously.


Other helpful information includes:

Helpful Resources
Joan Eisenstodt, Washington, DC-based veteran event planner, industry trainer and facilitator, recently shared this interesting resource:

Here are some other useful tools:

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One thought on “International Event Planning Tools and Tips

  1. When you’re planning an event outside the US, you also have to take these tips under consideration:
    Plan your shipments with plenty of time, ask about import restrictions at your destination, delays can be costly.
    Not every customs broker has experience with trade shows and events, you probably need a logistics company.
    Your boxes will probably be opened at Customs, be aware of that, and also you can save them some time if you pack your items systematically, indiscriminate packaging causes difficulty.
    Do not use a courier (FedEx, UPS, etc) and ship directly to your venue, unless you are only sending brochures. Convention centers and hotels usually don’t have the appropriate import license for your imports.
    Hope this helps!

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