Headed to Hong Kong for Business? While we all love a family holiday, traveling for work can be just as much of an adventure. By planning ahead, you can minimize your stress and maximize your leisure time when you touch down in Hong Kong.
Here are 7 things to make your business trip to Hong Kong run smoothly.
1) Check Health Advice
If you’re a savvy business leader like this one, you can’t afford to miss an important flight or get relegated to hotel quarantine for an extended period – your company needs you. Before even booking your flight, familiarize yourself with the current COVID-19 restrictions both at home and in your destination country. At the time of writing, Hong Kong Airport requires travelers to be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test to board. Three days of hotel quarantine may also be mandatory upon arrival.
2) Check The Weather
Check the 7-day weather forecast before traveling. Hong Kong weather is notoriously humid, especially during the summer months. When you’re ready to discard your business suit for the day, make sure you have something comfortable to slip into. A good choice to combat humidity is high-quality linen and loose-fitting cotton shirts. Steer clear of polyester. Also try to avoid wearing all black outfits as these can be associated with gang culture!
3) Plan Your Transport
Even if your business has set you up with a driver or car, it’s worth picking up an Octopus Card as soon as you land in Hong Kong. Once loaded with funds, the Octopus Card will let you instantly pay for parking meters and petrol. More importantly, it will give you access to the city’s extensive mass transit railway. Hong Kong can be prone to traffic jams and parking is often expensive – an Octopus card will keep your travel options open.
4) Carry Cash
Despite being a technologically advanced city, Hong Kong has an unusual affinity for cash. Although credit cards and the Octopus card are becoming more and more widely used, street vendors and local markets still trade almost exclusively in cash. Taxis also expect cash payments. Local ATMs can charge hefty fees to convert currency, so prepare yourself by exchanging your currency for $HKD prior to traveling.
5) Brush Up on Your Cantonese
Hong Kong is a cultural melting pot and many citizens have at least a basic grasp of English. But, if you really want to make the most of your trip, learning a few Cantonese words will help you stay safe and build rapport with the locals. Phrases such as ‘yes, no, it’s too expensive, where is the bathroom’ are a good start. Vendors may charge inflated prices to obvious vacationers, so learning the basics may help you avoid a ‘tourist tax’ at the markets. Click here for a list of helpful phrases for travelers.
6) Bring an Adapter
When traveling for business, you can’t afford for your phone or laptop to go flat. Make sure you prepare by buying appropriate charging adapters for all your devices. Hong Kong uses the three-pronged UK-style plugs and a voltage that is higher than in the United States. Fortunately, most mobile phones are multi-voltage these days. However, double check your laptops specs before plugging in at the hotel or risk a fire hazard!
7) The City Wakes Up Late
Unlike the US or Canada, Hong Kong wakes up late. If you’re hoping to grab a 7am coffee before your first meeting of the day, you’ll probably have to make it yourself! Typically, coffee shops and breakfast bars open closer to 9am. Small businesses open their doors even later, often around 10 or 11 am. Closing times vary wildly, so be sure to Google ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Conversely, you may find more stores in tourist areas open late on weekends than you would at home!
Hong Kong is a truly breathtaking city. If you’re visiting for business, try to negotiate a few extra vacation days and a later flight home with your boss. You’ll be disappointed if you miss out on a chance to fully take in the culture, history and nightlife of this bustling concrete jungle.