I recently had to travel to another country (Brasil -- I'm from the US) for a business trip. I've traveled for my company before, but not with a big group.
I was shocked at how much drinking went on, and I'm looking for a few opinions.
1) If you're on a business trip, how much drinking do you consider appropriate, specifically when out to dinner with your local area hosts? I know that this could change somewhat from country to country. My guideline was "no more than our hosts", especially when the hosts are paying. Some of the guys on the trip drank to the point of being obnoxiously intoxicated. These were 40-something year old men, not kids right out of school and unleashed on the world for the first time.
2) If you'd been on a trip where it seemed like people had out of control drinking, would you go to your HR department and suggest guidelines for drinking while travelling? On the one hand, I'd like to think that these guys were seasoned travellers who know how to act in other countries, but on the other hand, I got tired of them not being able to show up on time in the morning.
I'm not a prude when it comes to drinking, but these trips aren't supposed to be Spring Break drinkathons. The company paid us to go there to work. Socializing appropriately with our hosts is part of that. Trying to steal the hat from a waiter is not. (OK, I appear to be holding onto some bitterness about this.)
1. Personally I like to keep my business drinking to a bare minimum. When I have travelled I would have a glass of wine with dinner if that was the norm or if there were bottles for the table. At a bar or social hour, reception I would get one liqour drink (usually a vodkah tonic) and ask the server to make it half strength for me (if I could discretely) or nurse the one and switch to ice water after 1 or 2. I want to keep my professional appearance, and being very young for my position I really dont want people equating me with out of control drinking, silly behavior, immaturity, or lack of ability to act appropriately for the sitaution.
2. If their drinking was affecting the word they were doing such as making them show up late for meetings I would ask the company to clarify their position on drinking "on the job"
My business trip drinking horror story:
I was on my very first business trip at age 20. My boss was a 36 year old woman (she was insane in more ways then one and when I eventually realized I could not work for her anymore). She made me feel bad for not drinking and called me a prude when I told her I wasn't drinking because I was underaged and the convention was held for a bunch of lawyers! She shoved drinks in my hand, ridiculed me for ordering soda or water with dinner, made me feel awkward for covering my wine glass during wine service, and insinuated to the hosts of a few receptions that I was showing my lack of appreciation for their hospitality by walking around with a sprite and not a drink.
All around I was disgusted with the amount she drank, a few nights I begged off after dinner while she headed out to a bar to get drunk (I was ridiculed for this also) and would sleep in sticking me with a bunch of people wondering where she was. One of the members of the board got extremely drunked and dialed my hotel room and propositioned me! Ugh!
So, I am sure you can see where my opinions of drinking on business were.
(I want to say I didn't have an issue with drinking, though I was under aged I WAS a college student, but I didn't feel it was appropriate for business!)