1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
A. Experienced, Driven, Old
2. What is your job title and role?
A. Solution Principal, Senior Business Consultant
3. How many times per year do you travel and is it predominantly long or short haul?
A. I have lost count, but can be up to three months of the year or more! Mainly Europe, the Middle East or Africa, but also just back from Las Vegas.
4. What is your favourite business destination and why?
A. Have to say Dubai. Mainly because I cover a tricky region and Dubai is fun.
5. What are your favourite travel companions, gadgets and accessories?
A. iPad (Movies mainly), Kindle as can use that during take-off and landing and my charging block in case there isn’t a working USB on the plane. Most important is my Gate-8 kit. I regard that as a gadget. People I travel with still don’t believe what I manage to get in it ?
6. What are your business travel ‘pet hates’?
A. Being registered disabled and getting airport assistance my biggest pet hate is how I am treated in UK airports. Even Saudi treat me better than most UK. Also hate people that don’t look where they are going and keep changing directions in front of me in airports. Also I can’t sleep on planes, have tried everything. Not so bad during the day but nightmare on night flights. Last and not least, people who complain at security when they get pulled up. End of the day them lovely folks are there to keep us safe. Try thanking them after they empty your bag rather than having a go at them.
7. What is your funniest business travel experience?
A. Had a meeting with a very senior person in the Middle East that would delay the flight. He took our passports, handed them to an aid and said “don’t worry, your flights are not leaving my airspace without you.”. Meeting ended and we were very late but driven in his state car, flags and all accompanied by his personal guard and dropped at VIP. Still no rush, sat on comfy sofas with crystal chandelier and offered drinks. Passports handed back already stamped. Eventually get walked past security with no scans, get to the BA counter which was empty. BA guy sitting there says “ah we have been expecting you”. Get on the plane, sit down, doors close and take off whist still bucking seat-belts. Then my colleague says, “His Excellency wasn’t that good”. I ask why and he says, “well he didn’t get us an upgrade!”
8. How do you stay sane, organised and relaxed when you are away from home?
A. I tend to work from home unless travelling. So when I travel I have a routine. Think routines come with getting older. I unpack right away to save on any creases (but don’t get too many now with using the Gate-8 shirt bag), then set-up office. I use Skype on iPad to see my wife and young daughter at least once or twice a day. Luckily most of my trips are not longer than a week so easy to cope in boring places but always try to do at least one cultural thing whilst there, except for Dubai where its finding a new restaurant or bar and catching up with mates living there.
9. If you could change one thing about business travel, what would it be?
A. Apart from not having to do it (it’s a younger man’s sport), the price of things at airports. Why because I am at an airport do companies have the right to rip me off. Is this a global agreement? That one does wind me up.
10. Do you have any packing rules / tips?
A. Take your time, follow the Gate-8 packing guide, create a packing list on your phone (which I re-use and update), Use the space, socks inside shoes, if short of space, roll things (surprised where you can fit them and save on creases). Best advice is get the Gate-8 Shirt Garment Bag. Never had to iron shirts again since getting this. Superb for overnight stays too as can get everything I need in it and it slots into my Gate-8 laptop bag with laptop and iPad.
11. What is your best piece of travel advice?
A. I tend to zone out, let things happen at their own pace, no point getting frustrated or it will make for a stressful trip. I only zone back in once I am checked in and un-packed at the hotel. Also when at airports I set alarms on my phone to remind me when I need to be at boarding gates etc.