1. Describe yourself in 3 words: Bald, pragmatic dreamer.
2. What is your job title and role?
International regulatory affairs manager
3. How many times per year do you travel and is it predominantly long or short haul?
Varies – somewhere between 10 and 20. Predominantly short haul at the moment.
4. What is your favourite business destination and why?
I have a soft spot for Basel, which I visited many times over a couple of years. It’s small and friendly, has a beautiful vibe to it. The old town is unique and glorious. Although the fact that I haven’t been there now for a few years probably lends it a bit of a nostalgic glow as well.
5. What are your favourite travel companions, gadgets and accessories?
Bit of a gadget geek. I have an Asus Trio, which runs both Windows and Android as a laptop and a tablet. It’s a bit glitchy sometimes, but I love the flexibility. Sad that Google and Microsoft conspired to prevent further dual-boot tablets – being able to switch effortlessly between direct sync email, Kindle and Google Play movies on the Android table and Windows for remote desktopping and other PC-driven tasks is just great. I love the CityMapper app for finding my way around the big cities.
6. What are your business travel ‘pet hates’?
Dealing with currency expense forms. Hotels that charge extra for wifi. Not knowing what the local tipping culture is (I once found my hotel room in the US not being cleaned because I hadn’t realised that it was expected to leave a gratuity on the bed each day).
7. What is your funniest business travel experience?
My wife and baby daughter came out to stay in Basel one time after a work stint. While I was distracted, my daughter pick-pocketed my Blackberry and succeeded in calling an important work contact and burbling incomprehensibly at him. I had to retrieve the phone and try to apologise and explain over the top of the inevitable howls and tears at having the prize confiscated. It was a bit awkward, but I think I got away with it.
8. How do you stay sane, organised and relaxed when you are away from home?
If possible I always fully unpack into the drawers and wardrobe of wherever I am staying – even if it’s only one night. It might take a few minutes, but then I know where everything is and don’t get blindsided in the morning if it turns out I’ve forgotten something.
9. If you could change one thing about business travel, what would it be?
I’d nuke Miami airport from orbit, and build it again from scratch. It’s the only way to be sure (note to TSA/FBI – this is a joke).
10. Do you have any packing rules / tips?
Pack the PJs last. If you arrive late, you don’t want to be rummaging around to find them.
Print the boarding pass if you can. Although just having it on your phone is appealing, it’s actually much easier to deal with it on paper, and you’re not left flapping if your battery runs out.
Get a heavy-duty clear plastic toiletries bag – if you travel often there’s no point faffing round transferring everything into a disposable plastic bag every time you take a plane. (Every GATE8 bag has one!)
11. What is your best piece of travel advice?
If you’re stuck in an airport line and worried about missing a flight, just swallow your Britishness and politely ask those in front of you if you can jump some queues. Pretty much everyone in an airport knows what it’s like to be in a sticky position like that, and will most likely just wave you through and wish you good luck.