Dave Parker has just opened the Sydney office of recycling firm BuyMyTronics as its chief operating officer, having brought the idea back from the US. He shares with us his travel tips.
BuyMyTronics COO Dave Parker
ByMyTronics has been operating successfully in the US for four years, buying unwanted electronic devices (even broken ones) for resale to end users or companies that repair them for sale or need them for parts. The plan is to keep e-waste out of rubbish bins, by offering people an easy method to get rid of their device for cash. Parker said the company's kept over 100,000 mobile phones from landfill.
The BuyMyTronics site buys people's devices. People tell BuyMyTronics what device and accessories they have and what condition it's in. Once those details have been given, the site will provide a quote. That person then sends the device to BuyMyTronics and receives the quoted price.
It's for people who "don't want the hassles" of eBay or Craigslist, according to Parker.
Although BuyMyTronics accepts all types of devices, Parker said nothing beats having an iPhone in your pocket when you travel. Here are his travel tips.
What tech do you love abroad, where and why?
In some of the places that I've spent time in, "tech" isn't really the most relevant description for many of the things you encounter ... unless you count a stereo with reggaeton emanating at extreme volume 24 hours a day as "tech". In that case, your best friends are the rolling blackouts in Northern Ecuador because they let you actually get a few hours of sleep! The rolling blackouts were the unfortunate result of a weak rainy season in a country reliant on water and gravity as its primary power supply.
But otherwise, as always, hands down, while travelling, you can't beat having that iPhone in your pocket to help solve all of your problems (that is if you can get a signal or find some Wi-Fi).
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
That depends on the reason for travel. If I'm travelling with work I'm focused on good feed at a nice pub. At the end of the day, I look to apps like Yelp and the AGFG, Australian Good Food and Travel Guide. Travelling for pleasure pretty much means it's a surf trip and aside from the usual surf forecasting tools like Hurley Surf (powered by Coastalwatch), I really like Shralp Tide. Shralp is a simple tool that just gives you local tides and various beaches, but its best feature is that it works off its own internal memory, which means no signal, no problem.
Personal travel advice/tip?
My advice if you are travelling for pleasure is to just go slow and relax. I find that the slower you go and the less you aim to accomplish, the more people you meet and the more genuine friendships and unexpected opportunities arise.
What travel websites do you use?
What is your one must-have piece of tech when travelling?
I used to swear by the "feature" phone (so called because its only feature is its ability to dial numbers and place calls). My girlfriend took pity on me when she left Puerto Rico early last year and lent me her iPhone for three days. When I learned the magic of being able to check email and book my flights home from the side of the road in my rental car, life changed. As soon as I got home I bought an iPhone and never looked back.
What was your biggest travel disaster?
I put about 5000km on an antique Honda XL500 (motorbike) in South America. Unbeknownst to me, the custom welding we had done in a wooden hut in Northern Peru wasn't quite up to speed and the enlarged cargo tray had slowly been over-stressing the frame with the extra weight. A small tear eventually gave way and as the frame snapped in two, everything behind the gas tank, including the seat I was sitting on, fell into the road. Lucky for me, this happened at low speeds and the first motorists who came along didn't take advantage of the situation and helped me out of the desert and into the nearest town. Four hours and $8 dollars later I was back on the road...
Is there one thing you must do before you leave home?
If it's a big trip I try to see as many friends and family members as possible.
What tech do you expect in hotels when you are travelling?
First and foremost is what kind of connection they can offer you. I can't imagine how people travelled without the internet.
Which airport would you prefer to be stranded at and why?
Logan airport in Boston. I have a friend who looks after flight operations at Logan and on the few occasions when I've been stuck there we've been able to catch up, which is always nice.