Travel Tech Q&A: Meridian Systems' Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen, the regional manager of Meridian Systems Asia Pacific and Japan, likes to spice up his travel, letting himself be surprised by his destinations. He shares his travel tips with us.

Chris Petersen, the regional manager of Meridian Systems Asia Pacific and Japan, likes to spice up his travel, letting himself be surprised by his destinations. He shares his travel tips with us.

Chris Petersen
(Credit: Meridian Systems)

Meridian Systems provides project-management software, infrastructure lifecycle management, project portfolio management and facility management.

What tech do you travel with and why?

My iPhone and iPad are mandatory, and just so portable. The laptop has to come along on longer trips, where complex things need to be done.

What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?

I've just started using Hipmunk, a cool little app for giving you a quick price for travel that is very easy to understand. Having airline prices listed in order of "Agony" for length of time of travel is my favourite. The Chipmunk is a little too mesmerising as you wait for it to return a result!

Personal travel advice or tip?

I am a huge fan of this: go out of your hotel, and (as long as it is safe) don't pre-determine where you will go. Live a little!

Look around and walk where you see the action or things that interest you. In every city, there are small streets or areas that are unique — embrace that! Design in Stockholm, tech in Tokyo, patisseries in Paris ... whatever you like! The last time for me was in London, when I tried "left right, left right" (you get the picture). I found the most amazing cafe that served a real flat-white coffee.

How do you deal with jet lag?

The only way I know how is to drink plenty of water and see if you can arrive the night before. Oh, and don't do what I did on my last trip to the US, and fall asleep at 9.30am! I paid for that one, big time. I felt great every night ... at about 2am. Oops.

What was your biggest travel disaster?

A few years back, I was on a return flight to Australia from Singapore. Easy flight — except Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne airports were closed due to bad weather (or Sydney's curfew). My flight from Singapore got diverted to ... Canberra. And, yes, you guessed it, they only had one customs official on duty, with four planes in our same position. We sat on that tarmac in the plane for eight hours. After a night in a hotel, we got to Sydney 24 hours late.

Is there one thing you must do before you leave home?

Relax, pack on the day of travel, get some exercise in and breath in Australia's awesome cafe lifestyle, if time permits.

What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels?

I know it's geeky, but I can't wait for a perfected "roll-up screen" (an OLED screen the thickness of paper that can be rolled up). I don't know what use it would be, but it'd be cool to pull it out of your briefcase! Sony had a small working one in 2007. Whatever happened to it?

Favourite destination city to work/visit and why?

I still love Tokyo; what a place! The embrace of technology is just fantastic, and the buying options are plentiful at great prices, if you know where to go. The people are so nice, and the food is world class.

Which airport would you prefer to be stranded at and why?

Trick question. Five years ago, I would have said Gold Coast airport (close to the beach!), but these days, so many airports have lifted their game with shopping, restaurants and the like. Heathrow (whilst a nightmare) or Vancouver airport both have great airport hotels, so in the worst-case scenario you can leave, walk across the road and get some sleep.

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