OzForex CTO David Higgins has had his fair share of travel, and likes to roll with the punches when the experience gets nasty. We share some of his tips.
OzForex provides an Australian online alternative to existing foreign-exchange services.
What tech do you travel with and why?
I prefer to travel as light as possible. My Android smartphone does just about everything that I’ll need to do whilst on the move in a small package. Also, noise-cancelling headphones make all the difference between being able to enjoy a movie on a plane or not, music anywhere or being able to make things a little quieter when trying to get some rest.
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
I can’t possibly pick just one, so I’m going for three.
Google Goggles is awesome for finding out what monument, building, artwork, etc, it is that you’re looking at
The OzForex currency converter (of course) to find out what you’re about to spend
MobisleNotes is great, as it’s nice to keep notes on what you’ve seen or what you should see.
What is your most memorable travel story or experience?
It’s the unexpected that often makes things special. Returning recently from Vietnam (which was incredible in its own right!), our flight was late into an extremely busy Hong Kong airport because of the bad weather they had been having. When trying in vain to get into an immediate flight, we were told that the next confirmed flight was four days away. Instead of ranting and raving as many were doing, we accepted their offer of four days in an incredible hotel in Kowloon with the most incredible food, and took our daughter to Disneyland, enjoyed some casual sightseeing and had a thoroughly enjoyable and unexpected end to our holiday.
Personal travel advice or tip?
Roll with punches. You usually don’t have much choice anyway, and a lot of fun can be had from things seemingly becoming a little messed up. You could end up having a ball in Hong Kong on the airline!
What (if any) travel websites do you use?
Lonely Planet is an old favourite; I am even old enough to have lugged the paper version in days gone by. Agoda, LastMinute and Wotif are all great if you don’t plan your travel. And any airline website, as it means that I’m planning on going somewhere!
What was your biggest travel disaster?
Stuck in the back of a ute going from the Wellington in the Cape Winelands to a beach in Cape Town. It was about 40-plus degrees, there was no shade, I didn’t put on any suncream and I had severe gastro. It’s not all that far, but it took about 1.5 hours to go 50km or so due to the traffic. I remember it as being one of the most excruciating journeys I have ever taken. When we finally arrived, things didn’t get any better; there were thousands of people and one toilet.
What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels?
Anything that gets me to my destination faster. Whether that’s supersonic travel, a true e-passport that gets me through immigration, security, quarantine, etc faster (without those archaic arrival/departure cards). They might say that the journey is as important as the destination, but I’m not sure I agree when flying at 30,000 feet, unable to sleep or stuck in a queue at Heathrow immigration.