In this week's ZDNet Travel Tech Q&A, MyNetFone Group co-founder and CEO Rene Sugo talks about the things he can't live without when travelling, what he expects to see in hotels, and his tried-and-tested technique to beat jetlag.
What tech do you travel with and why?
I love my gadgets, and I don't go anywhere without my smartphone and laptop. However, I don't like paying too much for my communications while I'm overseas, so I'm a big user of VoIP.
Of course, devices are useless without power, so I always take a power adapter. Plus, to make sure I can charge all my gadgets at the same time, I take a four-way power strip in my luggage. I find this to be one of the handiest gadgets you can take.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I find travelling in a westerly direction is much easier than travelling east. I don't sleep or nap, but rather stretch myself out with the new time zone — a bit like having a late night out.
When I land, I try to go for a walk outside for 20 minutes, and, if it's daylight, it helps wake me up and trick my brain into accepting the "new" time of day. Once it's late enough, I eat a proper dinner (even if I'm not that hungry, I'm trying to trick my body clock into the evening routine) and go to sleep.
Generally, I'll get 6 hours sleep on the first night, which is enough to recharge the batteries and power through a full day ahead. The key is to resist any temptation to nap during the local daytime! Using this technique, I can cope with an 8- to 12-hour time difference easily.
Travelling east is more difficult, because the days are shortened. You can't force yourself to sleep earlier, and you can't stretch yourself 24 hours to miss a day. So I tend to go to sleep when I naturally feel tired, but then force myself to wake up in the morning. Once again, I eat a regular breakfast even if I'm not hungry to get the body clock synced, and I go for a walk outside in the daylight to help convince my body it's daytime.
The real trick is when you do five or six time zones in the space of two weeks, like with an around-the-world business trip. I usually make sure I'm heading the same way around the globe, which helps a lot, as zig-zagging would be just too much to handle!
What tech do you expect in hotels when you are travelling?
Good-quality wi-fi connection throughout the entire hotel. The rest of my tech requirements I pretty much bring with me.
I know cable TV is a must for some people, but I don't really get a chance to watch it, as, typically, I either catch up on work in the evenings or go sightseeing. However, when travelling for personal reasons with family, I focus on spending time with them.
Favourite site to use while travelling?
TripAdvisor — peer review is very powerful, and a great way to uncover great places to stay both for business and leisure travel.
Google maps — I like to see where I'm going before I get there.
What is your one must-have piece of tech when travelling?
My smartphone. It allows me to stay connected no matter where I am in the world, and gets me out of trouble if I ever need it. But watch out for roaming charges!
Personal travel advice/tip?
Try to allocate some personal downtime when travelling for work, and check out the local sites. That way, you get some personal benefit from the travel and you can decide if you want to come back one day.