In this week's Travel tech Q&A, Fifth Quadrant director Dr Catriona Wallace talks about the virtue of packing absolutely everything, her Instagram addiction, and why she wouldn't mind being stranded at an airport in China.
What tech do you travel with and why?
I travel with a whole dedicated bag of tech, including a laptop, iPad, iPod, iPhone, mobile modem, about three chargers, headsets, and other accessories. It weighs about 20kg and has caused my left shoulder to be about 2 inches lower than my right. But so worth it!
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
I am an Instagram addict. Brilliant app for capturing images, then posting to multiple social-media sites instantly. It kind of rolls all the good things about social media into one app.
Also Word Lens, which translates foreign languages into English simply by holding it in front of the word. Brilliant.
What's your personal travel advice or tip?
Forget travelling light. Instead, pack heavily! Pack every bit of clothing or items you could ever dream about needing, even if you go over the luggage weight. Be charming at the check-in and they will never charge you extra. Then, if you do buy more stuff whilst you are travelling, just buy another bag. And then be doubly charming at the check-in.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I would like to give a new-age natural remedy answer, but the only thing that will sort me out is half a sleeping tablet for two nights in a row when I get home. Ah, yes, there is a place for strong Western medicine on the back of a 24-hour economy fight.
What was your biggest travel disaster?
Being conned by a guy who said he was a tour guide who instead ripped me off of all my money and left me at the front line of a civil war in Asia. Perhaps the fact that he was driving his uncle's beat-up old car and did not possess one of those little flags for me to follow might have given him away. But, no — I was conned proper.
Is there one thing you must do before you leave home?
Double check that I have packed all the tech chargers. I cannot count the amount of times I have not packed a charger, then spent the first half day of the trip trawling the streets trying to buy one. I have charger anxiety disorder.
What is your dream travel tech to have on planes, in airports, or at hotels?
Simple answer, and I know a lot of your readers might not like this answer, but I really want internet access on the plane. It is ridiculous that on the majority of planes, they don't have it. I also would like a mobile phone ear piece that doesn't make you look like a fool!
Favourite destination city to work in or visit and why?
New York. It is easy to be connected to everything.
Which airport would you prefer to be stranded at and why?
If I am travelling with one of my kids, then definitely Shanghai or Beijing. I have been stranded in Chinese airports before, and all the Chinese mothers whisked my blonde-haired, blue-eyed children away to cuddle and play with them. For, like, eight hours. Gold.