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Travel tech Q&A: InfoReady's Tristan Sternson

Information management consultancy's managing director talks about the role technology plays when he's travelling.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

In this week's ZDNet Travel Tech Q&A, InfoReady managing director Tristan Sternson discusses his favourite gadgets to bring when travelling, the importance of immersing yourself in the local culture of your destination, and the bag-in-a-bag incident at Chennai airport.

InfoReady's Tristan Sternson (Credit: InfoReady)

What tech do you travel with and why?

I travel with an iPad, Mac Air 13-inch, and iPhone. That covers about everything I need to survive, remain entertained, and remain informed. The iPad keeps my two-year-old daughter constantly busy. I also don't leave home without my Canon EOS 600 camera.

What tech do you miss from home?

My Garmin GPS Running watch — which I don't travel with.

What tech do you love abroad, where and why?

My Kindle, which I only seem to use when abroad, and Foxtel on my iPad.

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

With the Skype app on my iPhone 5, I can use it as a Skype phone on wireless. I used to rely on a BlackBerry for international travel for cheaper email roaming, but it is feature poor. With an abundance of wireless hotspots, I can survive overseas mostly using my email and Skype on a wireless network.

Most memorable travel story or experience?

Buying a designer leather laptop bag in Chennai International Airport once, taking it through customs and security, and then being told at the gate that I could only carry one bag onto the plane. I asked why they had a bag shop in customs if you can't take a second bag, and the security guard sent me back to the shop to buy a third, even bigger bag to carry my two bags onboard.

Personal travel advice or tip?

When travelling internationally, immerse yourself in the local culture. Our global neighbourhood is amazingly culturally diverse, and we can always learn a thing or two from our international neighbours to better ourselves.

How do you deal with jet lag?

I sleep whenever I can on the plane and try not to stress about time zones.

What (if any) travel websites do you use?

A must is TripAdvisor, but for bookings Agoda.com and Expedia (for the UK).

What tech is in your briefcase?

An iPad (third generation) and MacBook Air 13 inch.

What is your one must-have piece of tech when travelling? (What you never leave home without.)

My MacBook Air 13 inch.

What was your biggest travel disaster?

Hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal through knee-deep snow completely unprepared, without the right equipment. First, we got lost and rescued by a local Sherpa. Then we spent 12 days trying to find a hospital and random airstrip, when my travel partner discovered he had severe frostbite to his feet and could not continue hiking. Amid all of that I took the most amazing flight I have ever been on, from Jomson airport to Pokhara on a passenger jet with a capacity of 20 people flying like a Tiger Moth.

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

Put the bins out!

What is the best airport you've visited and why?

The new Terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport (like Oxford Street in an airport), closely followed by Malaysia International Airport for the best authentic food.

What was your last tech purchase?

My Garmin GPS running watch.

Where is the best place you've been for duty-free tech shopping?

Heathrow Airport.

What tech do you expect in hotels when you are travelling?

Just wireless (free) internet connections.

What is your dream travel tech to have on planes, in airports, or at hotels? (Stuff they don't have yet, but boy it would make life so much easier on the road.)

Don't we have it all already? Thinking from a practical perspective, I still can't understand why my local mobile SIM card can't switch to an international carrier and get local mobile rates.

We live in a global village, but travelling overseas, you still get stung by exorbitant mobile fees. Someone needs to get all the major mobile carriers in a room to discuss roaming and local rates between networks.

This is a necessity that can't be too far away, and will save me looking for a Starbucks in every major city to check my email. No need for more tech on a plane; I am happy with a book, movie, or to clean out my email inbox.

Favourite destination city to work or visit and why? (In relation to technology.)

Hong Kong is always a great place to work and visit, and you can buy almost any of the latest technology very cheaply there.

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