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Travel Tech Q&A: NetIQ's Ian Yip

NetIQ's product and business manager for the Asia-Pacific region shares how tech makes travelling fast and efficient, even having face-to-face chats with his hotel while he's still on the way there in the car.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

NetIQ's Identity, Security, and Governance product and business manager for the Asia-Pacific, Ian Yip, gets around the world quite often and has seen quite a few things. In this Q&A, he shares his pickpocket stories in Naples, snow storms in Dublin, technologically-advanced hotel stays in Taipei, and getting around tech-city London.

Ian Yip. (Credit: NetIQ)

What tech do you travel with and why?

Laptop, iPad, and iPhone. The iPad is my device of choice for anything that requires a larger screen, but I use the laptop for the applications that are not available on the iPad. If I could work 100 percent without the use of my laptop, I would.

What tech do you love abroad, where and why?

Not so much the actual technology, but the usage of technology. I sometimes have the hotel arrange my transport from the airport, particularly in countries where taxis can be questionable. En-route to the hotel I usually stay at in Taipei, the front desk uses FaceTime to call me on the in-car iPad to ask if I need anything upon arrival. The person I speak to is also the same person that greets me upon arrival and checks me in. It's a wonderful example of customer service, and a simple use of technology to distinguish the hotel from their competitors.

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

TripIt. It's easy to use and contains all my relevant travel details when I need them.

Most memorable travel story/experience

I was on a bus in Naples, Italy, and a group of older men crowded me on a bus. They attempted to make it seem normal, but it was unusual because the bus wasn't exactly sardine-packed. It wasn't long before I realised that it was a group tactic designed for one of them make a play for my wallet. They weren't the most skilled pickpockets, given that I noticed the guy's hand in my pocket clutching at air. I subsequently lifted my knee, catching him in the groin. He made gestures in protest, but the passengers on the bus knew what was going on and he stopped. I got off at the next stop and went on with my day. My flight out of Naples was in the evening the next day. I got to the airport in the morning, and for the only time in my life, was happy to wait 10 hours in an airport for a flight.

Personal travel advice/tip?

Do not check baggage in if you can help it. This is how I usually manage to get from the plane to the airport exit within 5 minutes upon arriving home on international flights. Always have a printed itinerary, even if you never refer to it. You can be asked for it at immigration or when entering the airport (e.g. India). You'd be surprised at how many airport staff refuse to accept the digital version, even though it looks exactly the same when printed. Do not use hotel room safes. They aren't always "secure".

How do you deal with jet lag?

When I arrive at my destination, I don't sleep until I get to the hotel and it's past 11 p.m. local time.

What (if any) travel websites do you use?

TripAdvisor is great for ensuring the hotel you are staying at lives up to expectations. Kayak is great for checking flights and alternative choices across most airlines. TripIt is great for keeping my itinerary up to date. I use the website for tweaking my trip details, thus ensuring I have the information I need on the iOS app when travelling.

What tech is in your briefcase?

Does anyone carry briefcases around anymore? I have my laptop, iPad, and a few USB sticks in my bag.

What is your one must-have piece of tech when travelling?

My iPhone. I can do almost everything I need to on the move with it.

What was your biggest travel disaster?

I was stuck in Dublin, Ireland, due to a snow storm. All flights got cancelled, which meant that everyone in the airport had to figure out how to re-book on another flight the next day and arrange accommodation for the night. The whole airport seemed like a single, long, snaking queue of people. After a few hours of queuing and getting nowhere, I decided to call my credit card company's concierge service and, thankfully, they sorted everything out for me. Otherwise, I would probably not have found accommodation and had my flight out of Dublin booked for the following day.

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

Check in to my flight online. The online check-in line at the airport is usually much shorter and will save you around 30 minutes.

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

Singapore Changi Airport. It is modern, has almost all the relevant airline lounges, good food, decent shopping, free Wi-Fi, a good selection of recreational and rest areas, rarely has lines at immigration, and the security checks are extremely efficient because they have the checks done at the gates, which reduces the queues.

What was your last tech purchase?

An iPad. It has quickly become my primary computing device.

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

Singapore Changi is good for tech and gadgets. Hong Kong airport is a close second. That said, there isn't as large a saving as people have been used to in the past. You can often find it cheaper at retail prices in the United States.

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

This is rather low tech, but universal power adapters are becoming common in many hotels in Asia, and I've come to expect this to be the norm. Unfortunately, this isn't the case outside of Asia.

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

Automated check-in/check-out via either my credit card or phone would be really useful. When you are travelling, tired, and simply want to get from A to B, one of the last things you want to do is have to make small-talk with the person responsible for getting you checked-in or checked-out. It also saves time and streamlines the stop-start nature of business travel.

Favourite site to use while travelling?

Pocket. It's both a website and app. While travelling, I primarily use the app as it allows me to catch up on my reading of online articles while offline.

Favourite destination city to work/visit and why?

London, England. I may be slightly biased as I actually lived there for a few years, but London has everything you need from a business and technology standpoint. Wi-Fi around every corner, lots of options to work in a quiet corner or have a meeting, a public transport system that uses contactless payment cards and is relatively efficient (most of the time), and multiple airports, some of which are quite new (e.g. Heathrow T5). The sheer number of historical, cultural, and world-class recreational options one has during non-work hours cannot be ignored. Most of these sites have also done a nice job of using technology to augment the experience.

Name one thing you wish your iPod/phone/laptop could do that it doesn't do now?

Project the on-screen image on to another surface. That is, turn into a projector.

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

Singapore Changi Airport for the same reasons I mentioned in my previous answer about the best airport. There is also a nice hotel attached to Changi Airport, in the event you are stranded overnight.

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