Ross Veitch is a pioneer, has a passion for new technology, is a self-confessed travel junkie and is our Chief Executive Officer here at Wego! He enjoys an intense programming challenge for breakfast, and thrives on the development of a new product strategy for lunch. While travelling Veitch chooses to experience all things from exploring remote mountains with a backpack to sipping whiskey by the pool at a five star resort. Here we get the lowdown on the best travel tips from our fearless leader.
Q. How often do you travel over a period of 12 months?
Ross: A couple of business trips a month, a couple of leisure trips a year. Somehow I need to work out how to reverse the balance!
Q. What invaluable items should accompany you when you travel for an easier journey?
Ross: Ear plugs and comfortable eye-shades. These make a huge difference to my ability to sleep on a plane. I now have a set of travel gear that never leaves my suitcase: phone charger, laptop charger, ethernet cable, power adaptors for most countries, apple airport express for creating a WiFi hotspot in my hotel room to be shared by all my devices.
I’m a big fan of Singtel’s (Singapore) Bridge Roaming flat fee per day data roaming plans. Being able to stay online without paying eye watering data roaming fees or constantly looking for a WiFi hotspot is a huge relief.
On trips to Jakarta where I find myself spending an unnatural amount of time in the back of taxis stuck in traffic jams, a phone charger that can be plugged into the car cigarette lighter is essential. An APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) Business Travel Card is something else I never leave home without.
Q. What’s the best way to get a free upgrade?
Ross: Join the airlines’ loyalty program and try to be loyal. All loyalty programs are not created equally so I’d encourage frequent flyers to do some research on the FlyerTalk.com forums before committing to a program. Actually spending time at FlyerTalk is the best way to learn how to get free upgrades. Some loyalty programs, once you hit the top tier, guarantee you a seat on a flight even if it’s fully booked. If you book economy you’re very likely to get an operational upgrade. The next best thing to free is to pay for an upgrade with points. I periodically exchange my Amex points for SQ KrisFlyer points to keep myself out of economy class for mid to long haul flights.
Q. How much luggage is too much?
Ross: If I can’t bring it onboard with me then I’ve probably got too much luggage.
Q. Which area of the plane (economy) is the best to select if you have a choice?
Ross: I have long legs so I’ll always request an emergency exit row seat, or failing that an aisle seat. I like to be up the front to get off and into the immigration queues quickly but I always make sure to leave a good few rows between me and where the parents with babies are likely to be sitting.
Q. Where are your favourite places to wait at an airport if your plane is delayed?
Ross: I’ll often go for foot reflexology if I have lots of time to kill.
Q. What do you do if you arrive at a hotel and there’s been a mix up with your reservation and you find the hotel is full and you have no room?
Ross: It’s very rare that a hotel is completely full. If I have a confirmed reservation I’d ask they put me into whatever suite they have left. Failing that depending on how tired/patient I was feeling I might ask them to rebook me in a similar property elsewhere at their expense. If that gets too difficult I’d pull up m.wego.com on my phone and book another property myself and then get the acting manager to cancel and refund my prior booking.
Q. Do you select hotels based on price, amenities or location?
Ross: All of the above. It really depends on the purpose of the trip.
Q. What kind of technology do you use to help you navigate a new destination?
Ross: iPhone 4 with Google Maps. If I’m going to a city I don’t know at all I’ll generally buy the Luxe Guide, either in hardcopy or the iPhone app edition.