Gigi Chao (below), PR executive
Which destination have you returned to again and again?
Paris. I remember the first time I went as a teenager and I hated it. But as an adult, I always make an effort to stop over to absorb a bit of Parisian arrogant cool.
What's one destination that's always eluded you and why?
Tibet. It's a place I've wanted to visit since my teenage years. Having studied Buddhism for six months at a Tibetan Buddhist college in a castle near Manchester, I've promised myself to get in shape and go to the real Tibet. I'm sure I'll get there soon.
What's your travel horror story?
Amsterdam. My travel companion was held in immigration for six hours for suspected drug trafficking and interrogated, only to be informed that they had mixed her up with someone else and that we could go, with no apology. Our tickets were non-refundable and no amount of tulips or clogs could make us smile.
How do you get the most out of a new city in a limited time?
Bring a folded bike or rent a bicycle and cycle around with a map to get your bearings.
Tipping - good or evil, and why?
I've travelled with friends who are used to tipping very heavily the minute they pull up at the hotel. And I've been to trade fairs in European cities where prices are so inflated by the influx of business travellers that tipping is expected if you want a half decent room. Then again, I often travel to Tokyo quite a lot, and good service is part of their culture and they never accept tips, which is so refreshing. So I would favour the no tipping camp, where a wide smile and a sincere thank-you usually gets me honesty and good service. And if I really did enjoy a stay or the service, a thank-you letter often works better than a tip to ensure they remember me next time.
What's your most memorable travel experience?
Last year on my birthday I flew first class on Cathay Pacific to Paris and then on to Nice. We drove around southern France for a week.
What are three things you always pack, but never use?
Very often my laptop, a good book that I am yearning to finish and my journal. It's a sign of a good trip if they don't get used because it shows I'm absorbed in the place, the conversations and the inspiration of travel.
What are your quirky plane habits?
I very much believe we ought to travel in style, so dress up for the airport. Make it an occasion to look gorgeous. Don't show up to board the plane in pyjamas, but instead, if it's long haul, change into pyjamas on board.Topics: Income Paris Socioeconomics Tip