Travel light, be adventurous

Don't let the horizon limit your travels, says AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya. Hot travel tips from the hottest new face in the aviation industry.
     Print Edition: Oct 26, 2014
Travel light, be adventurous
Travel light, be adventurous

At 33, Airasia india's Mittu Chandilya is the youngest CEO in the aviation industry. "I became the head of AirAsia India last year. But then, I have always been the youngest at most accomplishments in my life," he says. "I am an entrepreneur at heart with a professional athlete's mentality. There is absolutely no compromising on hard work - prep, prep and more prep; it's never wasted."

"I am a regular at the gym.I used to play football at university, so I feel sluggish if I don't work out."

And when it comes to travel, who better to ask than the man responsible for orchestrating the latest revolution in the Indian aviation industry? We quiz Mittu Chandilya on his travel experiences across the world, and gather some valuable information on how to organise our own getaways.

Check, double check
I always plan ahead for my trips; it can make a great difference even if you are a frequent flier. Now, this may sound simple, but I can't stress enough on the need to not leave your passport behind. Pack your bags in advance, so you do not forget anything at the last moment. Keep a digital copy of your itinerary at all times, and if you're going through a smaller airport, a hard copy would be a good idea. Most importantly, be at the check-in counter at least two hours before departure time.

Do your research
You can do a whole lot before you actually reach the airport. Go online, block your seats and pick any preference you may have (do this at least four hours before your flight takes off, especially if you are a picky eater and want to fix meal preferences). Research your destination too. Check on immigration and immunisation requirements, book your hotel room, and ensure that you have a prepaid cab at your beck and call.

Travel light
That's what I prefer, anyway. I usually take just my carry on bag, and the essentials are a couple of white shirts, running shoes, gym wear, a couple of ties, a suit and a navy blue sports jacket, a pair of trousers, jeans, sunglasses and - well - cosmetics. As I'm no fan of airline food on domestic flights, unless it is AirAsia (wink), I pack a bag of nuts and raisins or protein cookies to curb those hunger pangs.

My gadgets
Some things that are absolutely critical for all my trips are my laptop or iPad, and enough juice (in the form of battery packs and power adapters) to keep them going through the worst of times. I find my iPad quite convenient, for documentation as well as carrying around. But, that said, my phone is number one on the list because it provides me updates on our operations, safety factors and service every minute of the day. What's more, it keeps me connected with the social media too. Last on my list, but definitely not the least, are my noise-cancellation headphones (Bose Q15, Bowers & Wilkins P5 or my wireless Parrot Zik). They create a distraction-free environment when I need to work out, snooze or work onboard.

Fitness on the go
For me, good health starts with diet. Half the battle is won when you watch what you eat. Focus on nutrition, ensure that you are get what your body needs, and cut out what is harmful for your body. However, I am not one of those who counts every calorie he eats; I depend more on working out. I usually play a lot of football. On days I have to travel, I pack my running shoes and gym clothes. If I am supposed to be gone all day, I wake up early and hit the gym.

Be adventurous
Rather than stick to conventional tourist hotspots at a holiday destination, I prefer finding places on my own. I usually never take maps or guidebooks; instead, I walk down the street and talk to local folks about the place. You get a much more genuine, unabridged and rich flavour of the place when you do this. While such a course of action is not without its risks, it's definitely a more adventurous option.

"I never take maps or guidebooks. Instead, I walk down the street and talk to the local folks about the place."


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