Has 17 trips to the US in 4 years made Pandora’s Jane Huxley a smarter traveller. We find out.
Jane Huxley is the Managing Director of Pandora Internet Radio in Australia and New Zealand. With a global head office in California, and regional teams in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, it’s fair to say travel plays a starring role in Jane’s life. In fact, Jane’s heading towards her 17th trip to San Francisco in the 4 years since joining Pandora.
How does she navigate all this frequent travel? We snatched 5 minutes from Jane’s schedule to mine the busy lady for travel gold.
Tell us a little about you. Where are you from, where are you going, what do you do for work and play, and what’s your favourite flavour of ice cream?
A Having built a career out of disruption at blue chip companies such as Microsoft, Vodafone and Fairfax, I am now running Pandora Internet Radio, seeking to redefine the way we all listen to music. I started the business for Pandora in November of 2012 out of my home, and we are now in the ears of over a million Australians every month.
For play I spend time with family and friends. I’m rather boring actually, and very content with my lot in life. I don’t really do ice cream, but if I did it would be “red wine and cheese platter” flavour ☺
Why do you travel?
A I travel mostly for work, but also a couple of times a year with the family. I love travelling and I am one of those people still in love with the “romance of flying”. I love the whole process of packing, boarding, flying, landing and living. I am on my 17th trip to the US since I started at Pandora, so I really should be over it by now.
I also love travelling with my husband and girls who are 6 and 9 years old, frankly to break up the year! We try to do a couple of domestic and one international trip each year, but so far we have not really ventured too far. Maybe this year…
Is travel a big part of your job, or do you make time for it outside of your career?
A Yes and yes. In addition to heading to the US (San Francisco) five times a year, I also have New Zealand in my remit, and head down to the team in Melbourne regularly. One of the benefits is having points for airlines and hotels, so quite often my family gets to enjoy the perks of free flights and hotels. It’s the yin and the yang really, so we like to get away for quick holidays in the sun, or down in Melbourne.
What’s your go-to travel hack?
A Travel lightly – take a minimal amount of stuff, and leave room for shopping. I always have two toiletry bags permanently packed for short and long trips and I can just grab them and go with all the toiletries I normally use in mini sizes.
Taking a couple of different sized fold up bags means that you can downsize/upsize appropriately and are mandatory for places like San Francisco, who have implemented a charge on all carry bags in shops (and have a ban on selling plastic water bottles too ☺)
Got any gear you can’t travel without?
A It would be very hard now to travel without mobile devices. From the connection with family and friends, to the convenience of maps, photos and money, and of course being connected to mail and calendar for those business trips without lugging around a PC (remember when we thought laptops were really small and convenient?)
I always travel with walking shoes and a really good throw that can multitask as a blanket as well as something to keep me warm in over air-conditioned rooms.
What are the top 3 destinations left on your bucket list?
A Well it’s more like a list of 30. I met my husband well after I was into my career, and therefore we have plans to do everything we would have done if we’d met in our early 20’s “at the other end”. Of course, backpacking has now evolved to AirBNB making everyone happier! I can’t wait to take the whole family to Europe in the not too distant future, and likely involve Disneyland somewhere along the way. I now have an amazing team working at Pandora and they can take care of business while I finally take a long(er) break. This year I’ll also spend a week in Alaska with my bestie!
Where would you go back to?
A We keep going back to Bali. The climate, the people and just the whole laid-backness of a holiday in a beautiful location. There is something about having a villa with staff that just reeks of who I think I should have been.
What do you do to stay healthy when you travel?
A Walk. Walk Walk. Particularly when crossing time zones, I always walk for 10 kms or so when I get in. This is both invigorating and tiring, and great for trying to adjust to jet lag. I get out at train stops earlier than needed for the same reason during the week.
I also buy my own food, rather than go to restaurants, room service or takeaways, if I’m travelling alone. I love going to Wholefoods or similar and stocking up on fruit, snacks and easy options to eat during the week. I always travel with plates and cutlery for that reason. My favourite meal is “picnic”!
How do you stay safe when you’re travelling?
A Be smart. Work out where people go, and tuck into larger groups if you are unsure of the security of the area. Know where you are going by looking at the map before you leave, that way you look like you belong.
And, plan for things to be stolen or lost, I have copies of everything I need in my Dropbox that I can access from anywhere I am.
What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local?
A As I said earlier, walk and eat like a local. I also like to ask for recommendations from locals and find that a great conversation always starts with a compliment (me to them) and then you hear of things you wouldn’t normally be able to find. I’ve had some amazing experiences that way.
What’s your favourite word in another language?
A Thank you.
How has travel changed in your lifetime and how will it change over the next 25 years?
A So much. Travel is now more accessible and affordable than ever, and great competition in most sectors of travel mean that there are real bargains to be found. Taking digital photos and sharing memories are an essential part of travel now, and a long way from the printed photos of old. One thing that always makes me smile is remembering when people used to smoke on planes, light up on the runway, and literally not stop the whole way. Ugh!
When and where are you next travelling?
A I am heading to Auckland this week to see the team and speak at a conference. And I can’t wait!