The following piece was written by Amanda Brunker for the IIBN Weekly Newsletter.  You can connect with Amanda via the IIBN website.

Choosing a holiday can be extremely stressful – with so much choice customers want personal recommendations over glossy commercials. The comment section on TripAdvisor is proof that we are regularly lied to, and that is why more and more people are turning to credible travel writers and bloggers to seek help.

Nadia El Ferdaoussi is the owner of a travel and lifestyle website that provides a warts and all insight to global destinations. A makeup artist by trade, a chance junket for a women’s magazine ignited her love of travel.

At first she was writing in print for newspapers and magazines, now most of her work is online, and, on social media. According to Nadia, ‘In this career it’s really important to keep your finger on the pulse, forecast trends and be adaptable. There are lots of Irish travel writers, but few who work on every platform from print media to television, podcasts, online, and social media. It was tricky at the start, as I didn’t have the experience to compete, but after a few years I’ve carved out a nice niche for myself. While I have no solid long term plans, I realise I need to diversify if I want to stay relevant.’

As a freelancer, Nadia works with everyone, from hotel chains and airlines, to tourism boards and tour companies. She also promotes lifestyle products that relate to travel and has recently dipped her toe into the wine industry, after studying the topic last year. Currently in Spain to promote Campo Viejo Wines, and experience their Rioja harvest, Nadia is hoping to connect with more companies in that area.

Thinking big, Nadia explains, ‘I’d love to work with a global brand such as a credit card, that would allow endless possibilities for travel, or an airline alliance.’

So far, her career highlights have include visiting the Taj Mahal, Petra, Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu. She’s drank wine in the vineyards of Champagne, New Zealand and South Africa. And travelled solo around most of the world, stating, ‘I never feel nervous, and don’t travel anywhere I think it will be unsafe while alone. Cuba, Iceland and New Zealand were great solo trips for that reason. For places like Jordan and Colombia I join a group, like the trip I did with the small group adventure travel company G Adventures.’ Adding, ‘I was much more nervous when I swam with sharks in Fiji.’

Having learnt a lot about responsible tourism and sustainable travel, Nadia still recommends Fiji, the British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand for travellers with a generous budget. Though she was decidedly, ‘underwhelmed,’ by both Berlin and Venice.

While Nadia admits she rarely gets to spend much time in her Dublin apartment, and spends most of her life packing and unpacking cases – at any one time Nadia will have four separate cases packed for different climates, and ready to go. She reckons it’s her love of people, and ability to connect with others, that has helped her lifestyle on the road.

‘The world feels like a much smaller place when you travel a lot and keeping in contact with some of the new connections I’ve made while travelling has been fulfilling both on a professional and personal level.’

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