This week I interviewed Laura Daniel, who is the editor of Kuoni Travel Blog and Kuoni Explore Magazine. Laura took her first round-the-world holiday at just 5 years old, and from then on she was passionate about travel! She worked as a writer on motoring magazines, which took her driving through the Sahara and up glaciers in Iceland. She has worked at Kuoni since 2008. I asked Laura about her love of travel, he career in the travel industry, and her favourite travel destination, The Maldives.
Laura, your first round-the-world holiday took place at the age of 5, am I safe to say this is when you caught the travel bug?
Definitely. It’s a trip most people dream of and I’m pretty sure my parents are bonkers taking a five and a four-year-old along for the ride! I remember bits and bobs such as riding in a 4×4 with the top down and bombing along the coast road in Hawaii; meeting Mickey Mouse in the original Walt Disney Land in Los Angeles; and I’m told I slept through an Earthquake during our trip, too!
How did you end up working in the travel industry?
I started as a sub-editor then staff writer on motoring magazines and specialised in writing their adventure travel features, as I wasn’t too knowledgeable on the techy side. It was an amazing opportunity and I got to drive through the Sahara and camp out; as well as driving up glaciers in Iceland. When I saw my current role being advertised at Kuoni, I knew I wanted to write about travel full time and in the last five years I’ve been lucky enough to visit destinations such as the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Antigua.
The Sahara is an incredible playground for off-roading, with gargantuan sand dunes as far as the eye can see and, at night, the most amazing inky sky glistening with stars. I’ve never seen anything like it. The scorpions were not so fun, so I had to remember to shake out my tent before I put it up and down!
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
The Maldives is one of the most staggeringly beautiful places on the planet, perfect for total escapism.
What is it you love so much about the Maldives?
The Maldives is pure paradise where you’ll find luxurious water villas, overwater spas, fresh seafood and a Robinson Crusoe feel. Tiny islands are scattered across the ocean like jewels and the lagoon surrounding each one is so clear and warm, it’s like taking a bath! Most ooze romance but you can find some that are perfect for a family holiday or group of friends. Just kick off your shoes when you arrive, turn off your mobile and escape on your own piece of paradise.
What are some essential places to visit in the Maldives for travel bloggers?
Total chill out is key in the Maldives but many resorts offer something unique. Head to Ithaa undersea restaurant at Conrad Rangali Maldives or the underwater nightclub at NIYAMA. Gangehi Island Resort offers an Astro Week where you can learn about astronomy; and many resorts are eco-conscious, offering coral reef planting projects that you can be part of. There’s also amazing wildlife – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru offers a Manta on Call service. You’re given a mobile phone and as soon as they are spotted the phone will ring and you have 15 minutes to get down to the jetty to hop on a boat and see them!
If you could go to somewhere you’ve never visited right now, where would it be and why?
It would have to be South America. I’m desperate to go to Peru and stand in the clouds over Machu Picchu, fly over the Nazca Lines and try a Pisco Sour!