I am here with Mona Khalil and Rana Dababneh, founders of Pomalo Travel, ladies I thank you for taking your time to give some insight to my readers.
Let us now dive in!
Plane, train, boat or car when traveling?
Mona: I personally love road trips, the freedom and surprises along the way. What I am looking forward to is renting those really fancy RV’s and doing a road trip through The States.
Rana: If time were not an issue, I’d prefer travelling by boat, or walk distances by foot - the slower the travel, the better.
What trends do you foresee in travel for 2017?
Mona: This year, I see more and more people who are looking for real-people who have that expert travel badge, such as Pomalo Travel. Also, the direct interaction with people is on a strong comeback for the savvy traveller.
Rana: Experiential travel is on the rise for sure and remote places have a peculiar allure to the modern traveller. If I can look into the future, more and more people are eager to come home with impressive stories to share and Pomalo Travel can make this happen.
If you could customize the ideal trip for yourself, how would that look like?
Mona: If I could? I always do! Trip design is my passion; the only thing that could possibly limit me from achieving my ultimate trip would be budget and/or time.
So, if time and money were of no issue, I would say I would take off take off by private jet, trek through Peru for five days, have dinner at a fairytale-like palace and tango in Buenos Aires. Any time left would take me to India to enjoy a wedding celebration or head to California and trot the red carpet at the Oscar's.
Anywhere I go I like to have these elements in it (if possible):
Mona: I always think weddings teach us a lot about a culture, its traditions, its beliefs and life in general. I love to attend a traditional wedding in each country I travel to. I like to take cooking classes during my travels - how to cook a dish I have never created before. Besides, I like to dance and go to the theatre and learn the basics of the languages of the countries I visit.
Rana: That's a difficult one, given my already big and growing bucket list. Generally, my favourite destination would be the mountains, however my ideal trip would be to trek in Antarctica. There is something fascinating for me about being in extreme conditions in unusual and dramatic sceneries.
What sets you apart from other travel customization agencies?
We were the customers first, therefore at Pomalo Travel we still think like the costumer. We travel to places and have experienced what we recommend as travel designers and, if we need more expertise, we have an abundance of travel contacts within the field and around our extensive global network, who can help us with sourcing the best transport, exclusive properties, most unique experiences and trustworthy guides.
What would like like travelers to remember when encountering wildlife?
Mona: "Don't run, food runs", a guide told me this the first time I was on safari. Easier said than done I must say!
Rana: When venturing into an animal world, we are on their territory, not ours. We have to respect that.
How do you encourage conservation and helping the local communities within your organization?
When we travel we always try to find ways to help the local communities, this could be through sourcing a local guide, exploring local cooking classes, eco-friendly properties – resources which bring us closer to the communities, where you can find real experiences and local traditions nearby, if this is something the traveller is keen to explore.
Being a bespoke travel agency, we always create itineraries, which are bespoke in knowledge too, we make sure Pomalo Travel experiences are in keeping with our surroundings – as we mentioned before, as an example, when on safari we are in the animal kingdom and we respect that.
What has been your favorite trip so far and why?
Mona: I have many to be honest, but I must say there are two sights that took my breath away: the thousands pagodas during sunset in Bagan, Myanmar and the ruins of Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Rana: My favorite trip thus far was a camping and fishing trip to Norway. The Norwegian fjords are a magnificent sight and it certainly helps when a group of dolphins decide to cross your way.
Any advice for our readers?
Mona: As I travel solo many a time, I would recommend a solo trip. You will be surprised at how much more you learn, as you have to interact with others.
Rana: My advice would be: If you never heard about it, it is probably a good place to go and visit! And if not sure – ask us.
Thank you for your time and your valuable insight, we appreciate it and hope to get to travel with your fantastic agency soon!
Photos by Ruksana Hussain