Travel Podcast Ep. #1: Introducing Out Travel The System
Introducing Out Travel The System
This short introductory episode uncovers what listeners can expect from Expedia’s brand-new travel podcast, Out Travel The System. Host Nisreene Atassi, along with Expedia travel experts Christie Hudson and Adam Francis, share a glimpse into the top travel topics that will be explored in each episode. From specialized sports-themed trips (hello Super Bowl) to cosmic travel tips, this podcast has something for every traveler.
Meet the Hosts
From Africa and the Middle East to Europe and South America, Nisreene Atassi (Nissy for short) spends both her professional and personal life living and breathing travel. As the Global Head of Communications for Brand Expedia for the last several years, Nissy has found her one true happy place blending her passion for travel and storytelling as host of Out Travel The System, sharing the amazing travel stories she surfaces as well as the knowledge and findings she gets from the inner workings of the travel industry.
So many places to go, so little time! As a member of the PR team for Expedia, Christie Hudson spends her days thinking, talking or reading about travel, and strategizing on how to get herself and others to exotic destinations. Her wanderlust has taken her to the karaoke joints of Tokyo and the crab shacks of Maryland – and a lot of places in between. Most recently she can be found in Seattle, Washington, researching tips and tricks for traveling around the world with her family in tow.
A travel fan but even bigger sports and music enthusiast, Adam Francis leads brand advertising creative for Expedia. A former DJ and creator of SB Nation’s RaptorsHQ.com, the merger of Adam’s interests have resulted in experiences as diverse as covering the NBA Draft in New York to Hospitality in the Park, an annual Drum & Bass festival in Finsbury Park, London. While he currently resides in Seattle, Toronto is home — and yes, he’s still basking in the afterglow of the Raptors’ first NBA title.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a freelance travel writer and certified holistic health coach based in New York City. She’s a bonafide travel enthusiast, having been to all seven continents – including Antarctica while five months pregnant. Through her blog, Well Traveler, and national and international publications she contributes to, Jordi aims to inspire people to view life as a journey and take the path less traveled. Follow her travels on Instagram.
Courtney Scott is a New York-based travel blogger, TV personality, and leading on-air travel expert. Her travel career began in 2007 when she kicked her cubicle and booked a one-way ticket to Italy. She now inspires others to live their travel dreams through her films, travel articles and Instagram.
Nisreene Atassi: Welcome to Out Travel The System. I’m your host Nisreene Atassi and this is our very first episode. We’ve got Christie Hudson and Adam Francis.
Today we’re just going to talk a lot about why travel is so complicated and why we’re all here today and working on this podcast because we know that it can be a real pain whether you’re booking, planning, searching or even while you’re on your trip. And we’re basically on the front lines of hearing all of the issues that people have and all of the questions that everybody’s got. So we’re just going to talk a little bit today about what the season is going to have in store for us and for all of you and why we think it’s super important. So thank you guys for coming on the show.
Christie, tell us a little bit about why you think this is gonna be such a great show for people to listen to.
Christie Hudson: I think the first thing is we’re all travelers right. And we sit around and we think about travel when we talk about travel all day long. And we come up with a lot of questions that we have and other people have. So I think the great thing is we’re in a good position to answer those questions get data from travelers we know what people’s pain points are. We know that with travel come a ton of great stories. So I think this is gonna be a good spot where we can address those questions answer them and also share some really cool stories about travel.
Nisreene Atassi: Absolutely and Adam’s got a ton of really cool stories and fun facts. This is not Adam’s first time behind the mic, Adam’s been with Expedia for a super long time and knows a ton about this. Adam tell us a little bit about what you’re going to be focusing on with the show and some of these stories that you’ve got.
Adam Francis: Sure thing. So I’m going to talk primarily about sports. I’m trying to encourage a few other topics down the line but primarily about sports. And part of that is because I have a huge affinity for the sports space. I actually started up a blog Raptors HQ which is part of SB Nation’s big, giant monolith of blogs and it deals obviously with the Toronto Raptors. It was an accredited blog so I actually used to travel and cover the team so Europe, Vegas for summer league, all sorts of things. We have all kinds of travel stories and experiences and really it’s a marriage of two things that are super important to people and people are really passionate about which is travel and sports. So I’m going to focus on that area and talk about those stories and talk about some of the things that go into traveling for sporting events especially big ones whether it’s Super Bowl or NBA Finals or whatever the case may be.
Nisreene Atassi: So do you think people are actually willing to travel to these major events.
Adam Francis: Not only do I think they will we’ve sort of seen it firsthand when I think about my experience just at Expedia when I was in Canada. We did partnerships with a bunch of different sports teams and we had travel as part of the experiences to go watch those teams play and that becomes such an important part of a sporting experience. It’s not just the game itself but it’s everything that goes into the event and especially if that means traveling for the event.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah definitely. Christie what about you? You’re kind of a weird and quirky gal. I mean I think that’s why we love having you here at Expedia. So what are some of the topics that you’re going to be covering on the show this season?
Christie Hudson: I mean first I want to address this sports travel thing because I did go to Chicago a couple of years ago and I took the train all the way out to Wrigley Field, but all we did was drink a bucket of beers and stuff. Does that that falls into the camp of sports travel?
Nisreene Atassi: It does absolutely, that counts.
Christie Hudson: Well I’m super excited. I think I’m most excited to bring some maybe unexpected guests and topics to the mix this season. Maybe some things you might not immediately think have anything remotely to do with travel.
Nisreene Atassi: Can you give us a hint?
Christie Hudson: Well, for example, we’re going to have The AstroTwins on and they’re going to come on and share cosmic travel tips. They are identical twin sisters and astrologers to the stars. They have done readings for Beyonce and Stevie Wonder and you know they’re also my personal astrology gurus so that helps with their validity. They’ve also been on The Real Housewives of New Jersey so these ladies know everything. They’re going to come on and talk about who your best travel companion would be based on your star sign or how to navigate that trickster Mercury in retrograde without running into travel snafus so I think there’s gonna be some really good stuff there.
Nisreene Atassi: Amazing. And we’ve got a couple of other really good episodes sort of coming up we’re going to be talking about ancestry travel and how people sort of travel back to find their heritage and how memories affect our travel space and things like that. But maybe we should talk about merging the two of your story beats into a weird and quirky sports travel that could actually be a really interesting way to go.
Christie Hudson: I’m getting hot dog eating competition vibes.
Nisreene Atassi: How about a Quidditch tournament somewhere? What are some of the other shows and topics that you think people are going to really want to hear from us on? You mentioned that you hear a lot of the pain points from customers so what are some things that you guys think they will want to make sure that we cover?
Christie Hudson: Well one of the biggest questions we get is how do I get upgraded.
Nisreene Atassi: Oh good one.
Christie Hudson: And I’m eager to hear that episode, I would like to know the tips and tricks so I hope we’re gonna have some insiders who can give us the inside scoop and myth busters like if I wear a nice outfit on the plane am I really more likely to get upgraded or is that just a myth. The flight attendants don’t care, so there’s that. I think we want to hear a little bit about when to book to get the best deals whether it’s holiday travel or summer getaways everybody wants a good deal on travel, bottom line.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah Adam you mentioned that you want to slide into a few other non-sports related episodes. What’s on your mind, what do you think people want to hear from us on?
Adam Francis: I think one of the beauties of this podcast is the idea that while I’m sure lots of people talk about travel and in different fashions we have the ability to combine that with certain other components whether that’s you know sports or what about something like music. People travel for festivals and things like that. I think travel and love is an interesting topic eating and people using various apps as they travel I think these are all different realms that really haven’t been discussed enough but I think we’re perfectly positioned to talk about.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah absolutely. I think one thing that I’m super excited to talk about is some of the tips that people have who are just traveling constantly, like over half of the time of their lives they’re on the road. What do they use to beat the jetlag or keep their feet from swelling up because I think those are the types of things that people always struggle with. You know people think about taking international trips, but it’s going to be so hard to do that 12-hour flight. So I think it’ll be really cool to hear from people who do that kind of stuff on a regular basis to see what their tips are and how they really cope.
Adam Francis: I think what’s nice is that we can get deep on those specific things. The stories of individuals who’ve gone to the Super Bowl numerous times and what are the things that they’re telling us to watch out for, some tips and tricks addressing those pain points, things like that. It also just weaves this really interesting narrative of people who specifically travel for these genres. So there are people who travel to go visit as many baseball stadiums as possible and I think there are some really interesting stories that come out of those.
Nisreene Atassi: We mention the phrase “pain points” a lot which I think is actually really important for this show because it was something that we know travelers had and these are basically their gripes and their issues and the things that keep them from going out and exploring the world. Let’s talk about why we feel like Expedians (the people who work at Expedia) and the people in the travel industry are really the right people to give out that information and how we’re actually helping people out travel the system. Who better to help you navigate that system than the system itself? So we’re sort of lifting the hood and giving you a little bit of our secret sauce about how things happen and why things are the way they are to really help people. So what are some of the things that you feel like we can really dish out to people that you think would be really helpful if we’re talking about our secret sauce?
Adam Francis: I think we’re perfectly positioned because we’re at that intersection. We hear from the customer side, what their issues are and we also understand from a supplier side and the mechanics of how travel works. So it’s that merging we can understand what the consumer need is and how sometimes we are or aren’t addressing that from the other side of things.
Christie Hudson: I think knowledge is power for travelers and I think people who travel a lot tend to think that everybody knows the ins and outs of the system and it’s just not the case. We have to think people are taking their first airplane ride, staying in their first hotel, renting their first car every day and we have to arm them with information that will help them have the trip they want so they have the memories they want so that they don’t spend money to have a bad experience. That’s super important to me and it’s super important to us and I think that we can help them do that. You know how to look through the fares to make sure that you’re going to be able to bring your three bags with you and not have to pay, but how do you know to ask for room upgrades to have the experience that you want that makes sense for you, your family, your partner, etc.
Adam Francis: I think the other piece is when you think about the travel landscape and how much it’s changed in the past few years especially with technology playing such a prominent role in travel that’s another opportunity for us to talk about because as a tech company it’s something that we understand.
Nisreene Atassi: So just looking ahead, I think we’re gonna have some other really great guest hosts on the show. We’ve got Courtney Scott and Jordi Lippe-McGraw. Christie, can you tell us a little bit about those two ladies and give us a sneak peek into what you think they’re gonna be covering when they come and join us?
Christie Hudson: Yes, so Jordi is a freelance travel writer. She’s also just a prolific traveler herself and a holistic health coach. She currently has a little one who’s about to turn one so she and her husband and her kiddo have been traveling all over the place and she’s somebody who didn’t want to stop traveling when she became a mom. She’s figured out how to make that new lifestyle work and how to not stop moving even though she’s got a whole different set of logistics to look after. She also used to be a gossip reporter which I love about her so she spent her early 20s stalking Kim Kardashian on the red carpet trying to find out celebrity gossip and trying to get into after-parties.
She would spill all that tea on The Wendy Williams Show so she’s just really funny and she’s got some great stories. One of my favorites that I’m sure she’ll talk about when she comes on is her and her husband actually slept overnight in Antarctica when she was six months pregnant and if you know anything about that, you can’t even pee while you’re on the continent. So we’ll have to get that story out of her. She’s going to talk about some really practical things like how to get a deal and holiday travel hacks. She’ll also cover some more niche topics that she’s really perfect for like health travel and how to have a spa getaway and what are the newest travel trends that are out there. We’re going to be talking about how to travel to space, some of that fun stuff.
Courtney Scott is a filmmaker and DJ. She goes to Burning Man, she’s like a cool chick.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah she’s cooler than all of us.
Christie Hudson: She’s also just has a ton of expertise when it comes to travel so she’s going to talk a bit about destinations, Black Friday deals and whether that’s a great time to book travel and get savings, so excited to hear from those ladies.
Nisreene Atassi: I think it’ll be nice to get their perspectives as well because they’re experts in travel in their own right just from both being reporters in the industry but also actual travelers and I think what’s gonna be really nice with the show is that we’re going to have just this amazing mix of people, so whether it’s Expedia partners or travel industry experts like Jordi and Courtney and then actual real people who are out there living and breathing some of these pain points and going on these excursions and doing these trips. It’s going to be a really well-rounded way to help people get the best out of their trips. So one question I have for each of you then before we wrap up, Christie tell us your favorite destination and your biggest tip that you want to offer travelers?
Christie Hudson: You know I really enjoyed New Orleans when I went there about a year ago and my tip is very specific to New Orleans. We went with my son, he was one and a half the time and we wanted to drink. You can’t take kids into bars usually it’s not appropriate or legal, but there you can walk down the street and drink. So my husband would go in and get hurricanes and then come out and then we would push the stroller down Bourbon Street with our hurricanes in hand and I just think that you know, you could really have a little bit of everything on your vacation.
Adam Francis: That visual of you with hurricanes in hand going down the street with the stroller. That’s pretty amazing.
Christie Hudson: It’s like this Americana moment right there.
Nisreene Atassi: Absolutely. Alright, Adam what about you?
Adam Francis: I’ll divide this up on the sports side quickly. We did a really good road trip last fall where we went through Texas to see as many basketball games as we could, going through Houston and San Antonio.
Nisreene Atassi: What was a hashtag you used for that?
Adam Francis: Ok, it’s #full40 because it was my fortieth birthday so everything was branded.
Christie Hudson: You’re like embarrassed by your age just now.
Adam Francis: Well maybe I’m trying to keep that under wraps.
Christie Hudson: You already said you worked at Expedia for like a hundred years so.
Adam Francis: That’s true, so my tip from that was really just pre-planning your tickets because as you got closer to the event especially because if you don’t know how well the teams are performing and if they start to perform really well the games are sold out. So we planned well in advance so that was good. And then just outside of that, I went to Fiji a few years ago which was a pretty cool experience and during the trip, we split up our time between really doing sort of salt of the earth things like staying at a hostel to really experience the local culture and then also doing more of a five-star thing because if you’re doing the hostel experience for a prolonged period it gets a little bit exhausting after while. We got the best of both worlds and so for longer trips like that, I think that’s kind of a good idea because you get to really experience the cultural part but you also get to really relax.
Nisreene Atassi: Very cool. And you’re headed off to Croatia soon right, that’s your next big trip?
Adam Francis: I am indeed. It’s going to be a combo trip. I’m headed back to Canada then Venice, Croatia and then Toronto for the film fest.
Christie Hudson: I have some Croatia tips for you.
Nisreene Atassi: Well, maybe that’s an episode on its own. I think the most important thing is we want to hear from all of you listeners so come and find us on social media. We are @Expedia on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We want to curate episodes that are exactly what you want us to talk about. So slide into our DMs, tell us what you want us to talk about, or join our conversations on social and we’ll keep it all alive and make sure that everyone’s got everything they need to know to out travel the system.
Thank you Christie and Adam for coming on the show and I’m excited for the new season!
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