Only registered NomadMania users can vote.
To be eligible for voting in the final round, voters must have registered with NomadMania until September 20th and must have 35 or more NomadMania regions marked as visited.
You have to be logged in on NomadMania website in order to vote. Meet all the nominees below.
Most Intrepid Traveller 2023
A traveller whose travels in the last year have required considerable courage, risk-taking and craziness.
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Kurt Caz 🇿🇦
Kurt Caz, the globe-trotting vlogger from South Africa, embarks on thrilling adventures around the world. With an insatiable wanderlust, he’s explored lands in Central and South America, historically rich North African countries, East African gems, and more. Kurt’s captivating vlogs and videos transport his audience to the heart of the places he visits, with their cultural heritage, mouthwatering cuisine, and other enchanting elements. Kurt’s mission is to spark wanderlust in individuals, and his online presence serves as an invaluable resource for travel planning and inspiration. He empowers novices and seasoned vloggers alike, sharing his detailed travel itineraries, and enabling others to retrace his footsteps.
Eric Gilbertson is working on visiting all the UN countries in the world in perhaps a unique way – he wants to climb the highest mountain in each country. This is his way to guarantee visiting places that are off-the-beaten-track and often hard to get to. He’s climbed easy drive-up peaks like Mt Hillaby in Barbados and some of the toughest mountains in the world like K2 in Pakistan and Pobeda in Kyrgyzstan. Sometimes the true highpoint is unknown or has never been climbed, and he needs to bring professional survey equipment to figure it out. He’s so far climbed 140 country highpoints, and still has many fun ones remaining.
Pablo Gonzalez, known as Pablo Nemo, is the first Spaniard in history to walk the entire length of Africa, solo travelling, uninterrupted and without assistance, following the legendary route from Cape Town, in South Africa to Cairo, in Egypt, crossing 11 countries of the continent. On November 7th, 2021 he arrived in Cape Town with his 12kg backpack and his passport only. At the moment he’s in Ethiopia, after traveling more than 9,000 km in 9 countries during more than 650 days. His purpose is to spread awareness about the conservation of nature, connect with the roots of humanity and inspire the world by showing that there are no impossibles, and with love, faith and purpose everything is possible.
Daniel Pinto, known as Dnzh, is a 25-year-old Portuguese traveller who’s been to over 120 countries. He’s drawn to all places deemed dangerous, intrepid or off the beaten path. He does it all on a small budget and avoids any tours. He has a big love for overland travel, trying the most outlandish foods and meeting people/cultures along the way. Some interesting things he’s done this year were spending time with the last head-hunters of Northeast India and hunting in the heart of Africa with Baka pygmies. He documents his journeys on his social media, inspiring fellow adventurers to explore the world’s wildest places.
Joy Ryan 🇺🇸
Bob Thissen 🇳🇱
Bob Thissen has explored abandoned places in around 85 countries on 5 continents and risked his life, freedom and health while going on his incredible adventures. He often pioneers forgotten places the world has never seen before. In 2016 Bob co-developed an eight-episode TV series where he brings abandoned buildings back alive with Stop-Motion techniques. After the TV series, he started to document the most amazing abandoned places in the world full-time and his work is published in online media and television, (like National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Apple and CNN) magazines, books and on his YouTube channel Exploring the Unbeaten Path, which has over 400.000 subscribers. Bob also gives lectures & workshops about ‘urban exploring’ and has exhibitions.
Best Travel Content Creator 2023
The creator whose engaging stories and visuals invite us to explore unseen places and cultures.
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Joe Hattab 🇦🇪
Saudi-born filmmaker Joe Hattab, boasting 11.7 million YouTube subscribers, is a pioneer of ‘By Arabs For Arabs’ content. Since 2016, his 504 travel videos have garnered 1.3 billion views and 26 million social media followers. In 2021, Joe obtained a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport and documented this milestone in a viral video with 4.7 million views. Joe’s authenticity distinguishes him in the digital landscape, cementing his status as a top traveller from the region. Having transitioned from vlogger to respected travel journalist, he takes viewers on global journeys, from Korean social experiments to encounters with Komodo Dragons on Padar Island, even delving into the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh.
Roberto Helou is a French-Lebanese adventurer, filmmaker, and environmental activist who is passionate about adventure, culture and going deep into the exploration of a country. Upon finishing high school, he dropped his studies in environmental engineering and audiovisual communication to follow his passion for travelling and making films. Roberto is a founder of Plastic Free Lebanon, an initiative to fight plastic pollution. As an outdoors lover, he organized multiple expeditions, like cycling around Iceland or trekking in the New Zealand wilderness. In January this year, he started cycling the length of Africa, from Cairo to Capetown, all while producing a mini-series about the adventure on YouTube and documenting his journey on Instagram.
Elona Karafin 🇺🇸
Elona Karafin is a dynamic force in the world of travel and self-discovery. What began as a quest to explore the globe amidst a busy life transformed into a passionate mission. As a prolific travel writer, Elona shares captivating tales of her profound adventures that capture diverse cultures’ essence. Her curiosity fuels a deep desire to understand humanity’s facets, motivations, and happiness sources. Elona collaborates with esteemed brands in the travel and lifestyle spheres. She leads a charity for children battling cancer and spearheads philanthropic initiatives for underprivileged communities. Elona’s online work embodies travel as a profound self-development tool, reshaping perspectives, and fostering appreciation for diversity.
Shubham Kumar is a traveller from Northern India, best known for his YouTube channel Nomad Shubham with 658 million views and 2.84 million subscribers. He started his world travels at 16, deciding to leave a conventional life behind and embark on a journey of self-discovery. He is known for being very sociable, striking up conversations with locals at every step. Now aged 22, he has mostly hitchhiked 50,000+ kilometres through the course of the last 6 years and has visited 58 countries. He believes that ‘The less I spend money, the more I gain experience’ and he hitch-hikes not only to save money but also for the social exchange this gives.
Keith and Renee Whitaker 🇺🇸
Keith and Renee Whitaker are an adventurous couple who embarked on a life-changing journey in 2016. Despite having no prior sailing experience, they purchased a sailboat with the dream of circumnavigating the globe, set sail with their four children and soon found themselves on a thrilling adventure. Their journey took them across the oceans, from Texas to Australia on a monohull and then on to Greece, where they acquired a catamaran for their continued voyage. In the last 7 years, the family has sailed over 50,000 nautical miles. In their videos, the Whitakers candidly share their experiences, offering inspiration, laughter, and valuable insights into their evolving family dynamics.
Shiho Zekkei 🇯🇵
Shiho Zekkei, a passionate traveller and accomplished writer from Japan, has etched her name in the world of travel content creation. With nine captivating travel books under her belt, including the acclaimed The Breathtaking Sights in the World I Want to See Before I Die, she has become a renowned voice in the industry. Beyond her literary achievements, Shiho’s dedication to her hometown, Hamamatsu in Shizuoka, is evident through her role as a welcome ambassador. However, her wanderlust extends far beyond her roots. Shiho’s Instagram account serves as a visual testament to her adventures, showcasing awe-inspiring landscapes both within Japan and around the world. Shiho is a must-follow influencer for travel enthusiasts seeking inspiration and wanderers seeking guidance.
Most Purposeful Traveller 2023
The one whose efforts to create community, help local communities and, in general, travel with a purpose.
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After staying in a Tanzanian village where people had to walk far to bring home clean water, Charlie Christensen founded the NGO Walking for Water and embarked on a philanthropic pilgrimage, walking from Denmark to Tanzania, to raise funds for public boreholes in underprivileged communities. Till now he has walked 13.000 kilometres from Denmark to Equatorial Guinea, never paying to sleep but primarily couch-surfing or camping in the bush. Ahead Charlie still has about 6.000 kilometers across the African continent to end in the Tanzanian village where it all started. His project has already funded a public water service for a Tanzanian village and another 64 public boreholes across Africa.
Ric Gazarian is on a quest to travel to every country in the world and has so far travelled to over 160 countries. He documents his adventures at GlobalGaz, where he shares must-see destinations, unique experiences, and off-the-beaten path locations, helping travellers visit places that are less visited with less actionable information. Ric is the host of the Counting Countries podcast, where he has created community and inspired a variety of people by interviewing the world’s biggest travellers. He is also the Co-Founder of the Extraordinary Travel Festival where the world’s most avid, accomplished, and adventurous travellers gather, which is now preparing for its second edition.
After graduating as valedictorian, Cameron Mofid founded Humanity Effect, a nonprofit that performs vital humanitarian projects in underserved communities worldwide. Since launching Humanity Effect earlier this year, he’s raised nearly $100,000 to fund a school in Nigeria, construct an orphanage in Ghana, and develop a community centre in Venezuela. As a 23-year-old who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Cameron has also been an ardent advocate for mental health awareness. He’s given a TEDx Talk, spoken on NBC’s The Today Show, and written numerous memoirs about his struggles. Cameron has visited 138 countries so far, and as he continues travelling, he aspires to build actionable empathy across the globe.
Danish Soomro 🇵🇰 🇨🇦
Danish Soomro is a Pakistani-Canadian tech entrepreneur, innovator and the creator of Digital Nomads Around the World—the largest Facebook community for digital nomads in the world with over 150K members. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, he got his MBA in the UK, then immigrated to Canada, and has now been a full-time digital nomad for over 6 years. He is also the founder of VisaDB.io, the first online visa information database and visa experts marketplace designed to make global mobility easier for everyone on the planet which is free of charge.
Johannes Voelkner 🇩🇪
Johannes Voelkner is a digital nomad from Germany who started his travel journey back in 2010. Soon after, Johannes realized that travelling could sometimes be lonely and he definitely missed having like-minded people around him. To solve this problem, he found a great transatlantic cruise deal and invited a bunch of friends. This developed into the creation of Nomad Cruise where location-independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads come together for a business conference on a cruise boat attracting nearly 500 participants on each voyage. He is also the founder of NomadBase, the business & travel club for digital nomads.
Best Travel Book 2023
The book that takes readers on new adventures, sparking the love for travel with every page.
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Zoe Agasi and Olivier van Herck 🇧🇪 🇳🇱
Zoe Agasi and Olivier van Herck are full-time adventurers and ambassadors of the outdoors. In September 2016, they set off on a world tour with second-hand bicycles. Six years later, they have travelled 50,000 kilometres on human power by bicycle, on foot, canoeing, skiing, sailing, and skating. At the moment they are living in Norway where they continue their adventurous lifestyle. Leaving the Comfort Zone details a 40,000-kilometer journey spanning four years across several countries and continents using one’s own muscle power. From encountering different cultures to embracing the freedom of nature, making friendships, and traversing new landscapes, the book ultimately takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery.
Erika Fatland is a renowned Norwegian anthropologist and author celebrated for her captivating travel writing. Her debut book, Sovietistan, published in 2015, took readers on a mesmerizing journey through five post-Soviet Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Following her remarkable debut, Erika continued to enthral readers with The Border: A Journey Around Russia. This expansive work chronicles her travels along Russia’s extensive borders, spanning from North Korea to Norway, and encompasses diverse regions such as China, Mongolia, Ukraine, and the Northeast Passage. Her travelogues have been translated into 26 languages, winning a number of awards and earning Erika a prominent place in the world of travel literature.
A passionate traveller since early childhood, Boris Kester’s other dream was to be an author. He wrote The Long Road to Cullaville: Stories of My Travels to Every Country in the World, a riveting book about his travels. Many readers call it a travel thriller. In the sixteen chapters of the book, Boris shows his readers some of the most memorable places in the world and makes one think about the risk-taking that is inherent to travel and adventure. The book is breathtaking, impressive, funny, very adventurous and touching at the same time. Moreover, it is among the most travelled books on earth: it has been to 190 countries (early September 2023).
Born and raised in Detroit by Ugandan parents, Jessica Nabongo is a master storyteller and travel expert, who is the first black woman to have travelled to every country in the world. Named one of the 50 Most Notable People in Travel by Travel and Leisure, Jessica uses her platforms to educate and inspire others to experience the world around them and build a global community. Her first book, The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World, published by National Geographic, was an instant bestseller. She is also the founder of the lifestyle brand The Catch. When she’s not on a plane, she is home tending to her plants in Detroit and LA.
Rolf Potts 🇺🇸
Rolf Potts is an American travel writer who has written five books. In 1999, his essay Storming the Beach about his experience trying to infiltrate the film set of ‘The Beach’ in Thailand was chosen for inclusion in the American Travel Writing 2000. In the footsteps of Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, released in 2003, his newest title is for readers who want to dream or yearn to get back out on the road. The Vagabond’s Way explores and celebrates the life-altering essence of travel with each day of the year featuring a one-page meditation on an aspect of the journey, anchored by words of wisdom.
Kate Rawles is a passionate advocate of ‘Adventure Plus’ – using adventurous journeys to raise awareness and inspire action on our most urgent environmental challenges. Her newest book The Life Cycle documents Kate’s most recent biodiversity bike ride – 8288 miles the length of South America, following the spine of the Andes and exploring biodiversity loss. Previous Adventure Plus journeys have included The Carbon Cycle ride from Texas to Alaska exploring climate change; and Gaia to Gyre, a sailing voyage with Pangaea Exploration investigating ocean plastic pollution. Kate has cycled in the English Lake District, the French Alps, the Spanish Pyrenees, the North American Rockies and the South American Andes. She’s a keen sea kayaker, hill-walker and a long-distance cyclist.
Most Trusted Local Fixer 2023
The go-to person who turns common trips into unforgettable local experiences with their know-how.
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Sardar Abdullah 🇮🇶
Sardar Abdullah is an experienced local fixer in Iraq. He has dedicated himself to facilitating seamless journeys for travellers and journalists, bridging cultural gaps and unlocking hidden treasures in the destinations within Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. His role involves more than logistics, he’s the bridge that connects travellers to the heart of a place. Sardar has honed the art of securing access to exclusive locations and fostering relationships with local communities. This has enabled his clients to capture extraordinary stories and create unforgettable memories. He is committed to turning ordinary journeys into great adventures. With great passion and dedication, he ensures that the experiences are nothing short of exceptional, leaving his travellers with a deeper understanding of Iraq & Kurdistan.
Wassim Allache, while travelling himself, realised that people didn’t know much about his home country, Algeria. In 2016 while waiting for a flight to Easter Island, he met a group of Chinese tourists who invited him to tag along their trip. Wassim then invited them to Algeria. The whole group visited him, and that inspired him to set up his own tour company. His goal is to give the most accurate image of Algeria to the world. His reliable network, connections and way of helping foreign visitors get their visas have made his company rank first on Tripadvisor. He’s helped many travellers who came as visitors but then they left as friends, with plans to come back again.
Fadi Assi is a fixer and humanitarian from Syria. Originally from Homs, he worked in tourism before the war, during which he was kidnapped no less than four times. As co-founder of the Golden Team agency in 2019, he has been partially responsible for the return of tourism to Syria. Fadi claims his agency is now the largest in the country, and foresees further growth with his company reaching 20 employees; he also sees himself as a pioneer, opening destinations such as Bosra in Southern Syria for visitors before anybody else while insisting on authentic, people-based experiences. Fadi is also the Syrian representative of iCare, aiming to help Syrian orphans with educational and other programmes.
Andrew Fortune Bassie 🇸🇱
Andrew Fortune Bassie is the welcoming face of Sierra Leonean tourism. Andrew is not just a local tour guide; he’s a trusted fixer with an insatiable passion for cultural exchange and history. His heart lies in unravelling the unique stories of different cultures and sharing the hidden gems of Sierra Leone with travellers. Andrew’s journey takes him to historical and monumental sites, where he introduces visitors to his homeland’s rich tapestry. He sees himself as a catalyst for change, striving to redefine Sierra Leone’s image as a non-traditional tourist destination. He is committed to nurturing sustainable tourism practices. Andrew’s boundless enthusiasm for history and community impact makes him a remarkable ambassador for both his country and the world of tourism.
Baba el Bekay takes immense pride in showcasing the treasures of his homeland, Mauritania to visitors. His journey as a local guide has been marked by exceptional accomplishments, with a notable achievement being the first company in Mauritania to provide uniforms for guides and teams. Baba has not only enhanced the professionalism of guiding services but also ensured that visitors can easily identify and trust his team. This initiative has set a high standard for the travel industry in his region, promoting consistency among local guides. Moreover, Baba focuses on digital marketing to connect with a broader audience. His goal is to ensure clients’ satisfaction with memorable experiences.
Mikhail Rybochkin is a former Russian military officer and parachute stuntman. Over the recent years, he visited all but one of Russia’s internationally recognised 83 administrative divisions extending from the Russian-Norwegian to the Russian-North Korean border and completed several road trips like Moscow – Vladivostok – Moscow or Ulyanovsk – Magadan – Ulyanovsk. He has helped many international travellers visit Russian administrative territories. In the past, Misha took part in a number of skydiving, skiing, and mountaineering expeditions in the North Pole, Antarctica, and the Caucasus, and climbed Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus. He has travelled by car across many countries and sailed in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
Biggest Lpi (Low Passport Index) Traveller 2023
The one who doesn’t let the bureaucracy and passport nor nationality issues stop him/her in their travelling.
To be eligible for this, travellers have to be from one of the countries that rank the lowest on Henley Passport Index Ranking. Full list is available on the LPI ranking page.
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Anurag Dasgupta is an Indian traveller who has visited 164 countries and all seven continents including Antarctica using his Indian passport only. Born and raised in Kolkata, West Bengal, he moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. career in Information Technologies studies. Since moving to the US, he has been to all 50 states and visited all the national parks of the mainland USA. Besides travelling to all the countries in the world, Anurag’s goal is also to visit the North Pole and the South Pole. His travel hunger isn’t limited to the planet Earth though and he hopes to do some sort of space travel too if that becomes affordable in our lifetime.
Maliha Fairooz is a Bangladeshi female solo adventurer who by the age of 31 has travelled to 100 countries with the 7th worst passport in the world. Maliha has been deported, detained, questioned, put in immigration prison, searched, interrogated, harassed, and assaulted, but none of these things has dampened her travelling spirit. She currently works for a human rights and democracy NGO in Berlin, whilst simultaneously creating content on Instagram and her blog, which caters to young people of colour with an adventurous spirit. Maliha is on a quest to visit 197 countries and decolonize travel in the process by sharing perspectives and stories of the places she visits from the point of view of a brown, Muslim, Bangladeshi woman.
Mercyline Masanya 🇰🇪
Mercyline Masanya is a Kenyan Youtuber with over 236K subscribers best known as African Tigress. She is a content creator, businesswoman, philanthropist and also a traveller who has visited 37 countries on a Kenyan passport. In 2018, she founded Afyachapchap, a mobile and web-based platform that provides a listing of approved health service providers. She is also the founder of the Pro-Empowerment Foundation (PEF) whose main activities within Kenya revolve around mentorship for school dropouts so they can secure a sustainable future; economic empowerment for women; quality health care; gender empowerment; advocating for girl child education; and leadership and governance, among others.
Pia Dina Montemayor started travelling in 2010. She mostly does solo, do-it-yourself trips. She embarked on a year of extensive travels from July 2022 to July 2023. She visited 44 new countries and 14 repeat countries on 6 continents (3 new continents) during that period, using her Philippino passport only. The only valid visa stamp on her passport at the time she started her journey was the Schengen Visa Multiple Entry. She believes coming from a country with a low passport index should not be an excuse to stop you from travelling. She thinks for travelling, you only need money, good health, time, and the pixie dust of bravery! Pia’s current milestones are 110 UN, 118 UN+, and 126 TCC.
Pete Rojwongsuriya 🇹🇭
Pete Rojwongsuriya is a travel blogger known for his blog BucketListly.blog. He was born and raised in Thailand and has been solo backpacking around the world while running his blog for the past 10 years, with over 86 countries under his belt and more than 600 travel guides and articles to his credit. His goal is to keep travel as real as possible and to provide information and inspiration for people to do the same. He writes comprehensive travel guides and creates backpacking itineraries to help his audience plan their trips to places they’ve never heard of, providing his followers with the needed information and aiming to ensure they can enjoy their trips to the fullest.
Biggest Traveller 2023
The one and only, whose travels in the past year, in terms of both quantity (days on the road and number of trips) AND quality (difficulty and variety of destinations), render them a truly big traveller even by the standards of the NomadMania Community.
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Janie Borisov grew up in Soviet-era Moscow and spent her childhood dreaming of travelling the world when it seemed about as likely as going to the Moon. But her family moved to Australia when she was fifteen, and a year later, she already made enough cash to take my first trip. For the past three decades, she juggled travel, work, and family as she circled the globe multiple times a year – backpacking, hitchhiking, and sleeping on people’s couches. She travelled in irrational loops and zigzags, taking all the wrong turns, getting into every kind of trouble, and constantly scribbling in her notebooks. They have recently morphed into her first book, Tripping All Over – to be published soon.
Michele Fallucchi was born and raised in Switzerland with a strong connection to his father’s village in the Abruzzo mountains. He prefers overland travel, cherishing the sense of adventure it brings. Connecting with locals through couch-surfing enriches his journeys, offering authentic cultural experiences. Nature beckons him more than bustling cities; hiking and climbing in serene landscapes fulfil his spirit. What truly fuels his wanderlust is capturing the world’s beauty through his drone. Michele finds immense joy in observing wildlife. He has a knack for uncovering hidden gems, which reflects his genuine love for authentic experiences and the thrill of discovering the lesser-known wonders of our world, with the motto of the unexpected being the best.
With about 330 travels completed up to now, at 72, Dominique Laurent has been in 190 countries, some of them more than 10 times, always visiting in depth. He is quite eclectic, interested both in culture and nature. His most special interests are traditional places and people (178 indigenous people visited; outstanding: Danis, Korowais, Nenets, Tsaatans), carnivals and traditional festivals (63 carnivals. 110 traditional festivals attended), treks (46 achieved including 18 in the Himalayas and Karakorum and 7 in the Andes), volcanoes (101 active volcanoes climbed), difficult and political destinations (North Korea twice, Berlin at the very fall of the Wall, Somalia) as well as very remote places (South and North Poles, Pitcairn, Clipperton).
Slawek Muturi, always wearing trademark orange, is one of only three documented travellers to have visited every country twice. Born in Poland to a Kenyan father and a Polish mother, he has single-handedly developed into a real estate guru in his native Poland, being the author of many books on investment in this fascinating field. A father of two daughters, as a traveller, Slawek is spontaneous, tireless and generally unplanned, preferring to travel alone and not shying away from extremely low-budget accommodation and uncomfortable, dusty road transport. He has continuously travelled throughout the past year and continues to spend most of the European winter travelling beyond Europe.
Ravi Prabhu is an Indian-American world traveller who has visited 192 UN countries to date with a mission to travel to every country in the world and inspire people to travel more. Born in India in the city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state, Ravi moved to the United States over 20 years ago. He currently holds American citizenship and resides in the state of Virginia. He is famous for his YouTube channel Ravi Telugu Traveller with more than 700K subscribers. His travel videos are always in his native Telugu language which he is proud to celebrate despite living far away from his roots.
Anna-Katri Räihä is a solo female traveller from Finland. In 2023 she became the first Finnish woman and the youngest Nordic woman to visit all UN193 countries. She lives for adventure and wants to go beyond the ordinary to explore the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. On her social media, she brings unconventional destinations to the limelight but also shatters the stereotype that only men can experience adventure travel escapades. She has been living out of a suitcase for years spending more time on the road than at home. After finishing all the countries this year, she has been forced to stay at home for several months, but she is already planning new adventures.
What the NomadMania Awards are about
The NomadMania Travel Awards are meant to celebrate travelling efforts for the past year.
Our aim is not to make people travel for the award, but rather to award the ones who travel regardless of that and to inspire new generations of travellers!
This year for the first time ever the NomadMania Travel Awards is happening live in Lviv, Ukraine where the voting results will be presented live.