9 Travel Content Creators Explore The COVID-19 Disruption

To say that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected travel would be a gross understatement.

Travel, more than any other industry, has been severely disrupted by coronavirus. International travel has been basically nonexistent since March and economies all over the world that rely on tourism are suffering heavily. The screeching halt in global tourism has inevitably impacted the lives of travel content creators whose work depends on being able to go to and promote far flung destinations.

Nadia Madrid covid-19 pandemic
INSTAGRAM @lattegirrrl

It’s a daunting and uncertain time for content creators in travel media, including for us here at Jetset Times.  The current travel restrictions force us to consider what kind of content is relevant for readers in a moment when free movement isn’t possible while keeping their wanderlust alive. This is why we wanted to talk to our favorite content creators in the global travel community about how their lives have changed and the impact that the pandemic will have on the travel industry from here on out.

Here’s what some of our favorite travel content creators have been going through during this pandemic.

Wendy Hung @wendyhung915

Wendy is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Jetset Times.

travel during covid
INSTAGRAM @wendyhung915

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

Creating content around voyage when the world stopped traveling has been tricky and we, as a team, knew that our strategy had to be rewired. Instead of sounding tone deaf, we created a new series called: #TravelFromHome, it was a way for our contributors to offer inspiration on finding newness and retrieving the joy of traveling by looking at what’s around us.

My lifestyle has changed in regards to metrics, shifting from visiting 14 countries a year down to four. Once the pandemic hit, I left Paris to spend five months with my family in Taiwan – the safest country in the world from coronavirus. Then I headed to Wisconsin – the hotbed of Covid 19 this summer – and spent a few weeks there. Despite the drastic difference in the number of cases between two continents, I gained a profound respect for Midwesterners who maintained their kindness and sweet gestures amid the fears of a global pandemic. I’ve now been in London for two months. Lockdowns or not, this majestic city has regained its local charm with less crowds and shorter lines. Rediscovering the romanticism of London has made me fall in love with a city that I visited so often before but with which I never established an enchanted affinity. In many ways, I’m still viewing the world through the lens of a traveler, exploring while redefining myself as I always did.

Wendy Taipei airport covid-19 pandemic
Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. INSTAGRAM @wendyhung915

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?   

London’s second lockdown in November was taken less seriously by the locals, despite that I wasn’t here during the first one. Since December 2nd, lockdown was lifted but masks are still not required on public streets. Restaurants and bars though, follow the strict guideline of closing at 11 p.m. I think there’s a deep sense of relief with the arrival of vaccine as the UK becomes the first country to authorize its use for emergency.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future? 

I think once borders open up, there will be a surge of travel yet with caution. People have been confined in their own bubbles for so long that the hunger for adventures and exploration will be even greater than before. The experience of air travel will undoubtedly come with hesitation and anxiety, but I think airlines will do their part to comply with customers’ needs as well as following new guidelines for hygienic and safety purposes.

I think that content will be far more competitive than before, as remote learning has become the norm. There will be a rise of long-term travelers, sharing their experiences from abroad on their own platforms in addition to conducting their virtual and regular jobs.

Vivian Bauer

Vivian is an avid jetsetter and contributor on Jetset Times.

Vivian Bauer
INSTAGRAM @viiv.b

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

The pandemic has changed my life in so many ways, good and bad. I think because of the pandemic I am now closer with my family and close friends. It made me really slow down and give thanks to all of the blessings and wonderful people in my life. As far as travel content, I’ve been able to read more about art and music from around the world while staying safe inside. A lot of my content these days is geared towards how we can access different cultural knowledge from home whether that be through art, music, movies, and books. Also, ever since the uprisings in Minneapolis (where I am currently based), I changed a lot of my content to be geared more towards social justice around the world. It has been eye-opening and a lot of fun.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?   

I am based in the U.S. and the rules are kind of all over the place. In my state you have to wear a mask inside, however, it still is a hard rule to enforce. Cases are going up and we are about to enter a second lockdown which I hope will get people to start being careful again. Even though restaurants and bars have been open, I am staying inside and doing whatever I can to keep my family and friends safe. I have hope that the new administration in January will implement a more concrete plan to slow down this pandemic and save lives.

Inhotim Brazil
Visiting Inhotim, Brazil before the pandemic. PHOTO Vivian Bauer

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been? 

Before the pandemic hit, I was living in Brazil and had to fly home last minute. I went from a trip of a lifetime to staying at my childhood home for six months. I am very lucky though because I got to travel a bit this summer with my family. 2020 is the year of road trips! So far this year, I’ve explored Baltimore and Colorado. It’s been really fun to spend more time outdoors and getting to know my surroundings better that way. Soon, I will take my first flight since March! While I am nervous, I think that many airlines in the U.S. have taken all the necessary precautions that they can.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future? 

Sadly, I think it might be a while before everyone is back on that full travel grind. I have hope for a vaccine, but getting it distributed worldwide will not be fast and easy. I think that the travel industry is making the necessary adjustments for the time being and hopefully soon we can get back to exploring the world without a screen! But most importantly, we all need to keep each other safe, stay grounded in our communities, and continue to live life with empathy and love.

Nastasia Yakoub @nastasiaspassport

Nastasia is the author and founder of Dame Traveler, which is now a book, blog and gorgeous community of women who love to travel.

Nastasia covid-19 pandemic
INSTAGRAM @nastasiaspassport

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

It has dramatically changed my entire life from traveling the world for a living and being away from home about 80% of the time to staying home in NYC 100% of the time. My content is strictly travel so it has been very tough but I realized that this was history happening before my very eyes and I had to capture it. I’m based in Manhattan so from the start of the lockdown until now, I’ve been going on long 8 mile walks every other day to take street photography shots of the city and its people. I have thousands of photos of the evolution of New York City from the very start of the pandemic to present moment. You can find many of the shots on my @nastasiaspassport story highlights. I think it was very important to capture and share the reality of what New Yorkers have been going through, pretty much unfiltered but the photos show that there is beauty even amongst a lot of pain so I consider these to be the most important photographs I’ve taken in my life thus far. The project has kept me sane during this time of isolation.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based? 

I’m in the US so it’s honestly a mess and each State is handling it differently. However, I am VERY fortunate to be living in New York, a State that has been taking Covid-19 precautions very seriously from the very start since we were one of the worst hit states in the country. I’m proud of New Yorkers, we all helped to dramatically flatten the curve and I’d say about 90% of New Yorkers wear masks, yes even outside, no matter what.

Dame Traveler.
INSTAGRAM @nastasiaspassport

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been? 

No, I don’t believe it’s safe for anyone to travel right now. I’ve only taken one trip to Chicago in the summer to see family for 2 weeks and came right back to NYC. Travel can wait, the lives of others cannot. I will resume travel once it’s safe to do so and once there’s a vaccine. I released a Dame Traveler coffee table, photo book with Penguin Random House just 1 week before the world shut down and it has been a great escape for myself and others. Check it out here.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future? 

The future is very unpredictable so I cannot answer this question with confidence but I hope it changes for the better and I hope people start traveling more mindfully, with sustainability in mind, not just traveling for the sake of photos and leaving. The environment depends on it and we need to be more respectful to the destinations and people who live there.

Chris Schalkx @chrsschlkx

Chris is half of the duo behind the wonderful Bangkok-based blog, RICE / POTATO, and a prolific freelance journalist for travel publications like Conde Nast Traveler. 

Chris Schalkx covid-19 pandemic
INSTAGRAM @chrsschlkx

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

As a freelance travel journalist, travelling is my bread and butter. Before the pandemic, I travelled around Asia to cover new hotel openings and report on other travel-related happenings. With travel at a halt, my assignments have decreased, too. Luckily, some publications are still interested in stories from Thailand and I’ve done a few media trips here over the past few months. I’ve also started writing about other subjects that interest me, such as interior design and sustainability.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?   

Thailand’s borders closed for inbound traffic around April, and despite gradually re-opening, the regulations to get in remain strict. I could potentially leave and come back, but I’d still have to quarantine for 14 days in a state-approved hotel, which is a deal-breaker for me.

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been? 

I consider myself lucky to be in Thailand during this time. We’ve had very few Covid-19 cases in the past few months, so life is mostly back to normal. We can freely travel around the country, and I’ve taken the opportunity to discover new places and revisit old favourites. While it’s terrible for the tourism industry, it’s pretty great to see the country’s most popular spots without the crowds.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future? 

As a country that highly depends on tourism, Thailand’s tourism industry has taken a heavy hit. A lot of hotels and restaurants have already closed, or will probably not make it through the pandemic if borders remain closed for much longer. I do believe, however, that the pandemic has acted as a sort of purge – Thailand’s tourism businesses were growing at an unsustainable rate, pushing out local communities and draining natural resources. The pandemic has stopped that, and I hope we can move forward with a more sustainable mindset. I think this will also be reflected in the travel media, there will be more focus on sustainable tourism and journalists have become more critical about the impact of the businesses they’re covering.

Sienna Brown @siennajbrown

Sienna is the founder of Las Morenas de España, which started as a blog to help women of color find a community in Spain. Sienna now offers courses that teach professionals how to move and establish their dream life abroad. 

Sienna Brown
INSTAGRAM @siennajbrown

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel blogging (content creation) in general?

Since the pandemic, something that most people realized is the power of being still. While having lived in Spain for the last 7 years, I would normally travel for work or leisure at least once a month but since March, I’ve really been learning how to appreciate even more the town where I live. Day-to-day life is pretty much back to normal now but with an elevated sense of gratitude to be located in a place where I don’t feel the need to “escape”.

In regards to the content that we share and courses we provide for our students to help them move abroad, there’s actually been a surge of women who are ready to build roots in a new country after realizing that living through the pandemic in their home countries isn’t how they want to be living. It’s been amazing seeing them take this extra time to reflect on what they really want in life and then set themselves up for success when the time comes.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?   

Right now in Spain, face masks are mandatory, gatherings are up to 6 people and there is a curfew between certain hours. The rules are different for each autonomous community in Spain but where I’m located, the borders are currently closed and we have to be in the house between 12am and 6am. In other parts of the country, bars and shops are closed and they have stricter rules but things are changing every couple of weeks.

Sienna Brown
PHOTO Sienna Brown

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been? 

I traveled during the summer to spend a month in a small town in Galicia and then spent a week in Porto, Portugal. For me, it was interesting traveling to the north of the country but with the proper precautions, things were quite calm as there were a lot fewer people moving around. Where I was at, it was a beautiful reminder of being in rural areas vs. in cities. When I was in Portugal, it was interesting to see the difference of how country-wide regulations differed although they’re right next to one another.

While I’m not planning on traveling any time soon, it was a great opportunity to be able to see cities that are normally filled with tourists more calm and with less hustle and bustle.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/blogging in the future? 

I think the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon but I do think that people will start being more conscious about where and how they travel. Big cities will be less of a destination and people will be looking to stay in places for longer periods of time. The concept of slow travel will be appreciated a lot more and the tourism industry will need to rethink the way they focus on attracting people from different countries and the types of experiences they promote.

When thinking about travel media, content creators will start embracing local travel and implementing ways to bring the moments of clarity and relaxation that you get from heading off to distant places… into your own home.

Andrew & Emily of Along Dusty Roads @alongdustyroads

Andrew and Emily are the duo behind the whimsical slow travel blog, Along Dusty Roads. You can also find limited prints of their gorgeous photography on their shop.

Andrew and Emily from Along Dusty Roads
INSTAGRAM @alongdustyroads

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

As a travel blog, it obviously hasn’t been ideal. We stopped being nomadic just over a year ago, and our plan was to spend at least half of the year travelling, the other half working at home (this is spread across the year, rather than in two distinct chunks).

This year’s restrictions meant everything we had planned from March onward was cancelled, including our personal travels as well as campaigns or partnerships, but we were thankfully back home and settled in the UK before this happened. Avoiding a lockdown, quarantine, or an enforced stay somewhere else was a positive.

The upside of being stuck at home for a sustained period of time was that we could finally turn our attention to strategically chipping away at the backlog and never-ending to-do list we have for the blog. It also allowed us to put in the necessary work to sell our photography, alongside a few other projects.

We didn’t try to pivot to anything else, as Along Dusty Roads will always be focused on travel; diluting that focus in the short-term was never an option for us.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?

We’re based in England, where there have been two nationwide lockdowns in 2020 alongside various restrictions on movement and meeting people. Thankfully we live in a small town by a river, with easy access to the countryside on foot, so we’ve been fortunate. Travel opened up in the summer to certain countries, including no requirement to quarantine upon arrival there or back home, but the list of countries which this applied to changed weekly.

alongdustyroads
INSTAGRAM @alongdustyroads

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been? 

Once travel restrictions were removed within the UK and to/from other countries, we prioritized seeing our families rather than travel. We also wanted to wait to assess the situation and environment for a couple of months before committing to anything further afield.

We focus on slow travel, rather than skipping from destination to destination to tick off a list, and decided that travelling within a single country was the most sensible option. After reviewing data and forecasts, as well as various government guidelines, we selected Italy and were able to spend seven wonderful weeks there travelling by train.

The experience itself felt closer to our trips to Italy in ‘normal’ times than we expected, but it obviously wasn’t the same in terms of spontaneous person-to-person interactions or experiences. Thankfully Italy is beautiful enough to enjoy even without that element.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future? 

As ever with the future of travel, we hope this year’s events will see government, business, and individuals focus on prioritizing and supporting considerate, meaningful, and sustainable travel experiences and methods in the long term. 2020 saw the end of overtourism, but it will rear its ugly head very quickly again once things change, and now is the time to put in place practices and policies to prevent its worst impacts. If giant cruise ships don’t come back, we really wouldn’t shed a tear.

This year has also decimated the livelihoods of so many small businesses and people who rely on travelers and tourism, and we sincerely hope that they can hold on until we can be back on the road again. For example, it would be catastrophic if the hostel experience simply ceased to exist.

This year has seen many of us better value what’s on our doorstep, which is a necessary corrective in the era of cheap flights. It has certainly changed our own perspective on the need to wander closer to home, and to better value that experience, and that will hopefully stick with a generation. However, we personally travel to experience a different culture and landscape entirely, not simply to relax, and that appetite will not diminish amongst a large demographic. The fact that those places and adventures perhaps feel further away from us than ever before is also not a bad corrective, in terms of rediscovering an appreciation of how fortunate anyone is to travel.

In terms of content, focus changes so quickly with every new social media trend and it’s difficult to understand what is actually valued by travelers, let alone the individual. For us, we will simply continue to play to our strengths and create beautiful, engaging, and thoughtful guides to help people to travel more and travel better – something we hope will never go out of fashion.

Hemandra and Cheryl from Today We Explore @todayweexplore

Heman and Cheryl are the creators behind the adorable couple’s travel account, @todayweexplore, based in Singapore.

Hemandra and Cheryl from Today We Explore
INSTAGRAM @todayweexplore

First of all, what and how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your lifestyle and travel content creation in general?

Since we mostly focus on travel, our travel content creation has come to a literal standstill as most of the brands we tend to collaborate have held off their marketing efforts.

Though, both Hemandra and I have been working on other ventures and businesses since the start of the year so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Once the Circuit Breaker lifts, we have decided to make our IG page a little more personal and about our casual lifestyle to adapt to possible restrictions on travel.

How are the rules and regulations relating to Covid-19 in the country where you are based?

To contain the spread of COVID-19, we were in a nationwide partial lockdown from April to June, known as a circuit breaker.

When we reopened in June, a couple of safe measures were put in place, including one metre safe distancing seat configuration, group sizes should not exceed 5 people for social gathering, households may receive only 5 visitors at any one time, mask wearing at all times and certain entertainment venues such as bars and nightclubs still remain close.

todayweexplore
INSTAGRAM @todayweexplore

Have you been traveling at all this year since the pandemic started? How has that experience been?

Right before the lockdown, we made a trip to Bali in March for a project. Since the project was mainly with the resort, besides heading to a nearby beach house, we spend more of our time in the resort. Bali has always been a popular tourism spot, however, the resort and even the beach popular house was really peaceful and there were only a couple of other tourists.

What lasting effects do you think Covid-19 will have on the tourism industry and travel media/content in the future?

Travelling will most likely be profoundly different, including finding creative ways to globetrot from home, staycations and when tourism do eventually resume, there would be a heightened sensitivity to cleanliness and hygiene. With the many travel restrictions that different countries have imposed on international travel, it would also make us rethink how and why we travel.

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features and online via JST's social media platforms. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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