What It’s Like To Travel For A Living During The Pandemic

4 mn read

As flights around the world were canceled and plane tickets postponed during the pandemic lockdown, travel bloggers were lost at home without access to travel. Many digital creators in the United States rely on international trips and exclusive hotels they visit in order to promote content. Along with that, more than 32,000 airline workers who depend on travel for income were furloughed as a result of the pandemic.

After six months, US Congressional leaders officially passed a nearly $900 billion relief package this week which includes $15 billion in federal aid to the airline industry. This will require airlines to put all furloughed employees back on payroll for four months. The U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement, “More will be needed to restore the 4.5 million travel jobs lost in the travel and tourism industry, but the process that produced this agreement is hopefully a positive sign for what will be possible to achieve in the next Congress.”

Courtney Acree, a flight attendant for SouthWest Airlines, YouTube creator, and Instagram blogger, used the changes in new safety protocols on airplanes to educate her viewers on the ways she safely travels for work. SouthWest Airlines was the first one in the U.S. to enact the strictest mask-wearing policies for travelers; paving the way for other airlines to prohibit any passengers on a plane without a mask.

Photo: courttoofly/Instagram

This period of time has actually been beneficial for Acree, also known as “Court Too Fly,” mainly because her Instagram and YouTube content has reached more people after creating a new series called, “Flight Attendant Working During COVID-19.” Through this YouTube series, viewers get a deeper look at the lifestyle and regular work shifts of a flight attendant adjusting to the unexpected pandemic.

“People were really receptive to the series. I think they were really interested because they weren’t able to travel,” Acree told Eat News, “People wanted to see how airports looked, what airlines were doing to sanitize the airplanes and how I was coping with it all.” A strategy she uses to engage her viewers is to provide a glimpse of tasks they normally do not see when they board a flight, such as the preparations before takeoff or the hotels where crew members stay between trips.

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She added, “I began to post more. My YouTube subscribers want to know how I decompress on my off days and what my other interests are outside of aviation.” Acree also shares motivational content on her Instagram page with the purpose of inspiring her audience to stay positive and reach their goals during tough times, “I plan to expose my audience to beautiful places and adventures while educating and entertaining them.” By empowering her followers with affirmations and personal experiences, she aims to continue growing her audience across different platforms.

From sharing traveling tips to inspiring ideas about culture, food, or fashion; blogging is a full-time job for individuals who base their online content on sharing their travel journeys. This type of entertaining content produces over 62 million results with the search for #travelblogger on Instagram, but how could non-airline employees post about travel when traveling was not a thing during quarantine?

The U.S. Department of State warned American travelers about the possibility of foreign governments changing restrictions as Covid cases in low-risk destinations surge and make it difficult to return to the United States. All travelers have had to adjust to the mandatory testing and new travel restrictions implemented in countries still prohibiting entry of tourists and non-essential travelers. As well as the required quarantine policies upon arrival in foreign countries that have opened their borders.

Photo: nickchungs.com

Nick Chung is a travel filmmaker, photographer and digital artist. After recently graduating high school, he made the choice to skip college and dedicate his entire future to traveling. Chung started exploring his home state Oregon and continued to other parts of the West Coast, such as California and Washington. As a young traveler, Chung has had the chance to do photoshoots and collaborate with a number of influencers and brands, which is a huge perk of being an Instagram traveler.

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When all of Chung’s trips planned for this year were canceled  before the pandemic, his calendar was initially set with dates to visit New York, Seoul, Canada and Bali. He told Eat News, “Honestly, this pandemic has affected my Instagram because I take photos and videos so I can post to grow my account.” Since that was not possible, the growth of Chung’s Instagram account was slow during the months of quarantine. His last option was to figure out other ways to keep his followers engaged. He mentioned, “I was able to re-edit my old travel photos and videos.” While he looked back at his past travel experiences, he realized it ended up being a useful way to practice and improve his editing skills.

Chung recalled one of his favorite memories of watching the sunset and falling asleep at a beach located in the Forks, on the Washington Coast. Along with hiking and forming friendships with YouTubers, models, and athletes. Last year, he was also able to get in touch with Jaylen Hoard, a professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers, with whom he formed a friendship with. However, Chung knows that this will not be his favorite place forever, as he is set on traveling to other parts of the world including Indonesia, the Philippines, Iceland, and Canada next year. 

The hopes of witnessing the new places he has yet to visit led him to believe humans might bring up a new way to travel in this world, “Let’s say this quarantine taught us a lesson, maybe we will start becoming more aware of what should happen and be more responsible.” Although air travel dropped from over 2 million daily U.S. travelers to less than 100,000 in a matter of weeks over the course of the pandemic, this high-flying career filled with back-to-back trips will continue to grow in a post-pandemic world as millions of people plan safer ways to travel in the future. 

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Victoria Gonzalez is a U.S. correspondent for Eat News who covers a variety of topics about the entertainment world and politics.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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