The travel industry has been one of – if not the – worst hit industries as a result of the pandemic. Travel bloggers, literally overnight, found themselves unable to travel. Readers stopped researching for holidays, so the click number dropped. What do you do? Carry on? Walk away from the blog for a bit? Refocus on something new? I asked some travel bloggers how they have blogged during the current lockdown.
I’m publishing more than ever, I increased it from weekly to three times a week. However, I focus on culinary travel and international recipes so initially I held back on the travel side and focused more on recipes and resource posts such as my favourite Jamaican fruits. People like to read the post to see how many they have also tried and suggest others.
I’ve been the most active on Facebook as people are scrolling through it and clicking through to the recipe. Interestingly they don’t like or comment on the post, they simply click through and read.
But in the last week or so I can see that my travel side is becoming more active. They are also signing up to my newsletter to receive information on specific destinations. So I may start publishing more travel posts again as people are thinking about where they would go when they can.
Submitted by Ayngelina, Bacon is Magic
Being in lockdown as a travel blogger has been challenging. Therefore, I have been focusing on creating posts which are aimed at ensuring our mental health is looked after once this is all over. Mental health is something a lot of people struggle with and therefore I have been creating ‘to do’ guides and ‘checklists’ that people can refer to once we all begin travelling again.
I have also been experimenting with different ways to creatively travel without actually leaving home, and then sharing these ideas as part of my blogs. Whether it has been going to a new country each weekend via their food, creating a wine club or watching a travel film. Each week I have been posting a new blog post because I want to help others feel less trapped. Help their creativity to flourish (should they want it too) and feel like they have a supportive network.
Submitted by Charlotte, Bursting My Bubbles
My niche is in travel and mental health so I’ve been using this time to reflect on my personal experiences with depression and anxiety, in order to create content which may help people experiencing these things for the first time. Since I’ve spent what feels like a lifetime looking for scientific research on these topics, I was able to create a mental health guide to self-isolating. I also kept speaking to friends who felt guilty for not feeling grateful enough so wrote a post on the ways to healthily practise gratitude in difficult times, based on studies. I took to social media with some personal advice and have tried to be there for people who – like myself – are isolating abroad or/and alone.
It’s not perfect, and I’ve had to be careful with disclaimers and linking to official helplines, but it’s helped give me a small sense of purpose during this time. Going forward in the long-term, it’s inspired me to create better and more thorough resources for people who travel with mental health issues.
Submitted by Cass, Cassie the Hag
After the initial shock, I’m trying to do ‘business as usual’. But a lot of things have changed. I published a long and detailed article on how to travel without leaving home. I published a guest post on my site, since I have problems thinking about travel now myself. I’ve been working on link building, especially participating in collabs.
Otherwise, I switched up my theme! Now, with the minimum number of readers coming to my blog, it has been a great time to do it and iron out the little issues that always appear with a theme switch.
What’s more, I started a new blog about jigsaw puzzles – my guilty pleasure. Jigsaw puzzles are my favorite escape from ‘real world tasks’, so now with the site I have an excuse to indulge in it. 🙂 Plus, it takes some stress away and puts an egg outside the travel basket.
Submitted by Veronika, Travel Geekery
I’ve been a travel blogger for 9 years now, and so have used this time of no travel to start updating (or deleting) over 800 posts on my blog, vickyflipfloptravels.com. Some of my old posts are shocking – and no use to my reader, or me. It’s been cathartic, and something that’s been on my to-do list for a long time. I still have a long way to go but at least I’ve made a start, and a plan.
I’ve also used the time to work on my new blog, Day Out in England. I had the idea last year, set it up in January, and then spent the last few months getting it just how I want it. It’s exciting and scary starting again. When I started my first blog it was a different world!
Obviously I had no idea how important domestic travel would be when I registered the domain, but I hope it will inspire people to explore more of our beautiful England. There are going to be a lot more staycations this year, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Submitted by Victoria, Day Out in England
I began travel blogging full time around a year ago and it’s safe to say over the last 12 months I have fully taken advantage of my new found freedom to travel and have some amazing adventures. However, the more I travelled the less time I actually had to work on my blog – the most important part of maintaining the lifestyle I had chosen.
So although the idea of not being able to travel at all for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus was painful to hear, and the drop in blog traffic was demotivating at first, I quickly started to value the newfound time I had to get started on the 101 tasks I had been neglecting while travelling and working on improving my blog for when travelling was an option again.
Over the 2 months of lockdown so far I have managed to write more new articles than I ever have before, caught up with old ideas which I hadn’t had the time to implement, updated many of my old posts to increase SEO and even learnt how to properly use Pinterest and implement an ongoing strategy to bring more traffic to my site in the future.
Although my blog traffic is currently very low and blog income almost non-existent due to many countries around the world still being in lockdown and not allowing for international travel, my hope is that all the work I put into my blog now will help it skyrocket when the world starts to recover, no matter when that might be.
Submitted by Emily, London City Calling
During the pandemic, I have been keeping busy with blogging. First, I created a new niche site, Productive Journey, which is about productivity, working from home, personal growth and wellness, which is already doing really well with Pinterest traffic.
I’ve also been updating old content on my main travel site, Dreams in Heels, and adding tons of new content and creating batches of pins for promoting this content when this is all over.
Pinterest has really been my main focus and a way of promoting my content during the lockdown. I’ve only been promoting specific content that can currently benefit my audience or help them to daydream about travel. By sharing travel memories, positive thoughts and encouraging words on Instagram, Facebook and so on, I’m hoping to inspire others to do the same. As I always say, “To re-live is to live!”
I think the key to success in blogging is more than just not giving up, but to also think outside the box for ideas that can still keep you true to your niche, but can still serve your audience. I also feel that it is important to diversify your income and not to rely on only one thing, which is why I created a new niche site and am always trying to find innovative ways to keep relevant.
This creative thinking also helped me to keep some contracts with brands by strategizing ways to pivot some content or set different deadlines. This pandemic has not only kept me isolated indoors, but it has also forced me to look within myself a little more deeply and I feel blessed to have found strength and a renewed passion for my professional and personal growth!
Submitted by Olga, Productive Journey
For the past two years, I have been blogging about sustainable cultural travels. There was a gradual increase in organic traffic. This added to boost my daily motivation to create better, write better and provide useful information for my readers.
However, post COVID 19 attack, traffic plummeted. With back to back travel plans standing as cancelled, I was introduced to the bitter truth, “None can/should/might travel at the moment”.
I started to experiment with my content planning. I stopped posting on socials because it did not make sense. I started writing about super niche stuff, like terracotta horses from India’s tribal heartland, rich Indian saree weaves. Festivals scheduled in the foreseeable future, like Durgapuja, was still receiving traffic.
I kept a daily journal on how things unfolded in India after lockdown stated. How politics impacted the affluent and otherwise.
Initially, I was skeptical about posting on food. However various food memories played a strong impact on how people behaved and related. I introduced a cookbook section on the blog where I scribble about various food adventures. To my utter surprise, it was well-received among my readers.
Along with 4 more Indian travel bloggers, we have introduced a WordPress blog named Pandemic Positive. We write about small inspiring snippets on how we are coping with daily chores, recreating food memories, shooting sunsets, gardening: basically, about things we are doing while under lockdown. In a month it had more than 50 entries and had even made it to the news on News18.
Besides all these, I am still writing various long-form blogs from past travels on my blog, with more emphasis on local and sustainable ways of travel. I am updating old content too. Once and when the world recovers, we will hit the road again. Traffic will start to peak again. Hope escaped Pandora’s box. We live for hope, don’t we?
Submitted by Madhurima, Orange Wayfarer
When moving abroad as a family of five, I struggled to find my own purpose. I wanted to accomplish more during this incredible time in Spain than just snapping photos of the children in front of cathedrals and learning all the different ways coffee is prepared.
That’s when I found blogging. As someone who has always loved writing and was lucky enough to dabble in it during my career, this was the answer I had been waiting for.
Now instead of dropping the children off at school and aimlessly wandering the city streets, I spent my days creating and learning! Travelers and fellow expats were reading my content and thanking me for sharing our family’s overseas story. Blogging became my life and it was such a rewarding journey!
Until Coronavirus hit. Suddenly people stopped searching the internet for tips on traveling to Europe or moving abroad. The content I had worked so hard on seemed totally irrelevant overnight. It was so discouraging and many other travel bloggers I knew simply put their sites “on hold” until things got better in the world.
But I just couldn’t. I felt that putting my blog on pause would mean abandoning all my hard work and success up to that point. So I decided to dig deep. I changed the trajectory of my content and focused less on living the glorious expat life and instead on the hardships that came from living abroad during a global pandemic.
This allowed me to continue writing, stay in touch with my audience and also really tap into the very personal Side of our experience in lockdown. In the beginning I worried the articles would be viewed as “filler content” to replace travel articles that no longer mattered. But actually, the response has been very positive and equally rewarding! It’s also enabled me to tap into a slightly different audience of parents/families that aren’t necessarily expats but can relate to the struggles of this uncertain time.
Submitted by Lauren, The Expat Chronicle
Being a travel blogger during such hard times is not easy at all, considering that the travel industry was the one that’s been hit the most during this pandemic. However, I’ve never been more productive at blogging than I am now. Due to having a full-time job as a magazine editor, I wasn’t able to be consistent all the time because of the huge responsibilities that come with the job. But now that I’m working from home and more flexible, I manage to work around my schedule and include more blogging tasks throughout my day.
To begin with, I started writing more consistently, providing followers with reads that are relevant to the current circumstances, like interpretations about the future of travel. I’m also doing some site auditing, improving my SEO, slowly growing my Instagram and engaging with followers every day, and I even got into Pinterest. I’d have to say: if there’s a will, there’s a way!
Submitted by Nadine, Curls en Route