#TripCancelled: Journey bloggers and influencers’ enterprise hit exhausting by pandemic | Journey | Life

Halifax, NS –

At a time when catching flights could mean catching coronavirus, travel plans are really in the air. Nixing trips can be an inconvenience for many of us, and it is also a huge loss of revenue for travel bloggers.

“In eleven years I haven’t restricted my travel so much,” says Cailin O’Neil, founder of TravelYourself.

O’Neil, who has worked with numerous partners and brands including GoPro, Amex, Air Miles, as well as various international tourism boards, says COVID-19-related travel bans have derailed their plans.

Cailin O’Neil in Peggy’s Cove. – Contributed – Saltwire

“I literally wanted to go to Japan since I was five,” says O’Neil of a trip planned for March. “We worked with various brands and partners along the way and unfortunately had to cancel everything.”

Because bloggers’ incomes depend on website visits and affiliate sales, some have seen 95 percent traffic declines in this space.

“All traffic is really low,” says O’Neil. “Everyone has tremendous losses as a result – it’s debilitating for some of them.”

Time to come home

O’Neil’s blogger and friend, Ayngelina Brogan, recently took a trip herself – a trip home. Brogan has been a Nova Scotian resident in Cuba for years and took a break from her food-focused travel blog Bacon is Magic to return home while she still could. She too was badly hit.

“I’ve sponsored content that was originally intended for fun groups and families. Those things are not suitable for sharing right now, so I’ve put a number of projects on hold,” says Brogan. “In terms of partners and people booking hotels and trips, they don’t currently do so, so income is zero.”

Ayngelina Brogan in Gibraltar.  - SaltwireAyngelina Brogan in Gibraltar. – Saltwire

Brogan’s ad revenue has fallen 75 percent since December.

“There is nothing that you cannot go through,” says Brogan, who will likely cancel a trip to Nicaragua planned for April. “I’ve already started building my business so when people are ready to travel again I can try to reverse some of the economic impact and revenue I’ve lost during that time.”

Brogan says she made the decision to return out of rationality versus fear, as the Cuban media does not focus on the COVID-19 pandemic like the North American media does. After years of building a life and a very successful blog, coming back was not an easy decision. Leaving friends behind was hard, but she knew she had made the right decision.

“My only answer to her is that I will come back when it is safe to come back. I don’t want to be irresponsible and come back too early, ”says Brogan.

What next?

While both bloggers seek refuge from the state of the world through social distancing and self-quarantine, they say they will be some of the first to get back on the passenger train.

“I think the tourism boards will try to get us to work with them even more than normal,” says O’Neil, who notes that she is now working on a blog showcasing Nova Scotia’s beauty and local treasures.

Brogan says she knows better days are ahead.

“So many of us talk about the economic impact, and it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself – I actually feel pretty happy,” says Brogan. “It’s going to be a tough time, but it’s hard to complain when people lose their lives about it. We need to put things in perspective – health over money.”

Brandon Young is a Halifax-based freelance writer.


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