As travellers, we are wired to embrace the unfamiliar. Navigating uncharted territory, adapting to change, and making the best of every situation are what make us the adventurous life-seekers we are. When news of the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, we knew we’d have to press the pause button while learning to steer our adventures in a new direction.
Like many industries, travel and tourism are suffering greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the various restrictions that came into effect as a result. Countless aspects of our daily lives as travellers and travel-lovers have taken an unfamiliar turn. From wearing masks everywhere we go, to providing COVID-19 test results to border agents, to no longer occupying the middle seat on the plane (small win), we’ve had to ask ourselves brand new questions about health and safety on every leg of the journey.
While the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories website currently states that Canadians should avoid non-essential travel to most countries (and avoid all travel to the rest), there are many countries and regions around the world where people are free to travel at the discretion of both their country of origin and arrival, often without the need to self-isolate at their destination. For those low-risk individuals who choose to travel at this time, there are a number of safety precautions and considerations in place to protect both themselves, and the residents of the countries they’re entering.
We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Madeleine of @simply.madeleine about her recent trip to Italy. Despite some twists and turns that happened along the way, she maintained her passion for travel, and her optimistic view of the future.
Hi Madeleine! We’ve been following your travels on Instagram @simply.madeleine for a while, and we are constantly blown away by your photography and exciting adventures. Thanks for joining us for this Q&A regarding your unique experience with travelling during these unprecedented times.
“Thank you for inviting me to take part in this interview. I’m so happy to hear that you like my travels and pictures.”
As a travel influencer, you’ve likely experienced a lot of change in your life and work due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. What was your first reaction when reports of COVID-19 and travel restrictions became front page news?
“We were in French Polynesia (as a stop of our world trip) when COVID-19 hit. From one day to another everything changed – beaches were closed, a lockdown was implemented and almost all flights off the islands were canceled. Obviously, we had to cancel the rest of our world trip due to COVID-19. For me, as a travel blogger (thus, relying on the tourism industry to a great extent), it was a big shock because it affected my business a lot. But even more concerning were the global changes and health effects of COVID-19 that we’ve all experienced. We spent more than 4 months at home in Germany before we made the decision to travel again and to spend part of the summer in Italy.”
As you are currently traveling through Italy, you’re subject to different restrictions than we are here in Canada. How long have you been in Italy? As someone who has been to Italy before, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen regarding local travel in the region?
“We are traveling through Italy for almost two months in total. The biggest difference that we’ve encountered so far (next to the special rules and regulations) is the number of tourists in Italy. We’ve revisited some places that we’ve already been to in the last years and it was a completely different experience to see them without the crowds. Other than that the only differences to traveling in Italy compared to the last years are the COVID-19 measurements like temperature checks, registrations, hygiene protocols, limited booking for sights, transport, etc.”
What are some of the biggest changes and challenges that you’ve experienced during your travels in the last few months? From trip planning, to bus tickets, to general logistics…nothing is off the table!
“The biggest challenge definitely was trip planning in general. As rules and regulations may change daily it was really hard to plan anything in advance (from hotel stays to ferry tickets to tour reservations). Therefore, we had to be really flexible and tried to make reservations with free cancelations wherever possible. Also, traveling itself is different. It’s important to travel responsibly by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands and following the rules and regulations of the places that you visit. Moreover, I think that it is more important than ever to support especially the small local businesses that have been hit the hardest. I really hope that 2021 will be a better year for everyone!”