How did travel blogs go from listing the best pub crawls in Edinburgh to providing digital nomads with extensive information about visa applications, filing taxes, and insurance guides?
Because the pandemic has affected nearly every industry from healthcare to travel, people are looking for online resources to help them navigate these ever-changing systems. They find accessible information like “6 tips on how to travel safely with children during covid” or “7 Essentials to Pack for a Workation: Make It Productive & Enjoyable” from blogs instead of reading articles from government pages which might not provide the same information in an easy to understand language.
The shift from standard sight-seeing lists to detailed guides on how to travel safely or get new a visa for digital nomads is a clear move away from where travel blogs originally started.
The first travel blog
How were travel blogs started and who was the first person to sit down and write a blog post?
It began in January 1994 when Jeff Greenwald published his first blog post from a “portable laptop” (how fancy). He was initially a travel journalist but felt like a fraud because he only had to get on a plane, sip a few cocktails, and land, as he said in an interview with the BBC.
Because he thought airplanes made things too easy, he decided to travel the world without their help and pitched these anti-airplane travel plans as a book. When the website GNN heard about his endeavor, they asked him to write down his experiences and publish them online.
After the success of these blog posts, others began writing about their experiences abroad as well — offering more information about where people can find the best local restaurants to secret hikes just outside the city.
The evolution of travel blogging
We’ve come a long way from Jeff’s first post, thanks to companies like WordPress and Typepad founded in the early 2000s. With their platforms, blogging became more straightforward for those without a tech background who needed things like moveable modules to edit posts and a user interface that was decent enough to navigate intuitively.
These changes made it easier for people to begin going to the internet to publish stories about their lives. Blogging genres like mommy blogs, travel blogs, adoption blogs, and more began to surface with widespread audiences looking for the information they provided. The demand for more content only grew as more and more people got computers and went on the internet.
And, these blogs have also evolved from long articles to videos. Video blogging along with social media updates have given rise to an entirely new format of blogging. In a timeline released by Notre Dame University, video blogging became popular after the mid-2000s. It was followed by blogging platforms like LinkedIn’s Pulse and Medium taking over a majority of traffic.
Travel blogs during the pandemic
When the pandemic hit, a lot of travel bloggers were also locked down without a way to safely move from country to country as they always had. This problem was solved as work from home orders followed, granting people with desk jobs the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.
This group of people began looking through the archives of travel blogs for different countries to work from, how to get there, what phrases are the most useful when living abroad, among other things. Digital nomads began picking up their computers and going to other countries to be “locked down” near beautiful beaches, forests, and mountains.
Governments in Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, and Estonia each saw a chance to bring highly-skilled professionals to their countries as guests under new digital nomad visas (more countries listed in this blog post). While business travel halted to a bare minimum that is expected to never fully recover, digital nomads have created an entirely new category of travelers similar to the lifestyles of travel bloggers.
How have articles changed to match this shift?
When travel blogs first started, the articles were more like personal accounts of traveling for people who didn’t have the time or financial resources to travel themselves. Because of travel blogs, cities like Barcelona and Venice have become must-visit cities on many people’s bucket lists. The same trend will most likely happen for countries accepting digital nomads.
Digital nomads are looking for that “home away from home” feeling that only hardened world travelers had experienced, so the articles needed to be more than simple lists of which cities to go to, which free tours are available, and where the best “hole in the wall” restaurants are.
The guides began talking about visa applications, documents, how to get an embassy appointment during the pandemic, and how to complete a successful visa interview as a digital nomad. They included resources on finding an apartment or moving successfully from the Southern and Western hemispheres to strategically avoid covid waves and get the most out of an unending summer.
From full-time work-from-home employees, digital nomads began to take on similar jobbing styles that bloggers like our friend Rodrigo at Out of Your Comfort Zone did to earn enough money to keep traveling, as he explained during an interview. Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to live in Peru while remotely freelancing for a New York company?
Amazing, but what does this have to do with insurance?
Glad you asked. As digital nomads move, they are beginning to use different types of insurance like expat health insurance instead of travel insurance. If someone is planning to become a digital nomad for a few years, but also wants to get pregnant, this means they’ll need entirely different insurance to match that lifestyle.
This is how blogs like Out of Your Comfort Zone and Feather have come together to help these new digital nomads navigate foreign healthcare systems. While Out of Your Comfort Zone provides visa and travel guides for dozens of countries, including Germany, at Feather, we take on individual insurance applications and translate the documents into English to make them more accessible for everyone.
Whether you’re new digital nomad based in Europe for the summer, and you need health insurance to cover you, or you’ve decided to make Germany your new home, we’ve got you covered.
What plans work for digital nomads then?
If you’re based in Germany and want to apply for health insurance, we recommend expat health insurance until you’re sure you want to live in Germany. You also don’t need to worry about a gap of insurance once you do decide since we’ve included an option in your Feather account to upgrade to private or public health insurance. This happens automatically on the date specified in your request without paying extra fees or having a coverage gap.
Another plan that you might be interested in is life insurance. With our current plan, you have to be in Germany to qualify, but you can take it with you anywhere in the world after you’re signed up. And, the great thing about our life insurance plan is that everything is digital — meaning your beneficiaries can claim benefits online without having to come to Germany.