Is Being an Influencer Reason to Travel During the Pandemic?

Words by Katherine Mallett & Image by Ellie Hutchings

As we continue to endure the delights of a third national lockdown, it has become somewhat necessary to actively seek out something to have a little grumble about. Whether it be the irregular weather changes, the plight of working from home, or the national lack of Little Moons (if you know, you know), there has been lots to moan about. The latest hot topic on everyone’s lips is the issue of travelling during the pandemic, and more specifically, Influencers travelling abroad and then branding such travel as ‘essential’. 

As the UK struggles through its second month of lockdown, the strict restrictions have quickly become routine once again. A mask remains the handbag essential of the season and we all yearn to see loved ones who live just around the corner. Despite the restrictions now being considered the norm, this lockdown is no easier than the last and the winter months are most definitely taking their toll. The days seem shorter and darker than ever before and going on a walk in the rain doesn’t have the same edge to it. This means the January blues have unwelcomingly crept into February, as more people are suffering with their mental health and struggling to remain positive during a seemingly endless lockdown. On top of this, it is estimated that more than one million people have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, which makes it all the more painful when Influencers post a bikini pic abroad and persist to deem it ‘work’. 

Whilst many Influencers attempt to defend their foreign excursions by deeming it business and thus essential, numerous people have snapped back and questioned why this work cannot be done from their homes. Instagram Influencer and online trainer, Sheridan Mordew, defended her trip to Dubai when interviewed on This Morning, claiming it was necessary for her mental health and also has helped her to “motivate” her followers by completing and sharing workouts on her Instagram page. In the interview, Mordew stated that many girls have praised her for being “such an inspiration being in the sun when everyone else is stuck in the house.” With remarks such as this, it is no surprise that many viewers were quick to snap back, with one Twitter user branding her a “bare face liar” as her Instagram displays images and videos of her living it up in Dubai, a far cry from what many would deem as essential business. 

As many key workers risk so much every day to help manage and fight the virus, it is difficult to defend Influencers who claim they should be classed as essential workers and are jetting thousands of miles during a global pandemic, while everyone else struggles at home. Despite assertions of social media content being shot abroad acting as motivation, it is in many ways the antithesis of this, as it simply highlights what we don’t have and are missing out on right now. Ordinarily, followers can aspire to be like Influencers, with lavish holidays and luxury hotel rooms, but now such ideas are nothing more than a fever dream. 

An Influencer hot spot both before and during the pandemic has been Dubai, popular for its fancy restaurants, extensive shopping malls and eternal sunshine. Despite some people darting to Dubai to avoid the tight restrictions at home, new regulations have since been introduced and implemented in Dubai itself, as a result of the inevitable rise in cases. From February 2nd, new rules have been introduced that further restrict the number of people allowed at one table at a restaurant from 10 to 7, whilst distancing in gyms has been increased from 2m to 3m. The influx of visitors to Dubai for the winter holiday season and New Year celebrations has been blamed for the surge in the infection rate. Further to this, the British government has now put a halt on almost all international travel, introducing mandatory quarantine on arrival from certain ‘red list’ countries. 

There’s no doubt that the last year has been tough for everyone and therefore it is more important than ever that we look after ourselves and our mental well-being. Nonetheless, the virus is still a ‘thing’ and travelling when restrictions limit this seems careless and selfish. Don’t get me wrong, we all yearn to be lounging by a pool or posing on the beach right about now, but whether this is ‘essential’ or not is very dubious.