Air Force spouse Megan Springer Chapa believes that by learning about other people and cultures, you learn a lot about yourself. As the host of Travel Radio Podcast, she takes listeners around the world, and, she said, elevates worthy voices in the tourism industry along the way.
The genesis for a podcast began when Chapa realized that people loved to hear about the trips she and her colleagues were planning for clients.
“At parties, people would say, ‘If I had known that was possible, I would not have taken my last vacation; I would rather have done that.’”
An OCONUS move in 2017 made working with clients in the states too logistically challenging, and since then, she’s focused on creating quality content for her show. It’s an effort that’s paid off as the program consistently ranks in the top 5% of podcasts in the world.
“I couldn’t find the content I wanted to hear,” she said. “I wanted an alternative.”
Each week the podcast takes listeners to a new destination or provides tips from industry insiders to help listeners maximize their travel experience. The episodes are diverse in terms of content and location and can be as exotic as the “Top three reasons to visit Scandinavia,” “India for foodies,” and “Jonesing for Japan,” or a little closer to home like “Exploring hidden destinations in Northern Michigan,” “Day trips from Boston,” and “Nashville’s music venues.”
Chapa says that with the pandemic’s impact on travel, many around the world who depend upon tourism for their livelihood are struggling. With her podcast and digital platform, she works to be intentional about lifting unique voices.
Recently, she’s worked with local guides to hold virtual tours of Iceland, Dublin, Ireland, and most recently Lima, Peru. For a nominal fee, home-bound participants can transport themselves around the globe.
Chapa says the guides are so appreciative. “I don’t know if we changed this young woman’s life in Peru but I hope we moved the needle a little bit for her and maybe altered her trajectory and encouraged her to keep going and pursue her dream in tourism.”
Looking to the future of the industry, Chapa predicts that travel will be back in full force within the next year. “Travelers want to travel. Cruisers want to cruise.”
But she cautions that travelers should expect fees and to pay for experiences, rather than try to score free opportunities.
“You’re investing in the travel ecosystem and it’s going to die away unless we support it,” she concluded.
The travel radio podcast can be found on iTunes or online at www.travelradiopodcast.com.
What makes a good podcast?
According to Chapa, a podcast has to be good storytelling and cannot be overly sales-driven. “Being likable, self-deprecating, and making your guests comfortable with an easy rapport are all key as well,” she says. “If they like you, if they like the content, they are going to listen to another episode.”
Two of her favorite interviews happen to be with fellow military spouses: Suzie Schwartz, travel professional and wife of a former Air Force chief of staff, and Dina Farmer, military spouse and autism needs travel specialist.
From riding camels in the Canary Islands to watching her son cheer during “It’s a Small World” in Disney Paris, Chapa says that helping her children discover the world serves as her travel inspiration.
Forecast for the future
Travelers should expect additional travel fees. Additionally, requirements for medical insurance may become more common. Travelers should also expect to pay for entry and exit COVID testing.
You can find this story and more in our May issue of Military Families Magazine. Download it here.