Travel is life to me. It’s my education. It’s my work. It’s my wellbeing. It’s my physical fitness. It’s my social activity. I’m often asked if I am tired of it, and I sincerely think that it is a part of me to my core. I feel most myself when I’m out in an unfamiliar place in the world.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dayvee Sutton.

Dayvee Sutton, based in Atlanta, GA, is the go-to national travel expert seen on networks and programs like NBC News/TODAY, CNN/HLN, The Weather Channel, Dr. Oz and more. She is an award winning Black American veteran journalist who covers adventure, culture and the environment. She hosts the adventure travel series “GO! Explore” on Local Now and “Beyond the Usual” on Amazon and is the founder of the production company Dream Network Media.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

There are old home videos from when I was 11-years-old of me exploring the Grand Canyon on a family vacation. I was learning about petrified rocks and would snap a photo of them to show my family and tell them about what I learned. So, I guess, I’ve always done this; however, I started my professional career in journalism about 20 years ago. I started in sports and have now covered a variety of different beats through several news organizations.

Can you share an interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

This is a story about when I realized the power of determination to help you achieve seemingly unattainable things. I was an entry-level freelancer at a major network in their sports department. The network had a program where full-time employees could do an exchange at the London bureau. I was very intimated, but somehow mustered up the courage to ask my boss about the possibility of me participating in the program. He practically laughed in my face. Although it was discouraging — even hurtful — it didn’t stop me. I researched the lead at the London bureau, and he said, “if you can get here, I can use you!” I ended up paying for my own flight, secured a room (a dorm at a local University), and worked as an unpaid intern. I took charge of my own destiny and worked hard every day, and eventually, it paid off! I was asked to report a story here and there. The biggest thrill was being able to cover Wimbledon!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Being a travel journalist is truly a dream job, but learning to balance travel and work is difficult. It’s a grind when you’re first starting out. You work for every byline and take every opportunity so that you can gain experience and credibility. But it doesn’t take long before you start to burn out. You never could imagine the day that you would decline an opportunity to travel, but you may eventually need to just to have time to write your stories and rest. My advice is to figure out early why a trip is worth taking (and worth the time away from home and family) and what potential stories you want to cover as your specialty. This will help you filter out when and where you are willing to go.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

The iconic Atlanta TV anchor Jovita Moore — who recently passed away from brain cancer and is missed by our community very much — was a very special mentor to me.

When I was starting out, there was a point when I became very frustrated that things were not moving forward in my career as I’d hoped. Jovita told me, “Our industry is like a club that is very hard to get into. But once you are in, you’re in. So do not give up. Keep going. Keep practicing your skills. Keep getting better.” Over the years, Jovita coached me on many different things and really helped me grow and progress. I am forever grateful for all that she poured into me.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers what innovations you see revolutionizing the travel and hospitality industries?

Everything about what Web3 is introducing is and will continue to be applicable to the travel industry. The way we travel, have experiences and pay for experiences will be integrated into this next digital age.

I’m excited for the possibilities of taking realistic tours back in time or visiting friends on the other side of the world from my home through my VR headset and paying for it all with cryptocurrency. It’s really exciting to watch unfold and I can’t wait for this next frontier of exploration based on blockchain technology.

I’m also seeing more legacy brands collaborate with each other. One example is what Clorox is doing by partnering with travel brands like Alaska Airlines, Enterprise, and United Airlines to provide best practices and disinfecting products. When companies collaborate, they have a bigger impact by combining their core audiences.

Which “pain point” do you anticipate for travelers looking ahead?

Traveling looks and feels different these days, so it is important to do your research about the news and local guidelines before taking a trip, domestically or internationally, to any destination. Being prepared can be a game changer to eliminate “pain points” before they even arise. To start, book with travel companies with flexible change and cancellation policies. Because things are changing all the time — whether at your destination, with the airlines or your own personal reasons — you want to be able to change plans at the last minute without a huge penalty.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

With that, it’s essential to have travel insurance these days. There are so many factors out of our control and travel insurance can be the resource you need in a pinch. Sure, most of the time you will not need to use it, but should you be stranded in a foreign country or need medical attention while on an island, then you’ll not only have help you can call, but it can save your budget from major unexpected costs.

As you know, COVID-19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

  • The biggest change is that, with the rise of remote working, more people are packing their laptops to take longer “workcation” trips. Whether people add a few extra days to their family vacations and grind out hours of work during the weekday and play at night or people rent a mountain or beach home for a month and work remotely from someplace better than their small city apartments. More people have tested out this lifestyle during the pandemic, and I don’t see them giving up that freedom anytime soon.
  • I also predict that more Americans will travel year-around, instead of only during the high seasons (Spring Break, Summer Break and Winter Holidays), which they were restricted to because of their jobs’ and schools’ requirements to be in person.
  • I also expect that expectations of cleanliness and personal safety will remain a priority. Travelers are keen to look for little signs that the travel company they booked with has prioritized their health and comfort. Things like being handed Clorox wipes when you board an airplane or seeing sealed stickers noting that your hotel room has been sanitized will remain beyond the pandemic.

You are a “travel insider.” How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

My perfect vacation experience always includes the sun, the sea and sand. I am a total beach person and it’s not for lounging around. I love adventures, challenging myself and playing in the ocean. So, you can take me anywhere near the water and my first question will be, “Can I jump in?”

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

Travel is life to me. It’s my education. It’s my work. It’s my wellbeing. It’s my physical fitness. It’s my social activity. I’m often asked if I am tired of it, and I sincerely think that it is a part of me to my core. I feel most myself when I’m out in an unfamiliar place in the world.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I cover adventure experiences, local culture and the environment, but it’s all under the umbrella of storytelling. And that is what I love doing. Connecting with people, cultures, traditions from all over the world and bringing those stories to audiences at home is my calling.

I am particularly passionate about doing things ethically and with integrity. As a Black woman, I have always been aware of the baseline of colonialism in my industry and, through that lens, a lot of stories of other cultures feel exploitative and disconnected. Individuals and groups of people are sometimes talked about as if they were in a museum or even a zoo. A big mission of mine is to help chip away at this, not by wagging my finger, but by showing travelers how to have ethical encounters with people, communities and even animals. I have always hoped that my approach shows the big wigs in the travel industry the value that unique points-of-view and diverse voices, like mine, bring to the table.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The issue of hunger is important to me. We have so much food waste, not only domestically in the U.S., but within the travel industry as a whole. Our portion sizes are humongous and oftentimes the leftovers are about half the meal. Yet, there are so many people who are hungry. I don’t think anyone should ever be hungry, and I think more people could contribute to organizations working to solve this issue. When I visited the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, I learned about their breadfruit project. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in tropical and subtropical regions, and breadfruit is native to the Pacific Islands and grows best in those climates. Because of this, breadfruit can potentially feed millions of hungry people all over the world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Suggested Additional Question for Medium’s Consideration: As an expert, what are your travel must-haves?

I know I already mentioned how important travel insurance is given how many factors are out of our hands! In addition, I also opt to bring the below essentials when hitting the road or skies.

  • Self-care essentials always make it in my carryon. My go-tos are headphones, an eye mask and a reusable water bottle.
  • Pack snacks! There are so many variables when traveling and you never want to be stuck without food if there’s a delay.
  • Disinfect on the go. Whether traveling by car, plane or train, I make sure to pack Clorox On-The-Go Disinfecting Wipes to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces like tray tables, arm rests and steering wheels. Clorox also has a new travel-sized Clorox Disinfecting Mist (3.4 oz), which is perfect on a range of hard and soft surfaces to kill germs on everything from the hotel TV remote to the bedding.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.