The beginning of the year usually gets off to a pretty slow start; I'm usually recovering from the holidays, trying to stay warm during the worst part of Ohio's winter, and starting to plan my travel for the year.
This January was no different!
January: The month in travel
January was a light travel month, as most of my Januaries tend to be. I didn't leave the country, and in fact only left Ohio once.
- Countries visited: 1 – USA
- Cities visited: 2 – Cleveland, Ohio, and New York City, New York
- Flights taken: 4 (it's tough to get a direct flight anywhere from Cleveland these days!)
The best thing I ate: So, maybe it's not the “best” thing I ate, but definitely the most memorable and Instagrammable thing: ice cream topped with whimsical cotton candy from Binki Cafe in New York City's Chinatown. The ice cream was a vanilla and red velvet mix, and I got cotton candy in the shape of a chick. (I don't usually eat ice cream because I'm mildly lactose intolerant, but I couldn't pass this up!)
The best tour I took: My mom, sister and I went on a Brooklyn pizza tour while in NYC, which included pizza from two iconic restaurants, a stop at Coney Island, and a look at several of Brooklyn's most famous neighborhoods. It was a fun half-day outing, and perfect for a multi-generational group like ours.
The most epic thing I did: I guess it would probably be watching the sun set over NYC from the One World Observatory. The views definitely qualify as epic!
January travel highlights
Girls' trip to NYC – Going to New York City with the express goal of being a tourist is always fun. I went with my mom and sister, and highlights included taking a free tour of the New York Public Library, seeing Aladdin on Broadway, going on a tour at the Tenement Museum, shopping at the largest Macy's store, taking the aforementioned pizza tour, and going up the Freedom Tower. We also mastered the subway (a first for Mom!) and saw some cool icons like Grand Central Terminal, the Oculus, and Times Square.
January travel lowlights
To be honest, I didn't really have any this month! I did have one pet peeve with the hotel we stayed at in NYC, though. The hotel (a Hampton Inn) was nice and in a great location, but the housekeeping staff not only replaced our towels every single day (even when we hung them up), but they also replaced every bar of soap in the bathroom every single day. This soap thing really irked me – I found it really wasteful since I can definitely use the same bar of soap to wash my hands for more than one day!
Do you have little hotel pet peeves like this?
January on the blog
January traffic: 178,661 unique visitors, 267,149 pageviews (I think this is my best traffic month to-date!)
Most popular post: 18 Travel Bloggers with Different Perspectives to Follow in 2018 – Travel blogging/media is not the most diverse industry out there, and it's often the same types of people (i.e. white, straight, and often male) who are promoted as the true “leaders.” In this post, I highlight 18 travel bloggers with perspectives different from mine who are rocking it in this industry. Go follow at least one of them you aren't already following!
Other posts published in January:
- 10 Ways to Travel More with Limited Vacation Time
- How to Plan a Travel-Themed Wedding That Doesn't Suck
- 8 of the Best Ancient Sites to See in Egypt
- A History-Lover's Guide to Dublin, Ireland
- 5 Things to Do in Zion National Park That Don't Involve Hiking
- How to Spend 1 Week in the Seychelles
- Can I Wear Capris in Egypt? (Or a Complete Egypt Packing Guide for Women)
An oldie but goodie (from a January past): My Night in Prison (2012) – a look at what it was like to stay at the Ottawa Jail Hostel, as well as a look at the building's spooky history. (I won a travel writing award for this post!)
January on social media
Ending my trip to New York with one of my favorite buildings to photograph: the Oculus at the World Trade Center! This transit hub/shopping center was stupid expensive to build, but it sure is impressive. I had a good week here in New York, first exploring with my mom and sister and then doing some networking at IMM and the NYT Travel Show. I even spoke on a panel today! Here’s to a great business start to 2018. 👍🏻 Do you have a favorite building to visit (or even just to look at) in NYC? 🗽
Most popular Facebook post: This post addressing Trump's comment about “sh*thole countries” and the awesome response Fodor's had to it.
Most popular Pin: My Ultimate New Zealand Bucket List pin
January business update
January was a slower month income-wise, mostly because I had two different companies that usually pay on the first of the month pay me on December 29 instead for tax purposes. But here's the breakdown of my income that did come in in January:
- Affiliate marketing: $2954.32
- Advertising: $100.00
- Social campaigns: $340.55
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
IMM and the NYT Travel Show – After a few days of sightseeing in NYC, it was time to get down to business. I attended the International Media Marketplace (IMM) and media day of the New York Times Travel Show towards the end of January. I even got invited at the last minute to speak on a panel at the NYT Travel Show about being a blogger/influencer, which was really fun!
Launching courses on Teachable – In January, I moved my travel blogging courses over to the Teachable platform. It was actually a pretty easy move, and it gave me a good excuse to edit and update all the content. It's also nice to have full control over the courses and how/where I sell and promote them now (previously they were sold through Travel Blog Success).
If you want to check these courses out, you can find them here: Bloggers, Brands, and Tourism Boards: A Guide to Successful Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers: A Beginner's Guide.
The reason that I had to move my blogging courses over to Teachable was that Travel Blog Success was sold at the end of 2017. It makes me sad because it feels a bit like the end of an era – and it's also going to be a bit more challenging to get the word out about my courses now that I don't have TBS to help promote them!
Upcoming in February
I'll be mostly sticking around Ohio again this month, prepping for some big trips later this year. But I do have one fun trip planned in February:
California – I managed to snag a last-minute ticket to the Mediavine Publisher Conference, which is taking place Feb. 28-March 2 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California! Mediavine is the ad network I use to serve up ads on my site, but the conference will be covering all sorts of blogging and business topics. Plus, it's at freaking GOOGLE, which is super exciting.
This type of monthly recap is replacing my “Stuff You Should Know About” posts. Is there anything else you'd like to see me add to these new monthly round-ups?