January 2018 Travel and Blogging Recap

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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!)

Binki Cafe in NYC
Binki Cafe creations

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.

New York City from One World Observatory
Golden hour over NYC from the One World Observatory

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!

A Dangerous Business Logo
I got a new blog logo made this month, too!

Other posts published in January:

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

Most popular Instagram post: A shot from the Oculus in NYC (though this photo of me in Egypt was a close second)

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

Income report

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.)

Business highs

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!

NYT Travel Show panel
NYT Travel Show panel

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.

Business lows

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?

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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23 Comments on “January 2018 Travel and Blogging Recap

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  1. We can’t believe we’ll be in California for the Mediavine Conference NEXT WEEK! We’ve got some great sessions, swag and surprises planned! Looking forward to meeting you and hearing your feedback.
    P.S. You’re absolutely right about our ads being programmatic, which means they’re based on the viewer’s browser history. BUT, all Mediavine ads are rated PG, so if something inappropriate sneaks through please do report them and ask your readers to do the same. We’ve got a great reporting system!
    See you soon!
    ~Jenny, Mediavine Marketing Associate

      Can’t wait for the conference (and getting a peek into Google!!).

    I know I’m just repeating what others have already said, but I really like this new format! It’s interesting to see specifically what you’ve gotten up to as well as have the transparency of the actual blogging side of things!

      Seems like this new format is a winner!

    This was the first time I’ve read your blog. Such an organised and well presented article. Thanks for sharing. You’ve given me quite a few tips for my own travel blog!

      Glad to hear it – and welcome! Thanks for checking out my site.

    Really like the format of this post! Very interesting to see “behind the scenes” and get an overview of your month.

      Glad you enjoyed it! I suppose I’ll stick with this format for my monthly posts going forward!

    Such a great monthly re-cap! As a newish blogger I especially appreciate that you share your site traffic stats and business updates. It’s so inspirational and motivating. Plus the cotton candy ice-cream is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time?

      Sharing those numbers is something new I’m trying out this year, but so far people seem to like seeing them! And yes, that ice cream was so cute I almost didn’t want to eat it!

    Gotta love liberals’ hypocrisy in going on and on about “privilege” but being so ready to cash in on it (greedily) yourselves. Please remove my email from your list and apply your idealogy to your own life first, thanks

      If I knew how this comment even relates to this post, then maybe I could respond to it. As it is, please feel free to remove yourself from my list at any time – would hate to clutter your inbox with my liberal hypocrisy.

    I’m usually the opposite with my travel plans. January is probably my biggest travel month because I like winter and flights are cheaper then XD And also I like this new format better! You could also designate the “Stuff You Should Know About” name to a little section in posts like these; like put the random stuff there that doesn’t fit anywhere else like the articles with that name used to do

      Very true that it’s often cheaper to travel in the winter! Glad you like the new format of these posts. 🙂

    Definitely interested to hear what you think of the Mediavine conference, it sounds pretty cool 🙂

      The sessions all sound really great, so hopefully it all lives up to the hype!

    I like your new format of the recap! January and February are always pretty bleak months, but the look of that ice cream cheers me up quite a bit 🙂

      Glad you like it! I haven’t written a ton of personal posts lately, so I figured this could be a nice way to kind of let people “behind the curtain” every month and see what I’m up to.

    That candy floss looks amazing! Sounds like you had a great start to the year. 🙂 Although that’s a shame TBS has been sold, hopefully you find your feet pretty quick on the new site!

    P.S. if you’re seeing Mediavine, maybe question why they’re showing cock-shaped cookie cutters to me?! Bahaha, I mean, obviously that’s why I visit your site. 😉 (and no, I haven’t been looking up anything of the sort to encourage it! lol)

      Hopefully I’ll still be able to reach an audience with my courses!

      And oh dear, I’m not sure about those ads. Ads are generally served based on a combo of what your browsing/search habits are like combined with the content of the post – I can’t say I’ve seen ads like that on my site! You can always report them if you find them inappropriate!

        Ha ha, I know they’re based on browsing habits so I thought I’d better add the last part hahaha. 😉 It’s actually for a gift site, so it’s got a few “gift ideas” and err, that’s one of them. It made me chuckle anyway! 😛

    Love this recap, thanks for sharing how things went both good and not so good. I actually like this a bit more than the ‘stuff you should know about’ since you include the business updates as well. You’ll be in our neck of the woods in February over at Google, that should be a really cool experience! If you have extra time, you should try to head over to Big Basin Redwood State Park (about 45 minutes away) or with even more time, Pinnacles National Park (about an hour and a half away).

      Glad you liked the new format, Brian! I thought people might like a slightly more personal look “behind the scenes.” And thanks for the California tips! I think this will just be a super short trip since it’s a week before I’m leaving for New Zealand, but we’ll see!

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