It's a whole new year, people! I rang in 2020 at home with Elliot and Weasley (that would be my husband and my cat, respectively), sipping champagne and already working on some pretty epic travel plans for the new year.
After traveling for more than 40% of the year in 2019, I've told myself that I'll take it a bit slower in 2020… and then promptly went on to travel for half of January! Oops. Balance has never really been my strong suit (with the exception of my early teenage years when I was really good at the balance beam… but that's different).
My travels this month leaned heavily towards the business side of things, but that's actually okay since my list of blog posts to write is long enough already without a lot of new ones being added!
Here's what my month looked like:
January: The month in travel
- Countries visited: 1 – The US
- Cities visited: Paso Robles, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; New York City, NY
- Flights taken: 6
- Days spent on the road: 15
The best thing I ate: Ramen at Slupring Turtle. I went back to Ann Arbor in January, this time with Elliot. And when it's cold and snowy in a city where the sun sets by 5 p.m., there's really only one thing to do: EAT! Luckily Ann Arbor is a foodie city, so there's lots to choose from. My favorite meal on this trip was at Slurping Turtle, a super-popular Japanese spot. We had several different things, but my favorite was definitely their duck fat fried chicken ramen. YUM.
January travel highlights
Visiting a new part of California – I haven't actually spent a ton of time in California, so it was fun to visit a new part of the state this month. I flew into San Luis Obispo, spent an afternoon in Morro Bay, and then hung out in Paso Robles with some friends for a long weekend. The weather was sunny and mild the entire time, and it was a great first trip of the year.
Re-visiting Ann Arbor with Elliot – I fell in love with Ann Arbor, Michigan, on my first visit last summer. So it was so fun to return in a different season – and this time with Elliot! We ate lots of good food, went ice skating for the first time in more than a decade, went to a trivia night at a cat cafe, visited a couple museums, and overall just soaked in the charm of this quirky college town.
January travel lowlights
Coming home from NYC with the flu – It almost never fails; I go to NYC around this time every year, and almost every year come home sick! It's not surprising, though, since I'm spending days literally surrounded by other people; I know I wasn't the only one to leave the New York Times Travel Show with a bug this year. Thankfully I had no more travel plans for the rest of the month!
January on the blog(s)
Even though I was away from home for half the month, I still got a decent amount of content published! Well, on my main site, at least. January was a really good month for A Dangerous Business; in fact, traffic records were broken!
Cleveland Traveler, meanwhile, struggled a bit; I haven't published anything new yet this year, and I really need to get my butt in gear if I plan to actually continue to grow this site! Thankfully, I have lots planned for my niche site in the coming months.
A Dangerous Business traffic: 301,763 unique visitors and 423,709 pageviews
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 5,427 unique visitors and 8,458 pageviews
Most popular post: New Year, New Travels: 10 Travel Resolutions You Can Actually Keep – If you need some travel resolutions for the new year, here are 10 that are totally achievable.
Other posts published in January:
- Venice Survival Guide: Tips to Help You Love Your First Trip to Venice
- 3 Days in Scottsdale, Arizona: 3 Itineraries for 3 Different Types of Travelers
- 8 Things That Surprised Me About Traveling in Turkey (and One That Didn’t)
- How I Make Money as a Travel Blogger (updated with 2019 numbers)
January on social media
January was a weirdly good month on Instagram. Go figure. I've basically stopped caring, though, so I'm sure that's why!
Most popular post in Instagram (@dangerousbiz) – This shot from Venice. The caption about how I hate when bloggers/writers tell people they shouldn't visit certain places is worth reading, too.
View this post on Instagram
Can we talk about something I really hate? When bloggers and influencers and other “experts” tell you that you shouldn’t (or worse, *can’t*) go somewhere, especially when they’ve been there themselves. Now, don’t get me wrong: I do think promoting responsible travel is important, and in the past you’ve seen me talk about things like sustainability and overtourism and generally not being a jerk when you travel. But I’m not about people who feel it’s their right to be a gatekeeper to destinations. Let’s take Venice, for example. Between record flooding and an increasing influx of tourists, many “experts” are now saying you shouldn’t go to this Italian city at all. I don’t agree. Venice is a bucket list destination for many people. And rightly so; I've been to a lot of cities around the world, and no other city is quite like Venice. And if you still want to go to Venice, then neither I nor another travel influencer should be able to tell you you can’t. Instead of trying to be a gatekeeper to destinations I have no rights to, instead I’d rather give you tips for how to go to these places responsibly and still enjoy them. In Venice, you need to go in with realistic expectations, knowing that it likely WILL be busy and touristy at times, but that simple things like being willing to get up early and stay out late to avoid the worst of the crowds, and making an effort to explore the city beyond the major tourist hotspots can make a big difference. These tips – along with half a dozen others – are all in my latest blog post about enjoying your trip to Venice. The link’s in my profile if you want to check it out. How do YOU feel about influencers telling you that you can’t or shouldn’t visit certain touristy places?
Most popular post in Instagram (@clevelandtraveler) – No contest here; this selection of Harry Potter-themed donuts from Brewnuts was the clear favorite! Understandably.
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⚡️ Harry Potter ⚡️ fans, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! The donut wizards at @brewnuts are serving up Harry Potter-themed donuts all weekend! They have 5 themed donuts, including a Chocolate Frog donut, a Snitch donut, and even a Sorting Hat donut, where the buttercream filling will tell you which Hogwarts house you're in! I got 4 out of the 5 Harry Potter donuts today (the Magic Wand Long John was already sold out when I got there at 11 a.m.), and they're all so fun – and of course delicious! You can also get Butterbeer drinks (hot or cold lattes, or a fizzy drink that can either have alcohol or not) to go along with your magical donuts. They're serving these up all weekend (through Sunday), and while you'll want to go early in order to get all 5, they're using their magic donut-making powers to replenish the donut case with the most popular flavors throughout the day. Pictured here: 1. Chocolate Frog donut 2. The 4 Harry Potter donuts I got, including the vegan lavender Beauxbatons donut 3. Golden Snitch donut with butterbeer icing 4. My Sorting Hat donut sorted me into Ravenclaw! Which Harry Potter donut would YOU want to try?
Most popular post on Facebook – People enjoyed sharing their underrated and overrated destinations with me.
January business update
January was a good start to 2020, income-wise. There's room to grow (isn't there always?), but I'm happy with how the year started off so far.
A Dangerous Business income report:
- Advertising: $6,954.84
- Affiliates*: $4,612.46
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
I'll start sharing income info from Cleveland Traveler in another month or so!
*Curious about how I make money with affiliates? I actually have a course on that! And since you can see how much I make each month, hopefully that's proof enough that I kind of know what I'm talking about. You can check out my affiliate marketing for travel bloggers course here.
Masterminding with friends in California – My trip to Paso Robles at the beginning of the year wasn't just for fun; it was mostly for work! I met up with a handful of other blogging business owners to chat strategies, goals, and challenges for the coming year. Our self-imposed retreat was really fun, but most of all so USEFUL. I came home with a long to-do list and have already implemented some exciting changes (like, have you seen my new email newsletter?).
Speaking at the New York Times Travel Show – For the past couple of years now, I've spoken on a panel during travel trade day of the New York Times Travel Show. This year I spoke on a panel about how destinations can effectively work with bloggers/influencers in today's media landscape. I think it went well – and it's always exciting to be up on stage at a big event like that!
More speaking gigs in the works – First up, I'll be speaking at TravelCon in New Orleans in May. It's going to be a great conference in a great city – and I have a coupon for you if you want to come! You can save $50 off your ticket by using code SPEAKER50. Then, in August, I'll be speaking at the inaugural Media Grits conference in Franklin, Tennessee. Both speeches will be about (can you guess?) affiliate marketing!
January was a pretty good month business-wise, so I can't complain about any lows!
Upcoming in February
I'm mostly at home in February, with the exception of one exciting trip:
Puerto Rico – Elliot and I will be escaping winter for a week and heading down to Puerto Rico towards the end of the month! After visiting for the first time in 2016, I'm excited to go back to Puerto Rico. We decided we wanted to go somewhere in the Caribbean, and I suggested Puerto Rico since the island could really use tourism dollars right now. PR is easy to visit for Americans since no passports or money exchanges are required, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the island with my favorite travel buddy.
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!