I don't know what things are like in your neck of the woods right now, but in mine I feel like things are finally starting to look up. I felt like a giant weight was lifted in January – and yes, I'm sure it definitely had something to do with a little event that took place on January 20, coupled with vaccines starting to roll out in earnest.
I'm cautiously optimistic that maybe we'll be able to start planning some travel for the second half of the year – hell, I might even feel comfortable enough to get on a plane again if I can manage to get my vaccine by summer!
Other than just generally being in a better mood, there's not a *ton* to tell you about, which is why I'm still doubling up months in these updates. Maybe at some point this year I'll have enough to tell you about to switch back to writing these updates monthly, but for now I'm going to continue combining them.
Here we go with the first update of 2021!
January and February: The months in travel
- Countries visited: 1 – USA
- States visited: 2 – Ohio and Tennessee
- Flights taken: 0
- Days spent on the road: 15
Taking my first solo trip in a year – I love my husband a lot, but I'm used to traveling on my own pretty frequently in “normal” years. So after a year of constant togetherness, I jumped at the chance to go stay in a tiny home on my own for a few nights. I spent 3 nights in the cutest tiny home near Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio. I went on a couple winter hikes and got some work done, and basically saw very few other people – the perfect pandemic trip!
Going on a wintry workation – Just a couple weeks after my solo getaway, I loaded up the car with an old friend of mine and we drove down to a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee for a workation. The whole point of this trip was to work from somewhere new for a while, and it was AMAZING. Our cabin was cute and cozy, with a hot tub and mountain views. We did one hike and a couple drives in the national park, and otherwise just stayed inside and got work done. Read more about it here.
No lowlights to speak of. While I technically was away for 15 days in the last 2 months, I was mostly indoors and not out actually “traveling.”
January and February on the blog(s)
I don't want to jinx it, but traffic on my main site has been starting to pick up again! I think the explosion in travel demand is coming, so long as these COVID vaccines continue to roll out and work.
I've also finally felt motivated to write and work again after my time away from home, and hope to start hitting my goal of publishing one new post a week again.
A Dangerous Business traffic: 167,918 unique visitors and 220,133 pageviews in January, and 164,495 unique visitors and 215,534 pageviews in February.
Most popular post: Expectations vs. Reality: My Top Travel Letdowns and Surprises – People always love when you spill the tea on travel destinations, and this is definitely one of those types of posts! Learn about destinations that have surprised me – for better or worse – in the last decade.
Other posts published in January or February:
- 12 Things You Probably Never Need to Pack
- Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Zion National Park in Winter
- The Perfect 10-Day Michigan Road Trip Itinerary in Fall
- 10 Tips to Help You Plan a Successful Workation
- How I Make Money as a Travel Blogger (updated for 2021)
On my niche site, Cleveland Traveler, numbers have been trending in the opposite direction. However, this was expected; after the holidays, the weather tends to suck in northeast Ohio, and a lot of people stay home (and this is extra true right now during the pandemic!).
I expect traffic numbers to start to rise again once the weather starts warming up in spring.
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 24,779 unique visitors and 35,036 pageviews in January, and 19,635 unique visitors and 27,965 pageviews in February.
Some of what was published:
- Donut Love: Where to Find the Best Donuts in Cleveland
- Get to Know Cleveland’s 23 Sister Cities All Around the World!*
- Where to Find the Best Hot Chocolate in Cleveland
- Feed Cute Birds Straight Out of Your Hand at Brecksville Nature Center
*This post was written by my friend Kat from World Wide Honeymoon, who freelances for me over on Cleveland Traveler.
January and February on social media
Social media is stressing me out more than usual lately – but mostly because most weeks I feel like I'm running out of interesting things to share!
Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz) – For yet another month, a fall photo from Michigan was the most popular on Instagram! I guess I'll have to keep peppering these into my feed.
Most popular post in Instagram (@clevelandtraveler) – This photo of me in front of a Cleveland mural I really like was the most popular in the last two months:
January and February business update
Things have been steady in the last couple months, which I am definitely not complaining about!
Affiliate income is much improved, and hopefully will continue to increase as the year goes on.
A Dangerous Business January income report:
- Advertising: $6,337.74
- Affiliates*: $1,884.18
- Other: $200
A Dangerous Business February income report:
- Advertising: $5,659.67
- Affiliates: $2,699.95
- Other: $113.32 (course sales)
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)
*Curious about how I make money with affiliates? I actually have a course on that! You can check out my affiliate marketing for travel bloggers course here.
On Cleveland Traveler, things have continued to stay pretty steady/even grow a bit as we move into 2021. This is great, and I hope at some point this year to consistently be making at least $1000 per month from this site.
Cleveland traveler January income report:
- Advertising: $682.94
Cleveland traveler February income report:
- Advertising: $982.49
- Product sales: $43.73
(Note: A Dangerous Business was started in 2010, and has been monetized for more than 7 years; Cleveland Traveler was started in 2019, and has been monetized for 1 year.)
Attending a virtual networking event – I usually travel to New York City every January for the International Media Marketplace (IMM) and the New York Times Travel Show. Obviously neither of these took place in-person in 2021, but IMM did go virtual this year. And while there were some hiccups with scheduling and the technology on Day 1, overall I felt pretty positive about getting to talk to brands and tourism reps about the possible rebound of travel later this year.
Feeling motivated again – After months of feeling sluggish and uninspired, I'm finally feeling a bit more positive about work. In fact, since going on that cabin workation, I've actually been excited about getting up to work each day. I feel like some of my creativity has returned, and I'm looking forward to working on some of the blog posts and projects that have been sitting on my to-do list for a while.
Am I running out of content? – Not gonna lie: I feel like I'm starting to run out of content ideas! I still have a list of blog posts to write (mostly from old trips that I never got around to sharing), but that list is dwindling pretty quickly! And don't even get me started on Instagram and Facebook… it's truly a struggle some weeks to figure out what to share since I'm still not actively promoting much travel. Hopefully this gets easier in the coming months!
Upcoming this spring
I don't have any concrete travel plans yet for this year, but am cautiously optimistic that enough people will be vaccinated by summer that maybe domestic travel within the US will be possible.
Elliot and I have recently talked about doing a spring road trip somewhere close by (West Virginia, maybe?) where we can focus on outdoor activities, but nothing is booked yet.
I have a long list of places I want to visit as soon as it's feasible, and maybe by the next update I'll have more exciting things to report!