January and February 2021 Travel and Blogging Recap

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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!

Amanda on frozen Lake Erie
The thought of getting vaccinated and planning travel again makes me this happy!

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

Travel highlights

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!

Winter waterfall hikes

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.

Snowy cabin in the Smoky Mountains
Our dreamy cabin in the snow

Travel lowlights

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:

Cleveland skyline in winter
This winter drone photo is one of my favorites we've taken of Cleveland!

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:

*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:

Most popular post on Facebook: The photos I shared from my tiny house stay were the most popular, followed by this post where we talked about souvenirs and things you collect on your travels.

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.

Hand-feeding a chickadee at Brecksville Nature Center
Another cool thing I did this winter: hand-feeding birds at a local park!

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.)

Business highs

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.

Amanda in a rocking chair looking out at snow
Hard not to feel inspired after 10 days of this!

Business lows

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!

"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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10 Comments on “January and February 2021 Travel and Blogging Recap

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  1. I too am thrilled to plan travel for later in the year. Moving back to Canada, of course, mid-year and that probably counts as travel, but I’ll be doing that if the border is “open” or not.

    But I have a “real” trip to Europe planned for Sept 21st. Hoping that my friends are all vaccinated by then. All the Scandinavian countries are predicting end of June for all their people, so September/October is probably a safe bed. I had Covid in October and have had my first shot (which knocked me down for 36-48 hours) and if one reads the research I’m now as immune as it gets. I’ll get the second shot in 3 weeks so I have paper that says I’m fully vaccinated but research indicates that the second shot does nothing.

      Congrats on the vaccines! Yes, it does sound like you may only need one shot if you’ve already had COVID, but I would definitely get the second just to have the record to show, just in case. I certainly hope you’re right about Scandinavia opening up by fall! That would be excellent.

        Yeah – I’ve a friend in Toronto that is starting to get on board with the idea of meeting in Iceland for a couple of weeks and then continuing to Norway & Sweden. Travel excitement is starting to build.

    I don’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but I’m looking forward to your future travel blogs. I can’t wait to get back on the road, traveling to places while photo journaling my wildlife travels. Maybe our paths will cross some day. I’m planning a trip to Wyoming during the rutting season this year and hopefully more destinations after getting my vaccinations. On my bucket list, and perhaps you have been here, is Churchill, Manitoba Canada to photograph polar bears. Thanks for your update, I enjoyed it!

    So relatable to feel that lack of motivation and worrying about how to keep your momentum going! Very glad to read you are feeling a bit more inspired from your work-cation. Here is to hoping one day before too long we can all jet set overseas again. For now though, a road trip near home sounds really nice!

      I mean, it’s not surprising that it would be tough to keep momentum going on a travel blog when you’ve gone a year without really traveling, but I’ve been doing my best. And now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I know I can make it!

    Thank you for talking about traveling later in the year DOMESTICALLY and not internationally. As much as I’d love for people to be able to travel overseas soon – especially since it would help my blog – I think it’s too soon. We’re still so slow on the vaccinations over here, and I feel like it’s not a good idea for people to come to Europe until more people here are vaccinated. Not to mention that we’re still under lockdown in Germany and a long way from the borders opening up.

    I’m so happy for you that your site is picking up and that you’ve been earning decent money! I’m still not, but it’ll come back eventually. And I’m always super impressed with what you’ve done with your Cleveland site!

      I actually just talked to someone about this yesterday. They were asking me if I was excited about the news that everyone in the US will be able to be vaccinated by summer, and where I was planning my first trip. I was like… umm, while I’m hopeful that all of that is true, even if most Americans are vaccinated by summer, that doesn’t mean borders will open up or that people in OTHER countries will be vaccinated so quickly. I’m optimistic that domestic travel will be possible later this year, but I’m not holding my breath for anything international just yet.

      And as for my site starting to bounce back, it’s 100% due to how much US content I have on it! My strategy of splitting my travels between domestic and international has paid off, it would seem, and I’m very grateful for that!

      I don’t know about Germany, but all the Scandinavian countries are predicting that everyone will be vaccinated by the end of June. That still leaves autumn tourism. I’m hoping to be in France, Germany, Czechia and Scandinavia in late Sept & all of October.

      Some countries are already talking about opening up to fully vaccinated tourists so I’m optimistic that even if all Europeans are not vaccinated, “safe” tourists will be able to travel. Of course, the county will have to no longer be in lockdown. A place with no restaurants or museums is not *so* interesting to tourists!

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