It felt like I had ages in between my last international trip in March and my next one in May – and yet here we are, less than 10 days away from that next big trip! 2023 is already flying.
The last couple months were busier than expected, but overall pretty great in terms of both travel and blogging. I wrapped up a cool trip overseas, took a couple short breaks within the US, and am now planning to spend 8 whole weeks in Europe this summer!
Before we dive into how insane my summer is about to be, though, let’s first look back at March and April.
March and April: The months in travel
- Countries visited: 3 – Morocco, Portugal, USA
- States visited: 2 – Washington DC and North Carolina
- Flight taken (incl. connections): 7
- Days spent on the road: 28
Having an amazing time in Morocco – I published my last monthly update when I was just a few days into my 15-day tour around Morocco with Intrepid Travel. As expected, it was an amazing tour filled with ancient sites and delicious food. Highlights of this trip to Morocco included an overnight in the Sahara, two nights in the Blue City of Chefchaouen, a day in the crazy souks of Fes, a fun tagine cooking class, and lots of interactions with local families.
My friend Ashely and I also had the BEST time. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much with someone on a trip, and we’re already planning another adventure together this summer!
Exploring the Algarve in Portugal – After Morocco, I flew to Portugal for a short visit, with the main goal being to explore the southern part of the country called the Algarve. I based myself in the town of Lagos for a few days, and had a great time exploring the cliff-top trails and golden beaches this part of Portugal is known for. (And I have a post about Lagos coming soon!)
Catching wisteria season in DC – I spent a brief weekend in Washington, DC in April. It was mostly a personal trip, but I squeezed in a day of sightseeing and staying at a swanky downtown hotel, too, because why not? Along with visiting some Smithsonian museums, I also finally made it to the beautiful gardens at Dumbarton Oaks at the tail end of wisteria season!
Visiting the Kindred Spirit Mailbox in NC – Towards the end of April, I took a quick trip down to the Brunswick Islands in North Carolina in partnership with their tourism board. Along with exploring little beach towns and eating lots of good seafood, my favorite thing was a 3-mile beach walk out to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island. People from all over write messages, notes, and confessions in journals and leave them inside this mailbox. It’s really touching, and I’m glad I made the trek.
Feeling unwell in Lisbon – I’m still unsure whether it was a bug or just being rundown after 2 weeks of really intense travel in Morocco, but I did not feel great during the couple days I spent in Lisbon, Portugal. I’d had plans of re-visiting some favorite spots in the city and taking a day trip to Sintra, but instead I mostly stayed in my hotel room. Thankfully, at least, I felt much better after 2 days, just in time to go to Lagos.
Train strikes in Portugal – Speaking of going to Lagos, I got caught up in the effects of a train strike (which are pretty common in Europe, to be fair). What should have been a cheap 4-hour train ride with one change turned into a 3-hour train ride followed by a $75 Uber ride to get me all the way to Lagos. Oh well. Far worse things could have happened!
A rental car snafu – Lastly, I had a hilarious rental car experience during my North Carolina trip. I’ll just say this: don’t book one of the “surprise” cheap car deals on a rental booking site, because even if the description makes it sound like you’re renting a small economy car, you might actually arrive to be told that the only vehicle available is a massive 4-door Dodge Ram pickup truck. Could I have driven it? Maybe. But I had a mild panic attack inside it in the lot, and opted to cancel the reservation and go rent something smaller from another company – thank goodness they had cars available! Lesson learned.
March and April on the blog(s)
While I always expect traffic to drop slightly around Spring Break in March, it usually starts rising again soon after as people start to plan their summer travels. This year, however, that doesn’t appear to be happening. I think it’s a combination of a Google algorithm update, economic concerns, and the fact that a lot of places are just already booked up this summer.
My April traffic ended much lower than I expected, but what can you do? That’s how it goes with travel blogging sometimes. I did at least get on a roll with publishing new content in the last couple of months!
A Dangerous Business traffic: 149,429 unique visitors and 203,225 pageviews in March, and 124,018 unique visitors and 172,658 pageviews in April
Most popular post: Olympic National Park in Winter: Things to Do + Tips for Visiting – This post won’t be super relevant for planning trips until next winter, but I do think it’s useful! Olympic National Park is great in the winter.
Other posts published:
I also updated a few older posts, including my always-popular post about how I make money as a travel blogger.
My Cleveland niche site, on the other hand, seems to have gotten through the Google updates unscathed, and traffic has stayed pretty steady there.
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 43,411 unique visitors and 57,491 pageviews in March; and 48,904 unique visitors and 66,973 pageviews in April
If you want to see what I’ve been up to on Cleveland Traveler lately, visit the site here.
March and April on social media
My goal of spending less time creating social content and more time writing blog posts has been fairly successful so far this year! I worked through a good chunk of my blog post backlog in March and April, while still traveling quite a bit.
It does mean that I quickly fall behind on posting social content when I’m not setting aside time regularly to edit videos, but I’ve still been keeping my Instagram Stories updated in more or less real-time.
Now that I’m forcing myself to find more balance, I want to focus on creating video content that will actually help me grow. On my Cleveland Traveler IG, I get new followers every single day from Reels without even trying. My main Instagram account has been stagnant (follower count-wise) forever, though, so I want to try some new types of videos there.
Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz): I started sharing Morocco content in March, and this photo dump from my 15-day tour was the most popular thing I shared! (This Reel about what I ate in Madrid was a close second, though.)
Most popular post on Instagram (@clevelandtraveler): Hands down, this Reel about a DIY lunchtime “food crawl” around Cleveland’s AsiaTown was my most popular post in the last couple of months!
March and April business update
Remember, I report my earnings when they hit my bank account, meaning these advertising earnings are from December and January, and the affiliate earnings are mostly from February/March travel.
These months weren’t the best for me (April, WTF?), but also not the worst – and I’m still in the process of moving over my hotel affiliates to a more regular payout system, which is taking some time.
A Dangerous Business March income report:
- Advertising: $7,865.18
- Affiliates: $6,892.1
- Course/product sales: $368.30
- Other: $1,200
A Dangerous Business April income report:
- Advertising: $7,163.93
- Affiliates: $3,877.32
- Course/product sales: $206.7
(Note that this is my income before deductions/expenses and taxes.)
On Cleveland Traveler, I got those sweet holiday ad earnings paid out, which made for a very nice March!
Cleveland Traveler March income report:
- Advertising: $4,387.82
- Social media: $96.56
Cleveland Traveler April income report:
(Note: A Dangerous Business was started in 2010, and has been monetized for more than 10 years; Cleveland Traveler was started in 2019, and has been monetized for 3 years.)
I don’t know that I have anything specific to highlight here this month!
Goodbye, social bonuses – One annoying update is that Meta ended its content bonus programs for creators on both Instagram and Facebook in March. Previously, they were offering performance-based cash bonuses for posting certain kinds of content (i.e. Reels). I wasn’t making a *ton* with these bonuses, but a couple hundred extra dollars per month was still nice (and motivated me to work more on creative social content). It’s a great reminder that you should never rely on making money from content on platforms that you don’t fully own!
Getting hit by an algorithm update – I’ve been fairly lucky with Google algorithm updates in recent years, coming through most updates to search results fairly unscathed. But an update in April definitely hit my main site, and my traffic (and ad earnings) are reflecting that accordingly with about a 20% drop. I’m doing my best not to worry too much, though, as I know things like this happen – and it’s great motivation to do a bit of housekeeping and clean-up on my site!
(But also, like, if you wanna click around a bit and read a couple extra things this month, I would not mind!)
Upcoming travel plans
May: Prague – A friend is getting married in Prague at the end of May, and Elliot and I are going to the wedding! I haven’t been to Prague for a decade, and it will be Elliot’s first time there. We’re in town for about 5 days – who has new Prague tips?
May/June: Norway! – Elliot and I decided to head to Norway after Prague. We’ll be spending time in Oslo and then the Lofoten Islands, which I’ve always wanted to visit. Stay tuned for some epic photos!
June: Undecided Europe – From Norway, I’ll most likely be spending a bit more time in Scandinavia and maybe hopping over to Estonia. And I’m planning to meet up with a friend in Slovenia mid-month. I wouldn’t be surprised if a stop in London factors in, too, because it’s hard for me to resist London.
June/July – And then I’m rounding up my time in Europe with a 2-week road trip with two friends through Scotland and Wales!
Since my blog content is often delayed, be sure to follow along on Instagram if you want to see any of these trips in real-time!