April 2021 Valerie & Valise Income Report

Sitting down to write this recap, I looked back on last year’s numbers and my thoughts surrounding them. This time last year, we were in the first few months of what would become a years-long pandemic. It was incredibly stressful to watch the business I’d built over the past seven years evaporate overnight.

But time moves on, things change, and here we are a year later. Travel did stop – and then it slowly restarted. As predicted, there was a ton of pent-up interest in travel, especially for domestic destinations like Alaska, which I’ve written about a ton on my site. Like some bloggers, I was lucky to have a niche that benefitted from this weird year, and this month looks very different than it did last year. Let’s dive in so you can see what I mean!


  • Travel: 🧳
  • Blogging: 🥇
  • Income: 🧮

Travel in April

After a year of not traveling and then receiving our vaccines in March, Mr. V and I decided to add a few trips to our schedule this month. We also started moving from California to Ohio so wanted to make a few stops along the way instead of driving cross-country with no travel/fun mixed in.

Looking back, April feels like a month that shows the power of the vaccine – once you have it, you can start to go back to doing “normal” things like traveling. We still wore masks and did our distancing (and our tests for Hawaii) but we were actually able to go places and know we were far less likely to get sick or spread it to others.

April Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in April was… parasailing in Hawaii! Following my 40 Before 40 update on my birthday, Mr. V and I decided to splurge to knock another goal off my list. I’ll have a post about that coming soon…

The worst travel experience I had in April was… not really the worst, nor unexpected, but flying on a packed-to-the-gills flight to Hawaii. I really liked having more space on flights and it’s a bummer that part of going back to “normal” means getting used to how shitty an experience flying can be.

My April travel highlight from years past was… cruising in Hawaii with Uncruise. It’s funny that I’ve visited Hawaii twice in April – but it also makes sense since it’s still great weather and after the spring break crowds!

Blogging in April

I was excited about March‘s numbers until I saw April’s: I broke the 200k mark! I knew I’d hit this level someday, but (just like breaking 100k) it feels like I’ve really “made it” again. I know lots of blogger who’ve totally blown past this level (and I’m super curious how to make the next leap up to 300k, so I’ll be hard at work on that!) but I’m proud of how far this site has come and how far Mr. V* and I can still grow it.

*I don’t think I mentioned it a few months ago, but Mr. V now works full time on the business I started with this site. It’s employing both of us!

  • Pageviews: 207,299 (↑14% from March, ↑572% from April 2020)
  • Unique Visitors: 86%
  • Traffic Breakdown:
    • Organic: 80%
    • Social: 6%
    • Direct: 13%
    • Referral: <1%
    • Email: 1%
  • Most Popular New Post: How to Make the Most of One Day in Rocky Mountain National Park – this one killed it on Google Discover! Aided by that, it became a top 10 post for the month (but it’s now slowed way down).

Blog Posts I Published in April

Due to travel and moving, I didn’t plan to write as much in April… but you know me: once I’m seeing traffic grow, I keep snowballing it with new articles! Here’s what I published in April:

  1. How to Make the Most of One Day in Rocky Mountain National Park
  2. 11 Epic Los Angeles Road Trips to Plan Right Now
  3. 21 Intriguing Skagway Facts & Statistics
  4. How to See Alaska’s Big Five: Moose, Grizzlies & Caribou, Oh My!
  5. The 35 Best Places for Wildflowers, Sunflowers & Poppies in California
  6. The 15 Best Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise Options
  7. 15 Hot Springs in Arizona Where You Can Soak It All In

I also published several personal posts, including my 40 Before 40 update on my 34th birthday, and this post: California Photo Journal: Four Years of Exploring the Golden State. I’m particularly proud to see how much of California I explored while living there – and how many resources I was able to share to help you do the same.

April Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in April was… breaking 200k pageviews! This is a big milestone and makes me excited to keep growing.

The lowlight of blogging in April was… seeing my referral traffic drop to basically zero. I used to get a fair amount of referral traffic, but it has almost entirely disappeared in the last year. I’m not sure what could explain that, other than maybe Google Analytics has changed their tracking.

Business in April

More traffic generally means more income, except when your top affiliate (Airbnb) decides they just aren’t going to pay bloggers for all the business we were driving anymore… (Still salty about that, more in my March recap.) So while my traffic was at an all-time high, my income did not hit its own peak because I’ve been struggling to find a replacement for the income I was earning with Airbnb.

As a result, my income has flipped in terms of ‘where’ I’m earning my income – whereas affiliate earnings were becoming the lion’s share of my income breakdown (a good thing for everyone, as I only get paid there when I drive bookings/sales), this month my advertising income is back on top as my top income source (since that’s directly tied to traffic, that makes sense).

April Income Report

  • Advertising income: 67%
  • Affiliate income: 17%
  • Product income: 9%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 7%
  • Blogging product/service income: 0%

Total income for April 2021: ↓24% from March
Months I’ve been blogging: 91*

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*I share this number so you can see how long it has taken to earn this much. ‘Overnight success’ usually requires years of hard work – this blog is no exception.

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for April was… solid earnings despite the income loss from Airbnb. Even without Airbnb, it was a very healthy month. And I’m learning how to promote other companies too, like VRBO.

The business lowlight for April was… watching bookings come in on Airbnb that I deserved to be paid for. This isn’t meant to sound entitled, but if I drive a business sales from my business, that is work that deserves to be compensated. I wish Airbnb would see that and just cut their commission rates, rather than denying compensation outright.

Upcoming in May

I’m writing this recap from our new home in Cleveland, Ohio. Since we spent a lot to move cross-country (and made several stops along the way, which I’ll cover in my May recap), we’re going to tighten our belts and stick close to home for most of this month (and probably a good bit of June!).

Do you have any travel plans coming up? Are you starting to feel like you can plan again? Let me know in the comments!

Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️

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Valerie has been blogging since 2001, and has been running her oldest travel blog for a decade. You can find her across the internet on her various niche sites, but she started Site School to help fellow bloggers grow and create better content.


  • Jenn

    Woohoo! Congrats on your success and being able to bring on Mr. V full time! Looking forward to continuing to follow your journey and hope to be in the 100K+ club at some point too!

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