January 2021 Valerie & Valise Income Report

January, oh January. Normally, a month of celebration, with roaring traffic that makes up for typical income drops at the beginning of a new year.

Two years ago, I wrote “I’m delighted to share that January was an all-time great month for the blog. So many of you are new readers, I received heart-warming comments and questions, and all the hard work in the past few months is starting to pay off. 2019 is lookin’ real good right now…

Last year felt much the same, but as you might guess, 2021 is not off to as strong of a start. Read on for all the details!


  • Travel: 🙆🏻‍♀️
  • Blogging: 👩🏻‍💻
  • Business: 👩🏻‍🔬

Travel in January

After returning from Minnesota for Christmas, Mr. V and I went into a strict quarantine; while we were in it, California’s Shelter in Place order continued. I really wanted to plan a trip somewhere – anywhere – such that I even put together several itineraries (Oahu! Utah!). But, we decided to do our part, stay home, and work, work work.

(Okay, we did a few day trips once the Shelter in Place orders were starting to lift, including to Sacramento and Muir Woods.)

  • Destinations Visited: 0
  • Flights Taken: 0
  • Days on the Road: 0 out of 31 (0%)

Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in January was… n/a. We didn’t go anywhere!

The worst travel experience I had in January was… also n/a. At least no bad experiences can happen if you don’t travel!

My January travel highlight from years past was… traveling to see the Coastal Redwoods in 2018. The Redwoods are my favorite trees and it was where I first discovered the albino redwoods. When Mr. V and I went to Muir Woods at the end of this month, it reminded me how great that first trip among the giants was.

Blogging in January

To say 2020 was rough is a huge understatement; I feel so grateful that my blog actually grew compared to 2019. Unfortunately, 2021 isn’t starting out with the same momentum. While this site grew from December, travel demand is still down compared to last year. (Here’s hoping the vaccine roll-out helps that recover as the year continues!)

Posts I Published in January

Given that I didn’t travel at all, I had a very productive January! In addition to 3 new articles on Space Tourism Guide and my Harry Potter site, Follow the Butterflies, I updated 4 articles on those sites. I also launched my brand new London site: London On My Mind. You can now find all 9 of my London articles there, as well as 4 brand-new articles (so far!).

As for this site, I published a bunch of new articles here too:

And I updated my Olympic Peninsula Road Trip and Denali 2021 Summer Guide post too, just for good measure.

Don’t worry, I still have my fingers – they haven’t been worn away to nubbins yet!

Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in January was… feeling super productive and launching my fourth! site. I’m so excited to share more London stories on a site dedicated just to helping people have great trips to my favorite city.

The lowlight of blogging in January was… hitting rock bottom with some mindset issues around Instagram. I’m still working through these, but I’m hopeful that I can find a new way to work on that platform and reach new people looking for the stories I tell.

Business in January

I’ve mentioned it in past January recaps, but it always sucks that during the best traffic month of the year for most travel bloggers, the ad revenue is so low! While I still saw growth month-over-month, it was nowhere near the traffic growth I saw. Let’s look at the silver lining though, eh!

Income Report

  • Affiliate income: 52%
  • Advertising income: 37%
  • Product income: 8%
  • Blogging product/service income: 3%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 0%

Total income for January 2021:  ↑4% from December
Months I’ve been blogging: 88*

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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 January was… solid income again! I’m not sharing the raw numbers anymore, but my income has been pretty stable since October. It’s a good feeling to have a consistent amount to count on, especially for a self-employed person like me!

The business lowlight for January was… selling no new candles. I launched these back in November and have a lot of work to do to get them selling better!

Upcoming in February

Here we are, almost a week into February at the time of publishing, and my calendar is looking pretty empty. Since we aren’t under Shelter in Place anymore, Mr. V and I are looking to plan at least one short trip for a change of scenery.

How about you: how are you? (No, really – how are you?) Any fun plans coming, travel or not travel?

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.


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