October 2019 Valerie & Valise Income Report

October is a big month ’round these parts: it’s my blogiversary month! As of October 2019, I’ve been blogging for six years! I wrote a post about it already, and I encourage you to take a look if you’re keen to see some of my thoughts on the industry and how it has changed since I was a wee blogger back in 2013. This post will follow my standard monthly template.


  • Travel: 👌🏻
  • Blogging: 😭
  • Business: 💩

Travel in October

From a travel perspective, October was a pretty reasonable month, as I spent about 40% of the month on the road. But it was perhaps unbalanced by the fact that we moved mid-month onto our houseboat and then left for nearly two weeks on the road straight. If there’s one thing I’m learning in 2019, it’s that finding consistent balance as a travel professional is really hard.

  • Destinations Visited: 3
    • San Jose, California
    • London, England
    • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Flights Taken: 5
  • Days on the Road: 13 out of 31 (42%)

October Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in October was… visiting the historic (and beautiful) Lick Observatory in San Jose, spending the day at The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour outside London,… or seeing Tim Burton at his own exhibit at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. It was a month of “bleisure” travel – and I had a lot of fun as a result!

The worst travel experience I had in October was… all the anxiety about Whim while traveling. Moving onto a houseboat is an adventure in itself, but the insane wind and wildfires in California made me quite nervous to leave home. Is that what home ownership is all about? Being nervous about your home while you’re gone?

(New this month!) My October travel highlight from years past was… visiting Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in 2018. This time last year, I was living my best astronaut life.

Blogging in October

Honestly, this has been one of the hardest months of blogging in my entire six-year blogging career. While I was delighted to celebrate my sixth blogiversary in the mid-month, by the end of the month I was feeling as discouraged as I have in years past when I’ve felt the need to take a break.

Google has made at least a half-dozen wide-sweeping algorithmic changes in the past eight weeks, and it has hit most bloggers quite hard – myself included. The only thing we can do is continue creating high-quality content and hope for future rewards – so that’s what I’ll do!

  • Pageviews: 66,031 (↓7% from September, ↑219% from October 2018)
  • Unique Visitors: 57,254
  • Traffic Breakdown by Sessions*:
    • Organic: 41,009 (78%)
    • Social: 5,550 (12%)
    • Direct: 3,984 (9%)
    • Referral: 583 (1%)
    • Email: 152 (0.3%)

*These numbers will not add up to pageviews, but is a more accurate representation of how I acquired traffic.

Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in October was… sharing some really fun stories I hadn’t originally planned but remind me of why I love blogging. Putting together resources that I feel only I can share to help inspire fellow travelers is why I do this… not for the stats.

The lowlight of blogging in October was… traffic. Let’s move on.

Business in October

As I’ve mentioned in months past, traffic and income go hand in hand – so it’s no surprise that when my traffic struggles, my income struggles as well. This month is no exception, so I’ve been considering how I can diversify my income better going forward (including freelance writing and products) to help insulate myself against Google wiggles.

Income Report

  • Advertising income: $1,609
  • Affiliate income: $1,128
  • Product income: $6
  • Other income: $500

Total income for September 2019: $3,243 (↓11% from September)
Months I’ve been blogging: 73*

*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 October was… marking my business successes as part of my Blogiversary post. I was quite surprised to learn I’ve made what people would consider a full-time salary in some parts of the country from this blog (over $37,000). I feel grateful that my hard work (which, to be honest, has been way more than a full-time job) has been able to support my life and travel costs.

The business lowlight for October was… income. This month’s income was almost half of my income in July after I adjusted a few line items for the year. So given my traffic is only down about 30% – my income is down way, way more. I hope this returns to live-able levels in January!

Upcoming in November

November has turned out to be a quite busy month for travel! I’m currently writing this post from a pub in Ireland where I’ll be for the first few days of the month. I also have trips planned to Seattle (wedding dress shopping!) and the Bahamas (as part of a cruise with Norwegian).

For blogging, I’m taking my foot off the pedal a bit. I had planned a really aggressive posting schedule originally; following my traffic struggles I decided to reprioritize and also adjust down so that I wouldn’t be pushing so hard while on the road. While my 2019 mantra was ‘Reach,’ I’m trying to consider my 2018 word (‘Balance’) as well.

Do you have any travel plans in November? Questions about this month’s report? 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.

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