2019 was a great year for My Travel Scrapbook.
This is my first attempt at a year in review post. I remember seeing them on social media last year and thinking “ah I probably should have written a year in review blog post…”. So here I sit on January the first, trying to write as quickly as possible, to tell you wonderful people what we got up to last year. This post will be about our travels and the My Travel Scrapbook blog itself.
If you are short on time, here are the headlines of what we got up to in 2019!
Where did My Travel Scrapbook go in 2019?
- We explored 3 amazing countries (USA, Spain and plenty closer to home in the UK).
- We tried to maximise our weekends by visiting lots of places in the UK such as Cardiff, Oxford, Saltaire, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Northumberland, the Lake District and Yorkshire!
- We moved up to Yorkshire in March and have loved exploring this part of the country.
What happened on the My Travel Scrapbook blog in 2019?
- Whilst My Travel Scrapbook officially started at the end of 2017, then started to gain a little traffic in 2018, 2019 was the year the blog really started to grow.
- We had our best month ever on the blog with 15,800 page views!
- We made a little money through affiliate marketing.
- We had our first sponsored stay at an incredible vegan luxury apartment in York.
- My Travel Scrapbook went to a blog conference for the first time!
- We had our first viral post which you can see here.
- I became a freelance writer for two vegan lifestyle websites.
- My writing was in print in a German vegan travel magazine!
Where did we go in 2019?
In 2015, I visited 15 different countries. In 2016, we visited 16 different countries. In 2017, I moved to Shanghai in China! In 2018, I went to Thailand for the first time. Yet in 2019, in terms of ticking off new countries, I did not visit any country I had not visited before! We visited Spain, the USA and plenty of places in the UK.
We had an amazing week in Spain in June then an epic 3-week trip around the USA at the end of 2019. Whilst I had been to both the USA and Spain before, there were quite a few places in these countries that I still wanted to see.
We went to Spain and tried to have an eco-friendly trip around Andalusia. I say eco-friendly as I wanted to see if it would be possible to do the route I planned without a car. Could we just use public transport?
The answer is yes!
We started in Malaga, got the fast train to Cordoba then carried on by train to Seville. From Seville we caught a bus (which we nearly missed as the bus station was not well sign posted!) to beautiful Ronda. Then from Ronda we got on another bus to Malaga.
It was a lovely trip. I wish we had allocated more time for Cordoba as it was full of so many wonderful sites. We were also completely spell bound by Ronda and had an adventurous time climbing into the Tajo gorge down a secret via ferrata without harnesses!
There are still quite a few places I would like to visit in Spain. Especially, now I know all about these vegan hotels in Spain!
Visiting the USA
In the USA, I had had two wonderful family holidays in Florida, yet the hiker in me had been dreaming of exploring the great outdoors in South West USA for years. I have wanted to visit Yosemite since I was 12 and seeing a desert has been on my bucket list since learning about desert landforms in geography (nerd I know!). I dreamed of doing an epic American road trip when I could drive and take a few months exploring the country. We had no intentions of visiting the USA until 1 month before we jetted off!
Upon studying the expiry date on my passport, I saw I had less than 6 months until it expired! Most places require you to have at least 6 months left on your passport. The USA on the other hand does not require British citizens to have at least 6 months left. This is how our spontaneous trip to the USA materialised!
We started in San Francisco then drove to Yosemite National park. Alex fell in love with Yosemite and said it was his favourite national park we visited in the US. After Yosemite, we had a long drive down and around the Sierra mountains, as the snow had closed the mountain pass road, to Death Valley National Park. Death Valley was breath-takingly beautiful. We spent a whole day taking photos in Death Valley and stayed to watch an epic sunset at Zabriskie Point.
After Death Valley we continued Eastwards. In Utah, we hiked in Zion national park and fell into a slot canyon in Wire Pass. Then we crossed into Arizona. I was terrified at the famous Horseshoe Bend viewpoint then we walked in the snow in monument valley! After all of that exploring it was time for a well-earned break in a lovely luxury inn in Bluff.
As soon as we left Monument Valley, the weather turned. We managed to see the Grand Canyon for 5 minutes before the clouds came in. Then a snow storm trapped us in a caravan with no heating for 2 days. After escaping the snow, we arrived in Vegas where we ate soooo much great vegan food.
Our final stop was New York. We had just 3 days in New York and were able to feel a little bit Christmassy before heading back to the UK.
I have not yet written about all of our adventures in the USA yet so watch this space!
Exploring the UK
We maximised most of our weekends in the UK. After moving up to Yorkshire it was easy to explore more of this beautiful region. I spent much time wondering around the Yorkshire Dales and hiking the various fells.
You can check out some of our popular Yorkshire posts here:
- The Ultimate Yorkshire Bucket List
- Visiting the sleepy coastal village of Staithes
- Hiking up Roseberry Topping
- Spectacular Places in the Yorkshire Dales
- Yorkshire’s best hike for escaping the crowds
Being situated in the north made it easier to get up to the Lake District and Northumberland. We even stayed in a 100% vegan B&B in the Lake District which was a great base for exploring the Lake District.
We also went to Scotland for Alex’s dad’s birthday. All seven of us stayed in a gorgeous part of the Highlands which I cannot wait to write about! We also had excellent weather. Who knew November would be such a good time to visit Scotland!?
This means that for the first time ever, I visited every region of the UK in the same year (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
What happened on the blog in 2019?
Whilst My Travel Scrapbook officially started at the end of 2017, then started to gain a little traffic in 2018, 2019 was the year the blog really started to grow.
At the end of 2018 we had 2500 page views for the month of December. By October this year we had 15800 page monthly views! I have learnt much about Pinterest and SEO but still have a long way to go to reach the ultimate goal of 25000 page views. If we can reach 25000 monthly page views, we can apply for something called Mediavine, which would enable us to earn a small income from ad revenue. Whilst we were hit badly by the November Google algorithm update, traffic seems to be increasing again now the festive season is over. Hoping to smash our target of 25000 monthly page views in 2020!
I have had a few emails asking how I make money as a vegan travel blogger. My Travel Scrapbook is a part-time passion and we both have full time jobs. We did not make any money from the blog in 2018 but in 2019 we made a little bit! Not enough to break even with hosting costs but every little helps.
We are part of a few affiliate programs at the moment. We were accepted onto the booking.com affiliate program. After staying at the vegan B&B in the Lake District we also negotiated a bonus for our readers when you quote MyTravelScrapbook upon booking on Airbnb. The best affiliate program for us has been with Vegan Outfitters. They are a great company who make ethical vegan t-shirts. If you quote MYTRAVELSCRAPBOOK you will get a 10% discount of your first purchase. We have just installed a few amazon affiliate links so we will see if this becomes a source of income in the future.
In total we have made around £30 from the blog this year. Let’s see if we can beat that in 2020!
Working with amazing ethical brands and vegan companies!
As a vegan travel blogger, it is really important that we travel sustainably, wear vegan clothes and support other vegan businesses if possible! This is why it was great to work with I Should Cocoa in York. This was our first sponsored stay. Their apartment is completely cruelty-free, even the paint on the wall is vegan! We would highly recommend staying with them if you are heading to York in the near future. We also recently spoke with many vegan B&B owners in the UK to create this article about 10 vegan B&Bs in the UK.
We were also approached by a Danish company called Organic Basics. We only accept gifted products which are vegan and ethically-made. They sent me a gift voucher and I choose some wonderful vegan leggings. It is great that our blog has given us a platform to work with cool brands who are doing good things for the planet and showcase them to our readers!
Going to a blogging conference for the first time!
MyTravelScrapbook had its first press trip at WTM! This is a huge conference where travel companies, travel bloggers and other members of the travel community come together in London. I will admit that I was a little overwhelmed at the sheer size of the event. For me it was great to go and actually meet other bloggers. I met the lovely guys from the UK Travel Bloggers group, as well as bloggers, from the Travel Bloggers Club. I am still in contact with some of these bloggers today. It was nice to meet bloggers in the flesh as well! It was a very exciting couple of days and I really enjoyed some of the talks as well about the future of content creators.
Becoming a freelance writer
When I was little, I dreamed about being a writer. My blog allowed me to do that, but I had never been paid for my writing before. This changed in 2019! I wrote my first paid article which was a vegan guide to Spain for the vegan travel website Vegan Vs Travel. I am now also a freelance writer for the vegan lifestyle website Veggie Visa. You can check out my article about vegan alcohol here!
My Travel Scrapbook elsewhere
My Travel Scrapbook has been featured on a few other outlets in 2019.
I was excited to see us listed on the list of vegan travel blogs out there! We were featured in a German vegan travel magazine. You see the article here (it is in German though!). We were also interviewed about travelling as vegans for Vegtravelbuddies. Furthermore, my article about vegan travel hacks appeared on the Love the Life we Live podcast.
What will 2020 bring!?
As we are fairly spontaneous with our trips nothing is set in stone yet! Who knows where we will be based and what 2020 will bring? What I do know is that I will continue to write useful content for you all about travel, vegan food, hiking, zero-waste and photography!
If you made it this far well done! Thank you for your support and readership. We write for you so let us know if there is anything you would like to see more of in 2020 :D!