Happy New Year!
Bloggers navel gaze by nature-heck I’m documenting our home remodel week by week. But there’s something super-indulgent about year in review posts that gets under my skin. Do you really care which post from 2016 was the most popular or how many flights I flew?
So instead I thought I’d share the things I learned in 2016 in hopes you garner some value out of my successes and foibles. A few are blog based (and are overdue as I let TDM’s 5th anniversary pass without fanfare), some are miles/points/travel and others are just from taking another trip around the sun.
Things I learned in 2016: Blogging
- A decision I made early-readers first, always- was the right one in the long run. It’s meant turning down easy money but it’s also kept me sane. You won’t find me writing about pee pads anytime soon.
- This can be filed under life lessons as well: a cadre of loyal friends beats a stadium full of fair weather fans any day of the week. You help me- and each other- more than I help you.
- No one is telling readers what NOT to do- and they crave authentic advice! My post about Disney World resorts to avoid is on over 4,100 pinterest boards and has taken on life of its own.
- Miles and Points bloggers are missing a HUGE opportunity by not having a larger presence there. Pinterest even highlighted The Points Guy in its hot 100 for 2017.
- Twitter is waning as a traffic source and is going back to a straight news feed. Probably best that way.
Things I learned in 2016: Miles/Points
- BYOE is here to stay. I have a few friends going for one last ditch Hyatt mattress running exercise- but I think it’s an exercise in futility. Spend the points for upgrades when you want them- or rely on a friend to make you a guest of honor- but chasing status is going the way of the dodo.
- I’m thrilled to see other bloggers tell readers that they don’t have to chase status, but they’re about two years late to the party.
- The best tips are going underground. They have been for a while now, but “bloggers kill deals” hit a new high (sunk to a new low?) in 2016. If you have a chance to get into a group- even for a subscription- it’s worth every penny. I’m in a group that shall not be named and learn something new daily.
- If you can’t find a group, look for a happy hour or a conference. Face to face is still the best way to begin. Might I suggest Family Travel for Real Life?
- MacGyver always wins in the end.
Things I learned in 2016: Travel
- Bucket list hotels like the Hyatt Grand Martinez are worth visiting but sometimes the Holiday Inn Cannes down the street actually has a better view.
- I’m a second city girl. Marseille over the Riviera, Naples (WAY) over Rome, Osaka over Tokyo, Belfast over Dublin I could go on and on. I just prefer places where people live to cross off the list sites. It’s OK and also useful insight for future planning.
- Even better are places off the American travel radar: Pigna, Matera, Puerto Plata. I’m really looking forward to sharing new locales in Chile with you after our Camp Mom trip this summer.
- The Canary Islands were just as good the 2nd time. There will be a 3rd, soon.
- This should have been self-evident, but I realized in 2016 how much American History occurs in beach towns. Doing Yorktown and a crabfest in the same day was an unplanned highlight.
- Allianz, Allianz, Allianz. $5000 and Deal Dad’s 4 days in a Gran Canaria hospital reaffirmed NEVER to travel without proper medical insurance.
Things I learned in 2016: Life
- Your online friends are just as awesome IRL. Rich took on the FT4RL Dallas happy hour to give me some breathing room when I needed it. I traveled through Monaco and France with Arielle this summer and we had an absolute blast. Brandi and I shared Mexican pastries and got Presidential in Dallas. Haley shared not only her knowledge but a bunch of her secret stash of fastpasses with Joe, Leslie and me. So many others I have met through the blog and FT4RL have impacted my life in a positive way. Trevor…well, Trevor saved Christmas. I’ll just leave it at that.
And to sum up: You do you. Nuff said.
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