A Year in the Life of a Travel Expert | 2018 In Review

Travel Expert Amy West in Cuba

2018 was another great year full of travel, adventure, personal challenges and achievements. Most importantly to me, it was full of human connections. I am so proud of all the memories we made in 2018 and the work I did as a travel expert. It was a banner year for me, with significant progress on personal goals, and some surprise journeys I’ve been so grateful for. Some of the highlights include trips to Cuba, London, Washington D.C., and Chicago as well as the creation of North Florida Influencers. I also made the leap to National T.V. this year and finished a total of 7 National News segments on travel with Fox Business, and Cheddar Big News. As is tradition for me this time of year, I like to take a look back and get the big picture of everything we accomplished in the last 365 days.

I tend to be pretty driven, and hard on myself. It can be difficult to come up for air and pat yourself on the back when you are in the thick of it all. That’s one of the reasons I love the beginning of the year when things are a little slower for me. It’s my moment to pause, be grateful, give myself some credit for all the hard work I put into the year, and move forward with future goals. So let’s take a look back at 2018, by the numbers.

Mother and daughter talking.
I enjoyed several collaborative campaigns on my blog this year including this fun blog post with Munchkin products.
Infant girl crying
This year I got a little personal on the blog with this honest piece about our approach to our kid’s birthday parties.
Travel Expert Amy West in front of Shakespeare's Globe in London
We made it to London this year and were surprised by a pop up snowstorm!
Amy West laughing on her bed in pjs
I shared some of my favorite tips for better night’s sleep with ZzzQuil
Travel Expert Amy West in front of Capitol Hill
We’ve been talking for years about visiting Washington D.C. during Cherry Blossom week. We made it just in time this year!
Amy West relaxing in an inter tube in a pool.
We had several family getaways this year including this vacation at Reunion Resort in Orlando.

Amy West and children on vacation at Reunion Resort in Orlando

#shop #cbias Liberte' Yogurt
I really enjoy Liberte’ Yogurt and had a great time collaborating with them on this fun blog post.
Travel Expert Amy West in red dress in St Augustine
We had several romantic getaways in 2018 including this stay at the Casa Monica hotel in St Augustine.
Travel Expert Amy West on Cheddar Big News
Do you watch Cheddar Big News? It’s the first “post cable” news outlet and they are doing big things!

By the Numbers….

Here’s what 2018 looked like for Amy West Travel by the numbers:

  • Blog Posts = 14

I created less Blog Posts this year as I began focusing more of my creative energy as a travel and lifestyle expert on my Instagram Posts, on camera appearances, and building my organization North Florida Influencers (see below). As a result, the blog posts I curated in 2018 focused more on quality in the form of City Guides, Personal Posts, and posts that collaborated with brands I felt added value to the lives of my readers.

  • TV Appearances = 62

Conservative Estimates put me at 62 on camera appearances. This combines the newly launched TV show I co-host, The Jacksonville Buzz, commercials I was featured in including my new spokesperson roles with Beard’s Jewelry and Larroc Dental, Vlogs I shared on Instagram, News appearances promoting my organization North Florida Influencers, and National TV spots as a travel expert with Fox Business and Cheddar Big News. I also enjoyed filming with Wander Media, a visitors information channel I work with in the region spanning from The Golden Isles of GA to St Augustine.

1 Satellite Media Tour for Visit Florida and hit more than 12 markets in one morning

22 Episodes with The Jacksonville Buzz

4 Travel Hits with Cheddar Big News

3 Travel Hits with Fox Business on Mornings with Maria

7 Stand Ups with Wander Media

6 Commercials with Beards Jewelry

2 Commercials with Lorrac Dental

13 Amy West Travel Minutes Featured on IGTV and The Jacksonville Buzz

8 Vlogs on IGTV

3 TV Interviews Promoting North Florida Influencers

Travel Expert Amy West on Fox Business
In 2018 I made the leap into the National News Circuit. Here I am on my first hit with Fox Business
  • Brand Partnerships = 25 Plus

Highlights include Urban Decay, Lily Jade, Munchkin, LA Made, Bishop + Young, Hilton, Casa Monica, Le Macaron, Image Skincare, Blade & Bow, Aero Garden, Sunuva, Lucy Love Clothing, Simon Malls, Prose, Redken, Nestle, Cabana Life, An Unlikely Pear, Tan Luxe, Krewe Sunglasses, Marineland, ZzzQuil, Rethreaded, and Le Tote just to name a few

  • Trips = 16

2 Overseas Trips (Cuba and London)

14 Domestic Trips (Including Nashville, Lexington, Orlando, multiple trips to NYC)

  • Modeling/Commercial Acting = 12

I had dozens of bookings this year for my talent work which entails commercial acting, modeling, and professional hosting. Brands I worked with included Natural Life, Dillard’s, and Things That Matter Lifestyle among others.

  • New and Notable Projects = 3

Together with 3 other creatives I launched 1 New Business – North Florida Influencers, a networking organization for Influencers in the North Florida region that now includes over 160 Influencers with a combined 2 million followers on Instagram. Much of 2018 was spent building the infrastructure, and community for NFI including it’s website.

In collaboration with I Want a Buzz Magazine I helped Launch and now co-host 1 New TV Show, The Jacksonville Buzz – a local entertainment and lifestyle tv show .

Also, new this year was my step into the National News circuit with Fox Business and Cheddar Big News where I covered travel and lifestyle topics on-air as a guest of the Networks.

I really enjoyed lending my expertise and perspectives to this amazing documentary on Influencer Marketing by local influencer Bradi Rother of StylinCafe.

Travel Expert Amy West in Influencer Documentary
Watch this to hear my perspective on Influencer Marketing
  • Freelance Outlets = 11

My opinions, research, and expertise as a travel expert could be found on these outlets this year:

Expedia,Trivago, 10Best, Fox Business, Cheddar Big News, The Jacksonville Buzz, North Florida Influencers “Working with Brands” Panel, Wander Media, Munchkin, TripAdvisor, and New 4 Jax

Travel Expert Amy West on The Jacksonville Buzz
Launching The Jacksonville Buzz has been an enriching project this year. I’m a huge fan of my co-hosts Adrienne Houghton and Grant Smith.
  • Events = 34

20 events hosted/organized for North Florida Influencers, the largest being the end of year Closet Sale with over 500 registered attendees

12 Media Events Attended

2 Conferences Attended

Launching the North Florida Influencers community with these ladies was one of the most fulfilling things I worked on in 2018.
  • Awards = 3

Bluehost Spotlight Awards Honorable Mention

Top Travel Blog in Jacksonville 

10 Best Travel Blogs in the UK You Should Follow

  • Personal/Family Achievements = 4

Although these may seem trivial, I assure you all of these landmarks were great achievements in our household.

Switched my older daughter’s school (I’ll be blogging about this soon in a new personal post)

Celebrated 14 years of marriage

Potty Trained my toddler

Home Improvements including a new roof, the addition of skylights, and interior painting

Looking Forward:

As I look forward into 2019 I am anticipating another great year, but I’m also acknowledging that I need to be more streamlined in the new year in order to sustain the multiple hats I wear.

Back to Basics

I’m inspired this year to get back to basics, focus on what I find most joy in, and return to my creative roots. I’m excited to bring more creative content for you all this year and my focus will be on growing my National News appearances and contributions as a travel expert, strengthening and expanding our efforts with North Florida Influencers, sharing more of my personal experiences and thoughts with you all, and traveling on more great adventures.

New Podcast & Community

As a creator, I’m always excited to build and launch new brands, and this year one of my most exciting new projects is all about that. I’m partnering with business coach, and SEO expert Alex Sanfilippo to launch a brand new Podcast and online community called “Creating a Brand“. Look for our content to go live this spring along with our community dedicated to growing your brand. This is going to be an epic year!

Thanks to You

Thanks for joining me along in this journey. Without you, my work as a travel expert would not be possible. You’re support, readership, and following mean the world to me. Because of your clicks, re-shares, comments, likes, and support my little space in this world wide web is able to succeed. I can’t wait for the adventures ahead of us in 2019.

Until then…

Enjoy the Journey!

xo- Amy West


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Amy and Alex with Creating a Brand
Creating a Brand Podcast will go live this spring