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Sand In My Suitcase wins “Best Travel Blog” Silver award for 2015!

The Riesling bottle is empty (there was no champagne lying around). But wide smiles are still splitting our faces.

We recently learned that our blog won Silver for “Best Independent Travel Blog” in the 2015 North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) annual awards competition.

Do we care that this best travel blog honor isn’t gold?

Best Travel Blog Award

This isn’t like acting – where you audition, make the cut as one of the top two candidates for the starring role, then the director makes the final decision and it isn’t you, so you go back to waiting on tables.

No, this annual competition honors the “best of the best” in travel journalism. It’s kind of like the Oscars (or the Golden Globes?) – but for travel writing.

We’re in the company of top writers, also honored, who contribute to The New York Times, BBC Travel, National Geographic Traveler, Yahoo Travel and Travel + Leisure.

So you can understand why we’re super excited!

Best Travel Blog (Silver)? Wow! We’re in the company of great blogs

We’ve won several awards for our travel articles published in magazines and newspapers before – forgive the plug :-).

But this is the first time we’ve won a best travel blog honor.

We’re especially thrilled because the other travel blogs which snagged best travel blog awards this year are such awesome blogs, and we’re so happy to be honored along with them. 

Sincere congrats to:

We lucked out with our magazine writing too this year.

We won a Silver award for our travel feature on the fairytale Mexican town of “San Miguel de Allende” and a Finalist award for “The Temple Whisperer.”

Congrats to all the other award winners

We also want to give a warm shout-out to just some of the other award winners whose writing we love:

Carolyn Ali – Finalist, Best Travel Column (less than 250,000 circulation) for “Living the fast-car dream on the Sea-to-Sky,” Georgia Straight

Jenn Smith Nelson – Bronze, Illustrated Magazine Story for “Unplugged prairie escape in Saskatchewan,” Just For Canadian Doctors

Mary Ann Treger – Bronze, Luxury Travel Article for “Mountain majesty: Blackberry Farm,” Style magazine

Lucas Aykroyd – Finalist, Destination Travel International Magazine for “North of 60 in Nunavut,” Just for Canadian Dentists

Mindy Poder – Gold, Special Focus Article for “India, like a Beatle,” TravelAge West

Irene Levine – Finalist, Destination Travel Domestic Newspaper for “Lyon harbors the best of French cuisine,” The Chicago Tribune

Debbra Brouillette – Finalist, Cruise Article for “Stow away,” The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

Katherine Belarmino – Gold, Travel Series Online for “Swedish Lapland Travel Series,” The Travel World

Here’s the complete list of NATJA 2015 award winners.

And we’re tickled to see that one of the magazines we regularly contribute to – TravelAgeWest – won Gold for “Best Travel Journalism Website” in this most recent NATJA awards competition.

Thank you for reading our travel blog

Finally, big thanks to you – our readers – for following our travels.

We love exploring different countries and places, trying novel experiences (like snorkeling in a Mexican cenote!), meeting new people along the way – and sharing our travel tales with you.

It’s our passion, and we’re so glad to be doing this.

You can see how celebrating these awards is also a lot like the Oscars, what with all the thank you’s :-).

About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!


Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

Congratulations!! I love reading your blog and I'm not at all surprised that you won, keep up the good work!

Janice and George

Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

Thanks so much for the support and congrats.


Tuesday 16th of February 2016

This is such a great achievement, Janice! I truly think your blog deserves this recognition. It's always a pleasure reading through it and finding new and exciting travel destinations for my future plans. Hope to meet you on the road, somewhere. one of these days. Perhaps in Oxnard, in April?

Janice and George

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

Thanks so much for the kind congrats! We'd love to meet you too some day :-). Oxnard looks like a great event, but not sure we'll be able to go... (Still thinking.)

Elmer Anderson

Sunday 14th of February 2016

Wow, congratulations! That is one great achievement.


Sunday 14th of February 2016

Congratulations, Janice and George. Well deserved.

Janice and George

Sunday 14th of February 2016

Thanks so much taking the time to congratulate us - very nice :-).

Lori S.

Sunday 14th of February 2016

Congratulations to you both on this award! I've enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more. I also second Debbra's comment above - I truly appreciate your comments, shares, and support of your fellow writers/bloggers. Very inspiring and great to see. Congrats again!!

Janice and George

Sunday 14th of February 2016

You're making us blush! Thank you so much for your congrats :-).