This is an interview with Monica Stott from The Travel Hack.
Hey, Monica. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m a travel blogger from Wales in the UK. I’m a mum with two little boys and a third baby on the way and I’ve been travel blogging for 10 years.
My blog The Travel Hack is now one of the leading travel blogs in the UK and I focus on weekend breaks and family travels.
When and why did you start The Travel Hack?
I started the blog in 2009 when I was backpacking around Asia.
At the time I wanted to be a travel journalist and I thought a blog would be a great way to hone my skills and create an online portfolio of written work when I started applying for jobs.
I’ve also always been someone who loves to write and keep a journal and take photos so it was something I loved doing so I stuck with it for years.
What kind of topics do you cover on the blog and how have they changed since you became a mom?
I started blogging about budget backpacking and being a young, carefree (and somewhat clueless) 21-year-old.
Over the years, the blog has grown-up with me, as have my followers. It’s been really nice to have a core group of readers who have been with me along the journey.
It then developed into the travel blog of a young, trainee journalist in London. I had very little money but attended plenty of press trips and the blog changed as I progressed in my career and went from a budget traveller to being slightly more luxurious.
And then four years ago I had my first son and my travel style changed again and I cover more family holidays, UK travel and shorter breaks.
Read also: Getting Paid to Travel: 5 Travel Careers You Can Start from Home
What were the turning points to growing your site and brand?
There were two main turning points to becoming a successful travel blogger.
The first was when I moved to London and started meeting lots of my fellow travel bloggers and began networking with travel PRs, brands and other content creators.
This was a really important time for me because this was when I
Being surrounded by other
The second turning point was when I had my first son and I realised the true meaning of ‘working smarter, not harder’.
I amazed myself with how productive I could be with a short space of time and I
It really helped me to focus on what was important and to not waste any time while I worked!
Read also: How This Couple Built a Top Travel Blog and Earns $10K/Month with Brand Partnerships
How did you land your first brand partnerships?
My very first brand partnership as a travel blogger occurred through knowing the ‘right people’ and it was
I met a few bloggers at some networking events and got along with them. They were friends and they’d been offered a press trip and had one extra space so they invited me along.
At the time I was kind of clueless! I didn’t have a very big following and my blog wasn’t very good so I had to ask them why they invited me. Their simple answer was that they liked me and, as they’d be spending a whole weekend with me, they wanted to ask someone they liked.
I’ve never forgotten this because it goes to show that being nice and personable and getting along with people is SO important if you want to get ahead in any industry.
When did you decide to do travel blogging full-time?
It was about six years ago and I’d begun to earn more through travel blogging than I did through my day job.
I also felt like I was missing out on a lot of opportunities because I was always stuck in work! I had to turn down lots of amazing press trips and it wasn’t long before I started to resent my ‘real job’.
My job was great but my heart was in blogging so as soon as my blogging salary matched my work salary I quit.
How do you currently make money as a travel blogger?
I have lots of income streams but my four main ones are through affiliate sales, display adverts, brand collaborations and paid press trips.
Read also: How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger: 7 Ways to Monetize Your Content
What’s your favorite blog income stream and why?
Display advertising is my
The more pageviews my blog gets, the more I earn so it really makes me strive to create the best content I can and keeps me motivated to keep producing new content
What type of content do you publish on your travel blog?
The Travel Hack is mostly made up of practical travel advice like travel hacks, destination guides, itineraries and advice on saving money.
I also publish travel journals and more personal posts about my life at home.
What do you share with your readers any time you travel to a new destination?
It really depends on the destination as everywhere is so different but I’ll always share my personal thoughts and opinions and an outline of what I did while I was away.
How do you balance traveling and blogging full-time?
They go together really well because there’s so much
What are the most life-changing places you’ve visited?
My first backpacking experience was life-changing. I went to Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and it suddenly opened my eyes to how big the world is.
But it also made me realise that, as humans, we’re all essentially the same and no matter where you go in the world you’ll find people you have something in common with.
What’s your advice for stay-at-home moms who want to make money online and travel with their family?
Don’t give up too soon. Many people launch an online business but lose their enthusiasm and give up before it gets started.
The first two years are tough because you need to work SO hard for very little reward. But if you get past the first two years it gets much easier and the rewards are so much higher!
Read also: How This Mom Blogger Grew Her Blog and Income with Pinterest
What’s next for you and the Travel Hack?
I’m expecting my third baby so there’s going to be a lot more family travel and travels around the UK coming up!