The Travel Hack: How it all began

Hi and thank you for stopping by The Travel Hack!

This is my blog, my online home and the place I record my travel adventures and share my travel tips and advice.

My name is Monica, I’m 31 and I live in North Wales with my fiance, Sam, our two little boys, George (3) and Joseph (2) and our dog, Louie.


The Travel Hack is all about having experiences over ‘things’.

I live by the motto that I’d rather have a head full of memories than a house full of stuff, which is why I travel often and try to experience as much as I can.

Oh, and I have an incurable case of wanderlust!

I find ways to make travelling affordable without sacrificing incredible experiences. I’ll cut back in some areas and splash out in others. I might stay in a 5* hotel but I’ll be taking the cheapest flight to get there! Or I might splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience and stay in a hostel, eat where the locals eat and find ways to save money on my trip.

The Travel Hack began in 2009 and has evolved with me and my life. It all began as a backpacking blog while I travelled for two years through Australia and South East Asia. I then moved to London and got on the career ladder and it was all about budget weekend breaks squeezed between a hectic life! I was then a full time travel blogger and travelled here, there and everywhere! And then I moved to Wales, had children and focused on family travels and weekend breaks.

And now? Now you’ll find a mixture of all those things. I take a lot of family holidays with the kids but also take a lot of weekend breaks without them. I write about our life in Wales, running an online ‘lifestyle business’ and living the slow life.

This is what The Travel Hack is all about and I hope you enjoy reading my blog! Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years and links to summaries of my favourite posts each year.

If you’d like to keep up to date with the blog, you can sign up to my newsletter where I send out updates every two weeks.


Here’s my blogging timeline…



2009 – I finished university where I’d studied English Language and Literature at The University of Liverpool and I then set out on a backpacking adventure with Sam.

It was a spur of the moment decision to book our tickets (possibly brought on by wine) and we booked one-way tickets to Australia with a 3-month stop in Hong Kong. From Hong Kong we flew to other places in South East Asia.

We visited:

  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Laos

And then flew to Sydney to work for a few months and spend Christmas and New Year there.

Read more: How and why I started travel blogging



VW campervan in Australia

2010 – We bought an old VW camper van and drove around the entire coast of Australia.

We stopped to work on a scuba diving and fishing island on the west coast and gained our second-year visa for Australia.

Read more: How to survive living in a campervan…for a year…with a boy



2011 – We left Australia and travelled through South East Asia again on the way home.

We visited:

  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Home!

I then moved to London to complete an NCTJ in journalism and work on a start-up travel website.



^ One of my favourite trips was to Sun Peaks in Canada


2012 – This is when I started to really get into travel blogging and I realised a career in blogging would be much more exciting than a career in journalism!

I started working as a social media manager for a large travel agent and began attending lots of press trips for my blog.

My travel highlights from 2012



Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

^During a dream trip to South Africa

2013 – I quit my full time job to travel blog full time – this is when the fun really started and I was travelling 2-3 times a month.

Read more: I’m going freelance!

My travel highlights from 2013



^ Taken during an epic trip to Miami

2014 – I moved from London back to North Wales and Louie, our gorgeous fur baby, came into our lives. Oh, and I continued to travel a lot!

Read more: The real reason I got a dog

My travel highlights from 2014



2015 – Sam and I bought our first house which we renovated over a year and we had our first son, George.

Read more: The house renovation project: 8 months on




2016 – We travelled a lot with George and then had our second son, Joseph.

My travel highlights from 2016



2017 – I released a Travel Hack Cabin Case!

My travel highlights from 2017



Watergate Bay Hotel review

2018 – 2018 was the year of finding the balance between travelling, family life and running an online business. There was a lot of travel and a lot of fun, but also a lot of time spent at home in the UK and discovering some gorgeous places on my doorstep.

Read: My travel highlights from 2018


2019 – What will 2019 bring? I honestly have no idea! More family travels, more adventures and more time in Wales.




Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of the best holidays. Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!


  • January 8, 2019

    I love that I feel like I was able to “catch-up” on your whole life from the last 10 years…and what a 10 years it has been!

  • Bee
    January 8, 2019

    Honestly, if i can replicate your life when I have children (or close to it as I can!) I’ll be a happy woman. Your work / life balance seems great and I am in awe of it!
    Bee xxx

  • January 12, 2019

    I really enjoyed seeing your travel timeline and having a little roundup! I’ve only started to follow you recently and I’ve only started travelling out of the UK in the past few years. I’ve recently been to North Sweden and oh my I loved it so much! I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store for you :).

    Emily | Snippets of Emilys Life xx

  • January 14, 2019

    This is a truly inspiring post. Been traveling and writing for almost 15 years, but it’s only 3 months since I started to blog. Loved to read about the evolution of your project -and how everything moved forward in your personal life, too. Your kids are really lucky for having such a wonderful lifestyle from day one. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • January 19, 2019

    What a great anthology! Love the storyline! Keep up the amazing content! 🙂

  • sumit saini
    February 23, 2019

    I truly appreciated seeing your movement course of events and having a little gathering! I’ve just begun to tail you as of late and I’ve just begun going out of the UK in the previous couple of years. I’ve as of late been to North Sweden and gracious my I cherished it to such an extent! I’m eager to perceive what 2019 has in store for you

  • Danica Watson
    April 10, 2019

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Liz Allan
    June 6, 2019

    I really enjoyed seeing your travel timeline and having a little roundup! I’ve only started to follow you recently and I’ve only started traveling out of the UK in the past few years. Thanks for sharing ?

  • Joyce
    December 19, 2019

    In all photos you look so joyful such a great photography and i am appreciating your blog. Perfect Travel blog.


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