Monica Stott is The Travel Hack, a travel blogger from the UK with a love for adventurous travel, exotic destinations and luxury weekends away. You can find her blogging on The Travel Hack about everywhere from South Africa to India and Gambia to Wales.
She’s always searching for her next adventure and when she’s not away you’ll find her exploring London where she works as a social media specialist.
What do you always do when you travel?
I have a packing list pinned to the wall that has everything listed that I ever need. I don’t really need to follow it any more but it makes me feel much more organised if I’ve ticked everything off that list and I know I haven’t forgotten anything, especially when I have to pack in a rush.
I once forgot my passport when getting the ferry to Amsterdam so I get really stressed that I’ve forgotten something important!
What is your travel pet peeve?
I have so many pet peeves on planes. I hate it when everyone rushes to get on the plane first. Why are they rushing? It just means you have to sit in your little seat for longer. I also hate it when people stand up when the plane has landed but the doors haven’t opened. You can’t go anywhere so sit down and relax!
What is your favourite kind of trip?
Definitely adventure. I love all types of travel but it’s the adventures that you remember for a lifetime and they’re the trips that you’re still laughing about in years to come.
Best destination you have ever been to and why?
It has to be Thailand. People ask me this all the time and I wish I had something more unusual to say but Thailand has it all; beautiful beaches, great scuba diving, lovely people, delicious food, heaps of culture, loads to see and do and it’s great value too.
Where in the world offers the best value for money?
Laos is incredible value for money. Food, transport, hotels and tours are all really cheap but still high quality.
Where would you pay any money to return to?
Jamaica. I backpacked around Jamaica when I was 19 and had an incredible time but I don’t think I made the most of it. I had great fun but I don’t think I realised what an amazing and unique experience it was and I’d love to do it again.
Most people stay in 5* resorts in Jamaica and never leave the complex so it was great to backpack and hitchhike around. We stayed in beach huts and eco lodges and spent lots of time exploring waterfalls, going to reggae festivals, drinking rum and eating crazy amounts of jerk pork.
What is the best airport you have flown from and why?
Koh Samui airport in Thailand is gorgeous. It’s filled with little boutique shops with a thatched roof boulevard. They also have free drinks and cupcakes and it’s open air so you get a lovely breeze blowing through. It’s nothing like the stressful, boring airports that look the same everywhere in the world.
Do you have a tip to make any airport experience great?
Aside from getting a lounge pass, for me it’s all about relaxing. Get there early to avoid any stress, grab a coffee, find a quiet corner and curl up with a good book. I take my favourite hoody and a big scarf to use as a blanket and try to pretend I’m not surrounded by tired and irritable people.
On the plane, is there a tip you can share to make the experience better?
Pack light for the plane. I see so many people struggling on a plane with all their bags and shopping and clothes and they get all stressed trying to cram everything onboard. All you need is a bottle of water, a book and some headphones. If you’ve got an iPad or tablet, even better.
Ask the flight attendant for more pillows as soon as you sit down so you can make yourself comfortable too.
If there was one travel nightmare trip, where would it be to and what would it involve?
It would definitely involve a boat. I get terribly sea sick so just the thought of going on a boat makes me feel queasy. It would be to somewhere cold with rough seas, screaming children, hard seats, no food and horrible bathrooms.
Yep, that pretty much sounds like a nightmare trip. I actually took an 18-hour boat trip like this in Indonesia and the memory still haunts me!