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Since a young age Mona Molayem, also known as Mona Corona, has been traveling around the world. Molayem thanks her parents for instilling her life-long passion for traveling, exploration, and experiencing new cultures through family vacations. She recalls some of her fondest memories being on family vacations seeing the Eiffel tower for the first time, visiting the holy sites of Jerusalem, wandering through the buzzing night markets of Hong Kong, and taking a cruise ship to Alaska.
Life Before Mona Corona
Molayem has been in the digital space for over ten years and prior to starting her blog, Mona Corona, she was working a variety of jobs including freelancing, strategy consulting, and teaching. She taught in-person digital marketing classes at a fashion college in Los Angeles and developed her classes to be fully online so she could teach from all over the world once she went full-time with her blog and travel business.
Aside from side gigs and teaching, Molayem was doing influencer work in the beauty and lifestyle space. In 2012 she got her first taste of influencer life when Sony sent her their MP3 player. Since then, her presence as an influencer and content slowly grew.
In 2017 Molayem took the leap and launched Mona Corona. She had just returned from her multi-destination honeymoon with her husband where they explored 5 countries, during which marked their 10th country explored together as a couple. The trip made Molayem realize and decide she would begin documenting her travels beyond Instagram and help others plan trips of their own. Between her multi-destination honeymoon and trips taken before, she had more than enough to write about.
Life As Mona Corona
Molayem loves getting the most out of a trip by keeping it fast-paced and jam-packing an itinerary so she can see as many different places within a destination as possible. At the peak of her travels, she would travel upward one to two times a month both domestically and abroad.
These trips consisted of quick weekend getaways or month-long trips abroad visiting multiple destinations at once. Unfortunately, the pandemic halted travel and severely impacted the travel industry as a whole during the first half leaving Molayem and many others to put a pause on travel for the time being. However, things are picking back up and hopefully sooner than later Molayem can safely continue her adventures.
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No day looks the same for Molayem except for one thing: waking up and having an iced latte. Besides an iced latte, most days have a combination of teaching/grading, shooting content, blogging/social media, working on campaigns, meeting with clients, and of course, exploring. Her hobbies are the same whether she’s at home in Los Angeles or waking up halfway across the globe. Molayem loves finding new restaurants to try and find her zen with yoga. She has been practicing yoga for almost 20 years now!
In order to prepare and plan her trips, Molayem taps into a variety of resources. Reading blogs and guidebooks along with watching YouTube videos are just a few examples. Molayem says the most important step to preparing for any trip is getting insight from locals and people who have already visited the destination she’s preparing to go to. She does this by joining local and travel-related Facebook groups. Local recommendations, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and hidden gems combined with must-do tourist attractions and local favorites create the perfect itinerary for Molayem.
We asked Molayem what her favorite destination has been to travel to so far and she couldn’t give us just one answer. How could you when you’ve seen so much of the world? Bora Bora and the French Polynesian Islands rank high on her list of favorite places because of their breathtaking beauty. Moreover, Molayem got engaged in Bora Bora so it holds a special place in her heart. She also loves South Africa for its varied landscape and amazing safaris as well as Israel for the incredible food and her personal cultural connection to the country. You can check out her Ultimate Israel Itinerary and Bora Bora VS. Maldives blogs for travel inspiration and guidance.
Reflecting on the Past Three Years
While travel was and still is a hobby for Molayem, she attributes her success to her dedication to treating her blog as a business, rather than just a hobby. Molayem dove into learning everything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing, and digital marketing for blogs and implemented these crucial business blogging practices from the start. Molayem studied Business and Communications in college and graduate school, so having a digital background and the right mindset from the beginning set her up for success.
No venture comes without a few challenges and Molayem had her fair share of bumps along the way. Molayem recalls the trips that she’s had cancelled last minute, trips she’s had offered last minute, and technical difficulties she’s encountered such as accidentally ruining her site trying to code something by herself.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that patience and flexibility are absolutely necessary traits if you want to work in the travel industry.” – Mona Molayem
Over the past three years, Molayem has found that influencer platforms such as NeoReach are helpful for partnering with brands and that there are hundreds of them out there for every type of influencer. She has personally loved working with tourism boards and hotels, her favorite so far being Tahoe South, The Last Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Looking to the Future
We asked Molayem where she hoped to see Mona Corona in 10 years and while she has ideas of what it may be, she doesn’t have a definite answer. She hopes that wherever she lands, she continues to inspire, teach, and foster a community of like-minded people.
Check out Molayems ebook, Hashtag Sponsored: How to Become an Influencer, on her Instagram which is a great resource for everything an inspiring influencer needs to know.