Traveling is designed to bring about excitement as opposed to stress. Sure, you have to pay an alarming amount for a taxi to the airport, get through security without your belt or a 4 oz. bottle of perfume setting off the alarms, and sit in a tube for an annoyingly long period of time (no matter how far you’re traveling). But once you actually make it to your destination, the good times should roll. There’s only one problem: If you don’t pack well, they won’t—period.
Luckily, there are experts for that. “If I am an expert in anything, I swear it’s packing,” says Monica Mendal, a writer, editor, and consultant who traded in fashion for travel about five years ago. “Growing up, my dad never let us check bags so I learned how to travel light from an early age,” she explains. “Believe it or not, it is possible to go one month with just a carry-on—and I’m a fashion girl. I love fashion!” She’d know. She’s done it plenty of times. According to Mendal, she travels for more than half of the year. “I think an easier question to answer would be how often am I home?”
To find out from the best about what to always pack for a successful travel experience, Mendal shared her tried-and-true packing list.