I Travel for a Living—This Easy Packing List Has Never Once Failed Me


(Image credit: Courtesy of Monica Mendal)

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.

Fortunately for anyone heading out of town in the near future, 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. 


How to pack everything: "Shoes go in first and roll your clothes (don’t fold!)—that’s number one. I realize I always pack more than I end up wearing, even with a carry-on. One to two pairs of shoes, one bag, and a bunch of easy layering pieces that I can wear multiple ways always do the trick. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane. For longer trips, I try to book a combination of hotels and Airbnbs with washing machines so I can do some laundry halfway through the trip. Just remember to pack less than you think you need and leave space for souvenir shopping. You’ll thank me later!"

Shop Monica's easy packing list:

What to pack it all in: 

More editor-approved travel essentials:

Next: I Just Got Back From Aspen—9 Trends I Packed to Get the Après-Ski Look

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.