Elise Taylor’s travel writing is as irresistible and infectious as the new Passalacqua hotel she recently visited along the shores Lake Como, set in an 18th-century villa where Napoleon Bonaparte once stayed and dotted with almost-too-picturesque views of scalloped umbrellas and miles of glistening water. The Vogue senior living writer has spent her professional years reporting on the best of what is new on the cultural front. “I like to joke that I’m the only writer at Vogue who doesn’t cover fashion,” Taylor explains. “Instead, I write about interior design, society, food, and travel—the latter subject allowing me to visit hotels and places around the world.”
The New York City–based writer has spent her professional years of travel writing on a mission: to share her love of travel through a distilled lens. “Although, yes, travel writing is fun, it is something I take quite seriously. People read Vogue aspirationally, which means they’re often researching for honeymoons, engagement trips, or once-in-a-life-time adventures,” explains Taylor. “It’s my job to tell you the places that’ll live up to whatever fantasy you have. (I put it to my friend like this: On vacation, there should be no FOMO, no wondering if somewhere else is more fun, more romantic, or a better use of your money. You should be utterly content right where you are.)”
Averaging two trips per month in locales as far-flung as the Sossusvlei Desert of Namibia for nighttime stargazing and Paris for couture week, Taylor is a travel veteran who has mastered the art of packing. In the midst of summer revenge travel, there is no one I’ve been more interested to speak with about how to optimize your carry-on. Ahead, Elise Taylor weighs in on exactly what to pack in a carry-on and the four key items to skip.