Cara Mund shares her favorite U.S. destination, her tricks for staying fresh on the road, and how many shoes you need to travel the country as Miss America.
If you’re looking for advice on planning the perfect all-American getaway, Cara Mund is your woman. Not only is Mund an avid traveler (who has visited nearly every state in the U.S.), but she’s also the reigning Miss America. (And, as she proudly noted, the very first Miss America from her home state of North Dakota.)
Mund is currently on the road, crisscrossing the nation as part of her duties as Miss America and to represent both the Make a Wish Foundation and as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network.
Travel + Leisure caught Mund, an Ivy-League graduate who will soon be heading to law school, in between flights after a visit to Children’s Miracle Network’s Orlando hospital. Mund shared her advice on staying lively while constantly on the go, and explained just how she travels with that giant crown.
T+L: How many states have you been to since being named Miss America?
Cara Mund: “I've been to 16 different states and a few locations more than once, such as New York, Washington D.C. and California. Texas a few times, too. All over, but on average I change locations every 48 hours and travel about 20,000 miles a month.”
Carry-on or checked?
“I have two suitcases. I don't have a place to call home, so I carry everything with me and my two checked bags, and then I do carry a laptop case. I also have a roller board just because I would never check the crown. I always have to put the crown in that.”
Do people ever ask you to take out the crown during a flight?
“Oh yes. They love that.”
What are your secrets to staying fresh after all that travel?
“Sleeping on the plane. I don't want to spend the time sleeping when I get [to my destination]. I often research prior to getting to my destination to see if there are easy modes of transportation between the hotels and what the top sights are. Since I do visit locations more than once, I'll make sure on each trip to do one or two of the things on my list and then the next trip I'll do the next thing. That way I manage to not be overwhelmed.”
What’s your favorite product to travel with?
“I like lots of powders. But I also love moisturizers to keep my skin fresh. I’ve been using a hydrating nutrition facial cream. I always carry with me some powder, mascara, and a little bit of eyeliner.”
How do you decide what you'd be bringing with you on your longer journeys?
“I think I'm still figuring it out. I definitely was carrying more than I needed at the beginning. But any time that I get a booking back in North Dakota and am able to switch things out, I do.
“But what I realized, too, is not having too many pairs of shoes just because that adds a lot the weight so I'll usually only carry a pair of boots, a pair of heels and a pair of open-toed heels and then some dress heels and that's all I wear.”
Are you a folder or roller?
“I'm more of a folder. With all the dresses I have, I have a better chance of not having to iron as much if I fold it.”
What has been your favorite destination so far?
“I was actually a pretty avid traveler before Miss America. I had been to 39 states and now I’m up to 42 states. The one place that really surprised me with San Antonio, Texas. I really like the Riverwalk. That’s probably my new favorite location.”
Where would you like to head next?
“As Miss America I think it would be pretty exciting to go to Hawaii just to have the opportunity to be able to represent the brand there. We have had a few Miss Americas from Hawaii, and maybe they will have another in the future.”
This interview has been condensed for clarity and length.