Travels with Sofia Sanchez de Betak
The style influencer and author talks about taking travel risks, detoxing her beauty routine, and her love for old-school Russian baths.
What inspired Travels with Chufy (i.e. your nickname)?
I’m overwhelmed when I’m researching a trip; there are too many opinions out there. Since my following on Instagram really likes the way I travel, I decided to kind of put all my information together and narrow it down—into the one restaurant you have to go to, the one thing to order, what room you need to stay at, it’s very specific. I’m a travel freak.
What do you love most about traveling?
For me, there’s no better way to learn about different cultures, and ways of looking at things, than traveling. How different people live their lives, how and what they eat, how they travel, what they’re inspired by… It’s fascinating to see first-hand; you can read about all this but you don’t understand until you see it.
Growing up, what’s the most memorable trip you took?
I went to Egypt and Jordan about 10 years ago. They were in the middle of a war and there was no tourism. I was 17, and I went with my mom and sister. We were women traveling on our own and felt perfectly fine. Nowadays people are avoiding certain destinations just because there was a bomb five days ago, or five years ago, but it doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. If there is a war going on in Syria, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have a problem next door. Violence can happen anywhere; here, in Paris, anywhere. People stop going to Turkey, but they don’t stop going to Paris. I try not to let my travel urge or interest be influenced by politics or wars; those are the countries that I find even more interesting.
What are your top three favorite destinations?
I think Mike’s Camp in Kiwayu, Kenya, is the most beautiful beach destination I’ve ever been to. It’s remote and isolated and it was magical. It’s just seven hours from Paris. I found it gorgeous. Five years ago there was an issue with pirates, so tourism declined. It’s sad because there were two incidents in five years, but it’s kind of the safest place to go! Compared to walking down the streets of New York or Paris.
Then Estancia Arroyo Verde in Argentina. We did one of our wedding days here, and I grew up going here on holiday. It’s a family place.
And Haze Istanbul is a house that we always stay at and we try to go every summer. It has three bedrooms and the owner caters the experience to your visit. You just feel like you have your own house. The owner takes us around shopping, to the spots that only the locals in town know.
What is your beauty routine like when traveling?
I’m a very light product person when it comes to skincare. I find that less is more. I like very simple products, and I’m always very careful with the beauty treatments I do. I mainly just apply creams and moisturizers as I have very sensitive skin. I do more stimulating massages, reflexology, or acupuncture because I like very specific things rather than just regular massages.
Do you see any beauty experts regularly?
I have a good dermatologist, Marie Serre. She’s really good; a less-is-more kind of dermatologist who I see in Paris once a year. She does a few key people in Paris and I’ve recommended her to some people who now all swear by her.
By applying all this stuff I think you lessen your natural defenses, so by just letting it be, it then becomes extremely moisturized on its own.
I did a beauty detox with her for a few months; no moisturizers or toner, or anything, for a few months. For a few months my skin was extremely dry and then it just recovered its natural ability to heal. By applying all this stuff I think you lessen your natural defenses, so by just letting it be, it then becomes extremely moisturized on its own.
What’s in your beauty black book of spas you love?
Aire, when I have the time or really need to relax. Then I have been doing a few facials at Caudalie’s new New York spa. I like the Russian baths in New York too, on 11th or 12th street in the East Village. They’re really old-school, non-fancy. I usually do a scrub. It’s nice and refreshing and there’s no pretentiousness.
What’s your go-to fitness routine?
I have a trainer that comes to your home. She’s really good at pilates and stretching. Her name is Brittany Levy. I’ve been seeing her for four years, she comes a few times a week, and she gives me a head massage that I love!
What beauty products do you pack in your suitcase?
Skinceuticals Tinted Sunscreen, Clinique Moisture Surge cream-gel is really nice, Caudalie Eau de Beauté,
and Caudalie Moisturizing Toning Lotion to remove makeup, Weleda Body Oil,
La Mer lip balm—my lips get really dry—and La Mer Lifting Eye Serum once a week or so.
Any tips for looking good after a long flight?
There’s not much you can do about it. If they say there’s a magic mask, it’s bullshit. You try to sleep on the plane.
Wear a little high heel so you walk out of the plane straighter, that always helps. Then some Chanel mascara; I wear so little makeup that when I do it really pays off. My advice is to wear less makeup and just wear it when you need it.
Favorite travel fashion accessory?
Golden Goose sneakers or a few pairs of boots that have a tiny heel. It depends on how much I need to run in between connections or if I have something important right after the plane. I have a beautiful pair of boots from Prada that just go with everything and a pair of suede Miu Miu boots that I love.
What’s next on your travel itinerary?
Lately I’ve been last minute planning. I’m going to go to Paris for a month, then Spain for Christmas, and then to our house in Majorca. I try to mix in trips to Argentina, too.
Kari Molvar is a beauty writer and backstage reporter who has covered everything from high-performance skincare to hands-on makeup applications. She started her career in beauty as a senior editor at Allure and has since written for Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and the Wall Street Journal among other print and digital publications. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two (DIY-obsessed) young daughters. Follow her @Kari_Molvar