Ingrid Cudia is a writer and researcher covering travel, food, and fashion. She is part owner of a successful web development company based in Asia and has a lifestyle that allows her to travel often and work from anywhere in the world. A self-proclaimed poshpacker, Ingrid shows us how she travels around the world boasting a carefully curated capsule wardrobe of designer goods. I love her description of poshpacker: “a backpacker with more money and better clothes”. Well, she’s definitely on the money with that description! Read on to find out how this entrepreneur travels fabulous and light.
Interview with a Minimalist Poshpacker
Q: How would you describe your travel style?
I am what you might call a ‘poshpacker’ – a backpacker with more money and better clothes. I still look for great deals in flights and hotels, but I do not hesitate to splurge on experiences that are truly worth the expense, be it a $300 lunch at La Maison de la Truffe or a lounge pass during long layovers. I have also invested in designer pieces that travel well.
Don’t get me wrong—I don’t have a walk-in closet full of overpriced trends. What I have is a minimalist, well-curated selection of luxurious bags, shoes, clothes, and accessories, all of which I purchased without ever paying retail. Because each piece is a classic, it goes well with all the other pieces. This certainly makes packing much easier!
L: Her handmade leather carry-on. R: Ingrid in Monaco, with her convertible Prada handbag.
Q: Do you prefer to travel with a carryon or suitcase?
I am not a big fan of suitcases that need to be checked in. I dislike waiting by the luggage carousel, and I always worry that the airline will lose my bag.
So generally, I travel with (1) a leather carry-on, plus (2) a second bag, usually a convertible crossbody Prada purse for holding my small laptop and travel documents. I also use this second bag to carry a few silk tops and cashmere sweaters that no loner fit into my carry-on.
By sticking to clothes made of smart natural fabrics, I am able to go on month-long vacations in different weather conditions without ever needing a suitcase.
Ingrid packs some extra clothes—mostly silk and cashmere tops—in her second bag.
Q: Do you overpack or underpack?
No, never. If anything, I underpack. If I run out of outfits, I can always or head to the nearest laundry shop or even hand wash some of my silk tops in the hotel sink. Silk dries very fast and can be washed with shampoo.
Q: How do you stay stylish while you travel without access to an entire closet?
Designer bags and shoes make all the difference. They can elevate a simple shirt-and-jeans combo to a completely new level of chic. Because I typically wear clothes in somber blues, beiges, browns, and blacks, I use shoes and bags with a little more color.
I also believe in wearing tailored clothes in luxurious fabrics. They’re not only comfortable—they also look polished and do not crease. They can be sitting in a cramped bag for 18 hours and when you take them out, they still look impeccable.
For instant style, I just throw on a great-fitting jacket over whatever I am wearing. These lightweight Chanel, Valentino, and Balenciaga jackets are all going with me on my next trip.
She throws on designer jackets to instant polish to even the laziest of travel outfits.
Q: What are your three must have travel essentials?
(1) My laptop because I need to check up on my company wherever I am, (2) My running shoes, because I sneak in a run in every city I visit, (3) Several hair elastics. I always seem to lose them!
Q: What trip was the most fun to dress for?
Definitely the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France, especially in the spring! The fashion there is still chic but less stuffy than what you might see in Paris. I stayed there from April to May and wore a lot of Pucci dresses and light cashmere tops paired with white shorts. The shopping in this region is quite fantastic. There are a lot of discounted designer clothes and accessories at Galeries Lafayette in Nice (Jean Médecin).
Q: What destination surprised you the most with the ways locals dressed or their type of clothing?
I would say Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t realize it was such a treasure trove of designer fashion. The city offers duty-free luxury shopping, so it is possible to snag Chanel, Pucci, Dior, Gucci, etc. at 50% off. Many tourists from the Middle East come there yearly for the July luxury sale.
Q: What’s your favorite travel outfit for flights?
I am always in tracksuits and running shoes, especially during intercontinental flights. Being a dedicated runner who trains even when on vacation, I have to wear my Brooks PureConnect shoes on the plane because they’re too bulky to put in my bag. If I am going somewhere very cold, I wear my bulkiest jacket on the plane, too, so that I don’t have to stuff it into my carry-on.
Q: What are your favorite travel accessories?
I bring a few simple, inexpensive pieces of jewelry for styling my plain tops, such as a leather bracelet reworked from an old Ferragamo belt, or a big cocktail ring for fancy dinners. They’re not too precious, so I don’t have to stress about losing them.
A designer scarf for her hair, a cocktail ring, a gold bangle, and a leather Ferragamo bracelet made from an old belt.
Q: Do you have any beauty essentials for travel?
I’m pretty low-maintenance, so I don’t wear any makeup nor do I travel with fancy hair products. My only beauty essential is my Olay facial moisturizer with sunblock.
Q: How many travel shoes do you pack and what styles?
Usually just two – my running shoes, which I also wear on the plane, a dressier pair of flats that can be used with a little black dress for a fancier event. My favorite is the classic Chanel two-tone.
Tory Burch makes excellent waterproof Reva Jelly flats at reasonable prices (around $125). They’re so easy to clean – just wipe off the dirt with a damp cloth! I also love my Prada driving loafers. I have been using them for over five years, and they softer than ever.
She uses her trusted Prada loafers for walking around the city, plus flats from Pucci and Kate Spade.
Q: What is your biggest travel fashion mistake?
I thought Paris would be colder in May, so packed wools. It was really warm when I got there, though.
Q: Do you have any travel packing tips for new travelers?
If you really want to travel light and you are heading to a city, you don’t need to bring toiletries. The hotel will provide you whatever you need, and if not, you can always go to the drugstore to pick up supplies. If you are particular about the brand of personal care items you use and want to bring your own, then invest in a travel toiletries pack, which is essentially a set of empty 100ml plastic bottles that you can fill with your favorite shampoos, lotions, and the like. This allows you to bring your toiletries in your carry-on.
Thank you for the wonderful packing tips and insight into your designer wardrobe! I feel like I need to step up my game. To find out more about Ingrid, check out her personal website: www.IngridCudia.com.
If you are interested in sharing your packing tips on TFG, you can download the interview questions and submission guidelines here.
For more traveler interviews, please read:
- Interview with World Traveler Louise Matthew
- Interview with Beach Chic Laura Bronner
- Interview With Avant-Garde Footwear Designer Chelsea Jones
- Interview With Minimalist Chic Chalsie