$5 packing secret saving travellers hundreds
Planning your holiday wardrobe can be almost as incapacitating as starting Game of Thrones.
While practical pieces you can mix and match is every travel expert's go-to, you also have the chance to become anyone you want to be while strolling those Italian cobblestone laneways, eating gelato. Of course I wear headscarves at home, you'll say! Sequins at breakfast? Why not!
It's the attitude beauty maven and author Zoë Foster Blake uses when packing for a trip and one I wholeheartedly admire.
"I put it in the same category as 'dress for the job you want, not the job you have' except that it's more, 'dress for the place you're in, not the one you came from,'" she once told Expedia. No matter where she travels, Zoë always saves space in the suitcase for statement accessories - and red lippie - to adopt her more "flamboyant, fruity" personality overseas. And she's not alone.
Over a quarter of Aussies now pack with social media in mind, spending close to five hours prepping their holiday wardrobe, according to Booking.com.
Their recent research showed 39 per cent of people admit to wanting to look their best in holiday snaps (for Gen Z, it's more like 63 per cent) while a, slightly alarming, 32 per cent of Australian travellers say taking photos for social media is actually what they look forward to the most about going on holiday.
But while squirrelling on-trend swimsuits for a Hawaiian beach break or packing the faux fur for that captain's dinner on your next cruise is fun, one fifth (19 per cent) of global travellers feel pressure to buy new clothes after seeing other people's holiday photos on social media.
After complimenting an American friend I met in Mexico on yet another fabulous dress at dinner one night, she let me in on her little secret: she rented it.
Alli swears by Rent the Runway for giving her wardrobe the boost it needs right before packing time.
"I like to have 'special' pieces for a trip, as in something I haven't already worn a million times. It makes the trip feel more special," she says.
The US-based clothing rental service, which sadly doesn't ship internationally, has dresses and accessories to rent from as little as $5 for four days, saving you from splurging on pieces you might only wear once or twice.
In Oz, the increasing number of rental options include Her Wardrobe, Your Closet, GlamCorner and Runway Closet. While the range is more limited, you can rent pieces such as a Camilla dress for $150 versus paying $650 retail means you'll save precious holiday spending money.
My friend Alli also rented a luxe leather jacket that she ended up wearing every day in Paris. "I don't have $2000 to spend on something that would sit in my closet for six months of the year so renting is a great option," she says. "But I also don't want to stick out like a tourist, so the jacket was practical and made me feel stylish."
The other benefit of renting? Seasonality ain't a thing. So instead of facing a wall of mustard mohair at Zara when all you want is a white linen dress, you can hop online and order your summer (fashion) fling.
When I'm in a new city, I love snooping through local op shops for one-off pieces that won't break the budget - suede pencil skirt from Porto, €18; vintage tee from California, $25 - and have the added value of nostalgia once I'm back home.
I'm of the belief if you keep it two parts practical, add a touch of holiday glam, and leave room to chameleon yourself into the local street style (should you feel inspired to), you can channel that percentage of you worried about your Insta photos, into 100 per cent loving your travels sick. Because, damn, you're on holidays! And you look fabulous.