We asked Emma Willis to share her tips to help lighten the load when it comes to the family packing this Summer
Whether you’re off to a sun-dappled European destination or heading for a lazy weekend in the British countryside, the chances are you’ll need to pack a suitcase at some point this summer.
But packing can be a time-consuming affair – the one thing standing between you and a week in the sun. Mini travel essentials and scribbled checklists will no doubt clutter your floor as you battle with a suitcase that simply doesn’t want to close or a backpack that’s overflowing. We’ve all been there!
To help lighten the load, we asked presenter Emma Willis, who has recently launched her second clothing collection with retailer Next, to share her holiday packing tips.
Tip 1: Don’t leave packing to the last minute – and if you do, delegate
Although it’s best to avoid last-minute packing, many of us have ended up staring blankly into an empty suitcase hours before take-off, because work or social commitments have gotten in the way.
Failure to pack in advance can also be especially problematic if you’re a parent, as you have multiple suitcases to pack.
In a recent interview, Emma Willis admits she often feels overwhelmed before family getaways: “Packing for the whole family is the bane of my existence. It stresses me out beyond all belief…”
Her tip for minimising this stress is delegation. Her husband, musician Matt Willis, takes the reins when it comes to packing for their son, Ace, while Emma will pack for her two daughters, immediately making the whole process a lot fairer and more manageable, instead of relying on one parent to do everything.
And this transcends into their home life as well, not just vacation time:
“Even in the mornings getting the kids ready to go out, Matt says ‘I don’t know what to put the girls in’… so for the past two holidays, I’ve said ‘right, I’ll do the girls, I’ll pack them, but you have to sort out our son, that is your domain’… so now it’s split and I think that’s quite fair.”
Tip 2: Maximise your suitcase space
Don’t be afraid to fill your suitcase to the brim and really make the most of the space you’re working with. According to Emma, “it’s better to have too much and not need it than not take enough and want it”.
The mum-of-three admits she can become a little overzealous with packing – filling her case with piles and piles of clothes only to find herself wearing the same six outfits throughout the holiday. Nevertheless, she’d still rather take too much than too little.
Plus, you’ll no doubt have paid through the nose for hold luggage, so it makes sense to maximise on space and take as much as you possibly can (weight allowance permitting). Otherwise, you risk arriving at your destination having scrimped on packing, only to realise you’ve left your favourite playsuit or bikini back at home in suburbia.
Tip 3: Identify staple items and pack accordingly
But maximising on suitcase space doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be selective with what you take. Many of us have the tendency to go overboard on packing and chuck in lots of lovely items which we’ll probably only wear once (if at all!).
Emma herself is guilty of this, admitting she usually wears the same six things repeatedly. She also convinces herself she needs certain items:
“I used to always take a wedge with me on holiday because I would think ‘maybe, I just might want a heel’ – but I don’t want a heel. You don’t need a heel.”
The trick is to be honest with yourself and think about what you will actually wear and feel comfortable in, identifying key staples and packing accordingly. The presenter’s holiday must-haves include flip-flops, a nice pair of sandals and denim shorts – which she says she “won’t leave home without”.
One of her favourite pieces from her new collection is the leopard print bandeau bikini: “I like swimwear that I feel supported in. So generally I will wear a bandeau style top because the straps can come off. And a brief pant because I’ve got a long body so it evens me out.”
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