Tips and tricks

Emma Willis' top holiday packing tips


Prepping for your next getaway? TV treasure Emma Willis spills the beans on how to pack for your jollies with ease...

With summer holiday season in full swing, most of us will be jetting off to far-flung, sun-dappled destinations for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. The thrill of poolside cocktails, evening beach strolls and hotel breakfast buffets might only be days away for some of you…

That said, before the fun in the sun can commence, you’ll need to pack your suitcase – something which can be time-consuming and frustrating (particularly if you’re a parent packing for an entire household).

If you’ve ever found yourself staring blankly into an empty suitcase, hoping the piles and piles of clothes in your wardrobe will somehow fight it out among themselves and magically leap in, you’re not alone.

To help lighten the load of packing and planning what to take for a summer holiday, we asked presenter and mum-of-three Emma Willis to share her holiday packing tips with us.



Emma’s first tip is not to hold back when it comes to packing. In a bid to stay beneath the maximum weight allowance, many of us scrimp on packing – only to then arrive at our destination and realise we’ve left our favourite pair of sunglasses or trousers back at home in bleary Blighty. But the TV presenter argues that it’s better to have too much and not need it than not take enough and want it.”

Providing your suitcase remains under the weight allowance, the mum-of-three recommends maximising your suitcase space as much as possible, as it’s important to have options, especially when it comes to swimwear. You’re likely to spend the bulk of your summer holiday in your bikini or swimming costume by the pool or beach, before returning to your hotel room to ready yourself for the night ahead.

This means packing swimwear that grants you enough support to move around freely, confidently and comfortably is important – something which Emma echoes:

“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.”



Half the battle when it comes to packing is identifying items that can be paired with lots of different things. Often we can arrive at a destination and realise we’ve picked tops that don’t go with bottoms and opted for a hodgepodge of colours with no real thought behind our choices. Picking what to take by colour palette can speed up the process of packing and make outfit planning on holiday a swifter process.

“I get out everything that I think I’ll need and then I edit, and then I look at it all on the bed and I go ‘right, does the colour palette work? Is it all intertwining? And can it be carried from day to night?’”



Although Emma tries to cram as much into her suitcase as possible, that doesn’t mean she’s not selective with her items.

There’s often the tendency to go overboard on packing and chuck in lots of lovely items which we’ll probably only wear once (if at all!). The mum-of-three finds herself doing the same, especially with shoes.

“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.”

Identify staple items you know you’ll wear and pack accordingly. Choose clothes and accessories appropriate for the place you’re going to and the activities you’ll be doing.

If it’s a party holiday, don’t forget evening dresses, smart shirts and comfortable shoes. If it’s a chilled-out family beach getaway, pack plenty of flip flops, casual playsuits for around the pool and a couple of pairs of smart trousers to throw on for the hotel dining hall.



Emma has described packing for the rest of her family as “the bane of my life” and manages to minimise this stress by delegating packing duties.

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. 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.”

Even if you’re a couple or friendship group going away, identifying objects you’re all going to need and deciding how to split who is taking what, is a nice way of lightening the load. Five pairs of straighteners, three hair dryers and six speakers (it can happen) are a little overkill for a week away, so assigning each of these objects to a different person’s packing list means you’ll all have more suitcase space to play around with.


We hope we’ve provided you with some useful tips for packing for your summer holiday – and if you’re in need of a little wardrobe inspiration, discover the stunning Emma Willis Collection here. If you’re not quite at the packing stage yet and instead trying to decide where to jet off to, dive into our destination guides.

Posted: 13th Aug 2019.

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