Pack it in! Brits’ packing Dilemmas revealed!

Holidaymakers can call on β€˜Holiday Preps’ to help resolve packing woes!

πŸ“· No Cruise Control Β©
  • After the pandemic, nearly a quarter of Brits have forgotten how to pack
  • MSC Cruises assembles squad of β€˜Holiday Preps’ – travel and organisation pros to offer live 1-2-1 consultations to eliminate packing stress
  • MSC Virtuosa sailings depart from Southampton this summer, meaning no airports and no baggage stress – ideal for the 35% who worry about those extra charges

Restrictions have been lifted and holidays are on the cards again for travel-starved Brits – but two years of disrupted plans mean our packing skills have plummeted. From the disorganised to the downright daft, MSC Cruises reveals Britain’s packing nightmares, and saves the day with a team of packing pros.

35% of Brits find packing stressful, with one in ten[1] even saying they find it so stressful, they do not want to go on holiday. What’s more, the pandemic has knocked our confidence – nearly a quarter[2] have forgotten how to pack since pre-pandemic times, with this figure almost doubling[3] for parents with three or more children. Full-time students are amongst the biggest worriers, with a third[4] saying they feel more anxious about packing now than they did before the pandemic. 

Coming to the rescue, MSC Cruises has assembled a team of super packers. You’ve had holiday reps before, so now it’s time to meet the β€˜Holiday Preps’. The team, who are sharing their top tips, comprises of:

β€’ Emily Norris, the resident family packer;

Mrs Emily Norris Β©

β€’Jeannine Williamson, pro-cruiser and travel writer;

β€’Yaya & Lloyd, travel influencers AKA Hand Luggage Only

Hand luggage only Β©


β€’Nicola Lewis, the professional organiser.

This Girl can organise Β©

Between them, they are helping hopeless packers prep for their holidays, eliminating the stress so they can get back to focusing on fun. What’s more, guests who book a trip on MSC Virtuosa sailing from Southampton have the chance to book 1-2-1 video consultations with a Holiday Prep for bespoke advice and guidance on what and how to pack for their cruise.

Antonio Paradiso, UK Managing Director of MSC Cruises said: β€œAt MSC Cruises we want to make exploring the world as easy as possible for our guests. Whether it’s providing new and exciting destinations to visit without the need to fly, or assembling a team of experts to give the best tips and tricks on how to pack reducing that pre-holiday stress, we want our guests to get back to the important bit – enjoying their holiday.

There are still a lot of misconceptions around cruise holidays, such as thinking that you have to dress up every night or that there might not be enough to do onboard. At MSC Cruises we want to make cruise holidays more accessible and break down those myths around cruising, and what better way to help guests than right at the start of their holiday with their packing. Whilst there are plenty of opportunities to dress up, there is always a more relaxed option available too so however you want to holiday there is a cruise for you.”

With potential packing lists longer than a queue at Stansted, cruise holidays can be seen as particularly tricky to pack for. From formalwear to poolside attire, planning for different climates and excursions with some cruises taking in six different destinations in seven days. There are hundreds of onboard activities from high ropes courses to spin classes, so for tentative packers it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, MSC Virtuosa is departing from Southampton from April – November season, so it is airport – and β€˜baggage panic’ free – handy for the 35% of Brits who worry about restrictions, so guests can feel prepped for their holiday, whether they are hiking in the Norwegian fjords, basking in Barcelona or simply relaxing in the MSC Aurea Spa.

Research shows we all struggle with what to take on holiday as 60% of Brits admit to being serial over-packers. Two in three women and half of men[5] do not wear all the items they pack and 17% of Brits confess to being disorganised packers – leaving everything to the last minute. 

It’s also a point of contention for holidaying couples, with 25% of married couples arguing over packing too much and another 25% arguing over packing unnecessary items. And the more kids to account for, the more arguments to expect – 64% of those with one child have rowed with their other half over packing, going up to 77% for those with three or more children. 

This may be why 33% of parents with three or more kids would be willing to pay someone to pack for them. Fortunately, MSC Cruises’ Holiday Preps service is free…

To request a packing consultation with a Holiday Prep, guests sailing on MSC Virtuosa this year can visit the MSC Cruises’ Facebook page or the MSC website for more details.

The MSC Cruises Holiday Preps’ tips can be found in full via their Instagram pages here:

MSC Virtuosa offers a range of different cruises this season with all 23 sailings embarking guests in Southampton from the new Horizon Cruise Terminal, from 2-night mini cruises to Guernsey to 14-night explorations of the Mediterranean.

For more information on MSC Virtuosa click here.

For more information or to book now visit, see your local travel agent or call 0203 937 7570.

MSC Cruises Β©

Jeannine Williamson, The Pro-cruiser, top tips:

  • Don’t pack lots of books and magazines – at most, download them to a device. The busy daily programme of activities, shore excursions, entertainment and never-ending food and drink means there is hardly time to read a newspaper, let alone War and Peace!  
  • It’s very easy to over-pack and end up taking away far too much. Lay out all the clothes, shoes and accessories you plan to take before you go, rather than getting things straight out the wardrobe and putting them into a suitcase. Try to stick to two or three main colour schemes. Put them together as β€˜whole’ outfits – and take photos of them a reminder – so you can easily see which tops can be worn with different skirts and trousers and how outfits can be mixed and matched, and accessorised with scarves and jewellery, so they can be worn several times but still look like a different outfit.
  • Even if you’re travelling in the height of summer take a variety of clothes that can be layered over T-shirts and shirts, such as long-sleeved jumpers, cardigans, a jacket and lightweight raincoat. Temperatures can fluctuate and it gets cooler at night if you want to sit out on deck with a cocktail. Shrugs or shawls for ladies are also a great idea and the latter take up little room and are easy to roll up in your suitcase. For summer cruises take a sunhat or baseball cap and pack a beanie or similar for winter sailings.
  • For Mediterranean cruises take loose-fitting clothing that will be comfortable in hot climates. Natural fabrics such as cotton or moisture-wicking tops are best. Don’t forget wide-brimmed sunhats, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • If you like writing postcards from different ports of call get a sheet of peel-off address labels and before you go write the names and addresses of the people you’re going to send postcards to. This saves time writing them on the cards when you’re there, or remembering to take an address book with you.
  • If you have a fabric suitcase then line the bottom with reusable plastic bags and pop one or two on the top to cover your clothes when you have finished packing. This will keep your clothes dry if bags are left outside in the rain at the airport or before you board your ship. Once you’re aboard and unpacked they can double up as laundry bags for dirty clothes that you bring home and separate them from other items.


Nicola Lewis, the Professional Organiser, top tips:

  • Start off by using a collapsible clothes rail, this will allow you to plan your holiday wardrobe and coordinate what shoes and accessories to pack with your clothes.
  • Always use packing cubes. You can organise in category order, save space inside your case and make unpacking so much easier at the other end.
  • On the way home, pack your dirty clothes in colour order inside the cubes, this will make the laundry a lot smoother and less stressful upon your return.

Yaya & Lloyd (AKA Hand Luggage Only), The Travel Guys, top tips:

  • Block pack instead of layered packing; don’t just pack all of one item (eg t-shirts) all along the base of the suitcase. Fill up your luggage in blocks. This stops you from rummaging through your suitcase when on the road.
  • Shoe space; don’t pack shoes in cumbersome boxes that fill up your suitcase. Use shower caps (placed on the base of the shoes) to be more efficient with space and keep your packed clothes clean.
  • Pick the right luggage for you and your packing style. Some people like to pack everything in one space. Others like to segment and section off things (e.g. toiletries separated from electronic, in case of leakage). It’s best to buy a piece of luggage that suits the way you like to pack rather than trying to make the wrong suitcase work for you.

Emily Norris, The Family Packer, top tips:

  • Jewellery can be a tricky thing to pack! A great hack is to store your jewellery in a hard sunglasses case or a pill organiser box to separate them and thread necklaces through straws to keep them from tangling.
  • When we go on a package holiday with no laundry facilities, I take two thin mesh laundry bags. One for lights and one for darks. This makes doing laundry for the family so much easier when you get home!
  • Sun hats are so easily squashed inside suitcases! To avoid this, pack the head of your sun hat tightly with clothes so that it keeps its shape.
  • Sort out your and your family’s heaviest items so you can pack them at the bottom of your suitcases. This will help to distribute the weight, making it easier to pull and stopping it from falling over!
  • Mini products are cute but they are more expensive and not great for the environment, especially when you’re packing for the whole family. Decant your and your family’s favourite products into mini reusable containers so that you can travel with everything you need.


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