Save these packing tips for your next summer trip.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated July 01, 2019
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Over the years, Real Simple editors have discovered dozens of clever space-saving packing tricks. From using a straw as a jewelry detangler to stuffing socks right inside the shoes you'll wear with them, these little packing tips make efficient use of a carry-on bag or suitcase. Save these hacks for your next summer vacation, and you'll be surprised how easily and quickly you're ready to jet-set.

John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran

1
Plastic Straw as a Necklace De-Tangler

When jewelry shifts around during a flight, you end up with tangled necklaces by the time you arrive at your destination. For tangle-free jewelry during your travels, unclasp the chain, thread it through a plastic drinking straw, and reclasp. For a shorter chain, cut the drinking straw to the desired length.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Linden Elstran

2
Use a Hair Elastic to Bundle Tights

If you're packing stockings or tights for your trip, roll up each pair and secure them with a hair elastic. They'll stay bundled and take up less space in your carry-on.

Mark Lund/Getty Images

3
Store Socks Inside Shoes

To pack as efficiently as possible, consider every inch of space—even the inside of shoes. Roll up socks and stash them inside the dress shoes or sneakers you're most likely to wear with them.

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

4
Stash Shoes Inside a Shower Cap

To keep the dirt on the bottom of your shoes from dirtying the clothes in your suitcase, wrap a shower cap around each pair.

James Wojcik

5
Pillowcase as Lingerie Bag

Pack undergarments inside a spare pillow case, so you'll know where to find your intimates when you go to get dressed.

Frances Janisch

6
Contact Case as Pill Box

When traveling, eliminate clunky bottles for nonprescription meds from your purse by popping the pills into a contact lens case.
Note: This is not a childproof method for storing your pills. Don't try this if you have small children who rummage through your purse.

Frances Janisch

7
Fold Tissues Inside a Peppermint Tin

When lost inside your purse, those spare tissues you packed end up getting grimy. Instead, fold a few tissues and store them inside a protective peppermint tin.

domin_domin/Getty Images

8
Turn a Down Jacket into an Airplane Pillow

If you're packing a down jacket for a cold weather adventure, roll it up and secure with rubber bands. Then stash the jacket inside a clean pillow case so it can double as an airplane pillow. Brilliant!

James Wojcik

9
Grab an Oven Mitt for a Heat Guard

Bringing along a curling iron or a hair straightener? Slip these hair styling tools inside an oven mitt. The heat-resistant mitt will serve as a heat guard on the bathroom counter at the hotel, and you can stash the curling iron inside the mitt if you need to pack up while it's still warm.

James Wojick

10
Let a Medicine Container Hold Small Jewelry

Place earrings and rings inside the compartments of a plastic pill container. It will keep them safe and help you plan out your accessories for the trip.