Greatest Escapes Week

7 Life-Changing Hacks Guaranteed to Help You Pack 130 Items in a Carry-On

The contact lens case trick alone will revolutionize your next trip.

How much luggage do you travel with? Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos is said to have traveled with four dozen pairs of shoes (from her collection of more than 3,000 pairs), and earlier this year, Miss Universe hopeful Chalita Suansane of Thailand discovered she was well over her baggage allowance... as she checked-in 17 mammoth suitcases for the contest ahead.

Even as a former beauty queen, I rarely check in any luggage and can travel for months with just a carry-on — but people always tell me they can't fit enough items into their hand luggage for one to two weeks of a summer vacation. Packing your carry-on efficiently and practically is pivotal to a stress-free trip, and can save you time and money. Imagine less hassle at the airport, no more lining up to pay check-in fees, and easier rides to and from your hotel. Plus, you'll never have to wait at the conveyor belt again, or worry about losing or damaging your luggage.

In the clip above I demonstrate just how much you really can cram in your carry-on and still live a big lifestyle at your destination.

Meanwhile, here are my top tips:

1.  Roll clothes and use Ziplock bags.

Save space and reduce deep creases by tightly rolling your clothes instead of folding them. For added organization, use Ziplock bags to keep your rolled clothes compressed, clean, and easy to pack and unpack. Plus, when you rummage through your suitcase, you won't end up with an unraveled mess!

2.  Invest in packing cubes.

Packing cubes are another great space-saver; they help keep your clothes compressed and organized. Pick lightweight fabrics and be amazed at just how much you can squeeze into a packing cube. Lightweight fabrics are also easy to hand wash and dry much faster than heavy fabrics. I packed a whole rack of clothes in one small packing cube!

3.  Strategize shoes.

Shoes can take up much room, so aim to pick lightweight ones that can be flattened. Use rubber bands to compress them to keep them flat and organized. Rubber bands also keep loose wires on phone chargers, and keep hair straighteners together and neat.

For dirty shoes or to be extra clean, wrap them with complimentary shower caps you might find in your hotel room.

Make the most of space and fill your shoes with items like folded sock balls. They also act like stretchers, helping shoes keep their shape.

4.  Be logical about liquids.

Instead of lugging around heavy, bulky bottles, follow TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule and carry all your cosmetics in a quart-sized Ziplock bag. Buy travel-sized toiletries or use small empty bottles and fill them with your favorite products. If you run out while on your trip, buy and try something new at your destination or pick something up at duty free.

To further downsize your liquids, use empty contact lens cases to hold a variety of solutions such as eye cream, concealer, hair wax, and pimple cream.

5.  Protect your jewelry.

Use a daily pill box container to organize jewelry and to keep chains separate and tangle free. A pill box can also be used for a variety of objects including safety pins, clips, eyelashes — and of course vitamins and pills! To prevent your items from rattling around, fill the individual compartment space with cotton balls, which you can also use on your trip.

6.  Beware of bulk.

Beware of extra bulky, heavy objects. Choose to wear your boots and any hard-to-pack items on your journey. Purses and hats can be awkward shapes and take up much valuable room. Choose bags that collapse, are flat, or can be folded down.

Find a good sun hat that can be rolled up or folded flat and tie it with a rubber band to keep it in place.

7.  Shake it.

Once you have successfully packed your carry-on, stand it up on its wheels and give it a good shaking up and down — the more the better — making sure to hit the ground with each shake. This technique gently pushes down all your packed items allowing them to settle deeper into your bag. Then, while still standing, open the top of your suitcase and you’ll be surprised at the few inches of empty space you have created at the top. This extra space is perfect for your last minute items or for things you may need to access easily on your journey (such as a jacket, shawl, charging devices, and headphones). Alternatively, simply leave this extra space available for souvenirs you pick up on your trip.

So the next time you travel, leave your excess baggage behind and use this whole bag of tricks instead. Bon voyage!

It’s Greatest Escapes Week at Bravo’s travel destination, Jet Set! That means a special slate of travelers’ (and wanderlusters’) dream content, like hacks, bucket-list worthy destinations, and the inside scoop on celebrity travel. Andy Cohen serves as guest editor, with more exclusive travel tips and insights from uber-insiders. Come on board and off we go!

Jet Set is Bravo's launch pad for the most extravagant, luxurious, and unforgettable travel experiences. Ready for takeoff? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.

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