I hope you found the first part of the packing series helpful, and have returned for another helping of packing tips. You’ll find that the more westies travel to conventions, the smarter they pack. The golden rule of traveling: pack smarter, not harder. 😉 Now that your clothes are packed, let’s focus on everything else that should go in your suitcase.
Part 2: Weekend Essentials
Don’t: Forget your travel documents!
This is extremely important, hence me prioritizing it first. No matter if you take a plane, train, or if you’re road-tripping you will need to have your travel documents with you.
- ID: Driver’s license, passport if you’re traveling internationally, etc. Check your airport’s security policies, because there might be some upcoming laws that require both photo ID and passports, even on domestic flights.
- Medical insurance card (if applicable): Just in case you are injured or need medical attention, your insurance card will make the process of visiting a the hospital or doctor’s office go much more smoothly.
- Also, it’s a good tip to make digital and photocopies of your ID’s as well. In case anything were to happen to your originals (say you lost your passport), you have some form of ID for security purposes.
Do: Print copies of important documents, such as event info, flight info, hotel/car rental reservations, etc. Generally you can easily access this info on your smartphone, but a hard copy never hurts, especially since there are times you’ll run out of battery or not have reception. If you’re going to an international event, you won’t always have internet access to check your flight or hotel information. Having proof of purchase of things like your event pass or competition registration will also make checking into the event easier.
Don’t: Miss this video on how to pack toiletries!
Do: Follow TSA guidelines when packing toiletries and simplify!
Whether or not you’re flying, it’s good to pack a basic amount of toiletries.
Follow the 3-1-1 TSA guideline: Cream, liquid, gel or aerosol items must fit into 3.4 fluid ounce containers or less. Each traveler is permitted one quart-size bag. Even if you’re checking your luggage, packing large bottles of lotion or shampoos for weekends can consume luggage space, and in the end is completely unnecessary. Simplify with this short list:
- Contact case and contact solution (if needed)
- Facial products (wash, moisturizer, etc)
- Hair care (mousse, gel, hair spray).
- Liquid Makeup (i.e. foundation, primer, etc.)
- Shaving Cream
Don’t: Bring the whole makeup counter with you!
If you wear make up for routines or competitions, try not to overwhelm your makeup bag! You will only need so much unless your routine makeup is extensive. Try taking the basics like foundation, shadows, blushes, lip sticks/gloss, and a few brushes you can use for multiple products.
Don’t: Forget the Aunt Flo provisions!
Ladies, I know we can keep track of her visits, but sometimes Aunt Flo pops by unexpectedly. You don’t want to be in a bind, especially if you’re on the plane or long car ride. Pack a few feminine products and you’ll be thankful you did.
Do: Plan ahead for hair!
Hotels will most likely have a hair dryer for you, therefore you will only need to pack a straightener or a curling iron, not both! Coordinate with your roommates to see who will bring what tools if you need both.
Don’t: Forget the stragglers!
In a small bag, you can put other non-liquid toiletries for the weekend.
- Baby Powder (great for odor prevention in shoes!)
- A Razor
Do: Stay so fresh and so clean!
Dance weekends can be a bit rigorous! As we are a “close-contact sport,” make sure you have the necessary tools for hygiene upkeep.
Do: Think like a mom and include first-aid items.
Health is important! Especially if you’re going to be involved in an active weekend like a Westie event. Be prepared to take care of your body in case of emergency.
- Alcohol wipes
- Medicine (aspirin, antacids, meds for health conditions)
- Moleskin, in case your dance shoes start giving you problems. You can purchase moleskin at stores like Target and Walmart or your local pharmacy in the foot care aisle.
Don’t: Let yourself get bored.
Whether it’s a long flight, or a lengthy road trip you will want to occupy yourself so as to not cause harm to other passengers or yourself.
- Hard copy/digital reading material
- Noise canceling headphones
- Music device
- Tablet, phone, etc.
Do: Prepare for Sleep
Sleeping at events is often totally different than sleep at home or on vacation (at a hotel). Most people share rooms with multiple roomies, who will often be coming and going at odd hours of the night. Some roomies may be sleeping late into the day. New conditions can make it hard for anyone to sleep well. I’d recommend preparing a small “sleep bag” that you can leave packed and just throw into your suitcase when you’re heading out to an event. Sleep bags could include:
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Small flashlight
- Charger plug/cables (to easily charge your electronic devices during the night)
As always, customize your sleep bag to fit your needs–whatever makes you comfortable and ready for a good night’s rest.
Don’t: Stress the small stuff!
Remember, it’s only a weekend so don’t overwhelm yourself. If you did forget something, you can always search Yelp or Google to find somewhere to pick up last-minute items. You can always call an Uber or Lyft to get around (if you don’t have a car), or ask dancers with cars to give you a ride.
Don’t: Forget these last-minute tips! If you’re truly worried about what you can and can’t bring on board a flight, check https://www.tsa.gov/travel/frequently-asked-questions for references on questions you may have. No matter your mode of transportation, I always follow this method of packing – Pack everything you think you will need for your trip, then edit, edit, edit your packing.
I hope these past two guides have eased your packing woes and worries, so you can de-stress about packing and move forward with the fun stuff! As always don’t hesitate to ask Event Directors and past attendees for tips on Westie Event necessities. I’m Stephanie Pham. Keep dancing!