As you continue to advance in your experience as a part of the marching band, you may find yourself traveling for shows more often than ever before. Traveling with the band can be an excellent way for you to see all kinds of new places throughout the country, and you should embrace it! One of the things that you're going to have to get accustomed to is packing appropriately for each trip.
Follow these five simple tips the next time you're packing for a trip with your marching band mates:
1. Plan it out
Over packing is one of the most common mistakes that travelers of any type make. Luckily, marching band trips are some of the easiest trips to pack for, because you have somewhat of a set schedule. Start by browsing your itinerary for guidance as to what you should bring. Look for various band events, performances and practices that you know you'll have to attend. Then, think about whether you'll have any personal plans, such as working out or sightseeing, that will require a certain type of outfit. That said, try to limit what you bring to the essentials. If shows require you to wear marching band uniforms, make sure the ones you bring are wrinkle-free and ready to go. It never hurts to bring extra uniforms if you have them. You never know when you may have a showtime emergency.
2. Use a duffel bag
One of the best ways to make sure you pack light is to limit the amount of space that you have to put things. Instead of bringing a heavy suitcase, try using a single duffel bag. This tip is even more helpful to those who have to carry around heavy instruments (sousaphone players and bass drummers especially). Packing less clothing items in a small duffel bag makes it easier to lug around heavy instruments and equipment. Most band trips are fairly short in length. That said, you should be able to fit everything you need in one duffel bag, which you can bring on planes as a carry-on item. When putting your clothes inside, do so carefully. Take the extra time to fold everything nicely. The more time you take organizing everything when you pack, the less time you'll spend trying to find things or ironing out wrinkles.
3. Limit the toiletries
"Pack the bare essentials."
You don't have to worry about packing too many toiletries. In fact, you should only pack the bare essentials. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as deodorant. The stuff you use in the shower (soap, shampoo and conditioner) will be stocked in your hotel bathroom already, so there's no need to drag yours along for the ride. Leave the beauty masks and eye serums in your bathroom drawer. When you're packing, throw all of your toiletries in a bag so that you know where everything is, and you keep your clothes clean.
4. Don't forget the necessities
With all of the talk about packing lightly, it's worth emphasizing that you need to bring the things that you require. If you're taking a prescription medicine, don't forget to pack enough to get you through the trip. The same goes for contact lenses. It's a good idea to bring your glasses, too, even if you wear contacts. The last thing you want is to have dry or itchy eyes with only contacts as an option – especially when you have to read so much sheet music!
5. Pack at the last minute
This may seem counterintuitive, but packing at the last minute can help you bring only what you need. The less time you spend packing, the less time you have to second guess any of your decisions. Always pack the necessities (see tip No. 4) first, so as not to forget anything important. Throw in your show attire next (that's why you're traveling in the first place), followed by your personal items. Remember, even if you forget small things (like toothpaste, for example) you can pick up travel-size versions in the airport or at the hotel.