Author Topic: TOURS: Tips for Packing?  (Read 22196 times)

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Beatr79

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TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« on: Jul 16, 2008, 09:02 am »
I'm going out on a short-term tour (6 weeks), and thought I'd start a general thread about with tried-and-true advice for packing.  Between the touring SMs, the SMs who move from one location to another for a job, and the savvy world-travelers among us, we could accumulate a million different little tips.

What's your favorite type of luggage?  For those of you who have toured, how much clothing does one need to travel with (its going to be hot everywhere I go, so its a little simpler for me because I don't have to pack for multiple climates)?  Anything that should be left behind, because it never makes it out of your suitcase?  Must-haves for your carry-on?  Tips for easy in and out of different hotels, keeping clothes from wrinkling, etc?  

You get the idea.  Let's get packing...
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 03:05 am by PSMKay »

OfficerKrupke

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 16, 2008, 10:37 am »
For me, I travel relatively lightly so I can carry what I bring (I have a slight mistrust of airline baggage systems). This is mostly for vactations, not touring. I usually can fit a week's worth of clothing including bathingsuits and an extra pair of shoes in a duffle  bag. I wear my biggest shoes on the plane (usually my boots). Converse makes a good second pair of shoes because they can fold relatively flat to the sole. Then I have my laptop bag that I usually fit some extra clothes into. Or here a laptop backpack makes a better bag because of more space. And then if I have to check something I have a larger duffle. Pack what you need but pack light. You don't need 6 weeks worth of clothes. 1 week at most and re-use. Oh you might need to check your multitool.

Jessie_K

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 16, 2008, 11:02 am »
If you have a pair of socks, underwear, shoes, whatever that are on their last legs, pack them, wear them once or twice and throw them away.  You will then gain that extra bit of room in your suitcase for something you will buy along the way.

Also (and this is tough) DO NOT feel compelled to take the shampoo, lotion, soap from EACH hotel.  It took me forever to learn this lesson.  Usually it is really low quality and 20 bottles of half used shampoo is a HUGE waste of space.

DO take the cheap free pens from each hotel. When someone asks you for a pen, give them one of those.  You won't care if you get it back or not and you won't lose one of your good pens.

If you end up buying a large/ heavy item on tour, just mail it to your home or office.  Don't lug it around with you for a few more weeks.  I once bought an extra suitcase to fill with crap I bought on tour.  By the end of tour, was so sick of lugging around that extra suitcase . . .

Pass on your books.  If you bring/ buy a book on tour that you do not necessarily want to keep, pass it on to your tourmates or a local.

Lastly (and this might be TMI) fold your underwear in thirds not in half, they fit better.  And don't roll your socks, just fold in half once as a pair.

I am a packing obsessed packer.  I could go on for hours, but my laundry calls because I am leaving on a 2 week stint in CT on Sunday!

ChaCha

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 16, 2008, 11:11 am »
when touring i actually take more clothes than i take for personal travel because so often its hard to find time to the washing. but then my touring tends to be the work 15 hr days or be en route to next venue variety.
 personal touring favourites in the (not too big wheelie) suitcase include sarong type thing to use as a throw over boring hotel furniture/tablecloth or even to cover up a particularly hideous hotel painting in my room! tried various things over the years but now like to take my altec lansing portable speakers to attach to ipod/laptop/cd player or whatever to have my own music either in the room or during bumpin etc .the speakers produce an amazing volume for their size and have enlivened the final tedious hours of bump outs in remote country halls... ( now there's another topic - good music for bump in/out and/or setup for a show?)
I also like to take a plastic or metal bowl and a knife fork and spoon for those day off picnics, and oh god i cant stand another hotel breakfast im gonna have cereal in my room/ its 2am and i havent eaten for hours lets make couscous using the kettle   moments...
and lets not forget a corkscrew on some knife or multitool ( hooray for the arrival of the stelvin cap!)
one tour i took up crochet and sat on the tourbus ( it was an opera) making a round rug until we got to the tropics and it was just too hot to have a rug all over me in my seat - back to reading - i buy a LOT of books on tour.

One thing i love is that so many items of clothing/books/etc come from one tour or another so I remember the places and the people when I wear/reread/see them...
« Last Edit: Jul 16, 2008, 11:13 am by ChaCha »
ChaCha

Mac Calder

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 16, 2008, 11:25 am »
I only have a couple of tips:

1: Roll your clothes. Fold them up as you would have them on a shelf, then TIGHTLY roll it up. I found that I can fit about twice as many clothes if I roll, instead of just having them folded.

2: Avoid hard cases, unless they are really necessary (ie to protect something). By using soft cases, you gain valuable "wiggle room".

3: Pack the heavy stuff down the wheeled end of the case. That way when you stand your bag up (whilst waiting in a que for example) it will not be top heavy and topple over. It will also prevent "squashage"

As for books, what we used to do was put all our books together on day one, and we would write our names in pencil on the inside of the back cover if we wanted to read it. After you finished the book, you looked inside the back cover and passed it onto the next person on the list (and so on and so forth). At the end of the tour, the owner of the book collected it, erased the inside back cover and it was ready for the next tour.
« Last Edit: Jul 16, 2008, 11:30 am by Mac Calder »

MarcieA

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 16, 2008, 11:47 am »
I only have a couple of tips:

1: Roll your clothes. Fold them up as you would have them on a shelf, then TIGHTLY roll it up. I found that I can fit about twice as many clothes if I roll, instead of just having them folded.

2: Avoid hard cases, unless they are really necessary (ie to protect something). By using soft cases, you gain valuable "wiggle room".

3: Pack the heavy stuff down the wheeled end of the case. That way when you stand your bag up (whilst waiting in a que for example) it will not be top heavy and topple over. It will also prevent "squashage"

As for books, what we used to do was put all our books together on day one, and we would write our names in pencil on the inside of the back cover if we wanted to read it. After you finished the book, you looked inside the back cover and passed it onto the next person on the list (and so on and so forth). At the end of the tour, the owner of the book collected it, erased the inside back cover and it was ready for the next tour.

Great tips, especially the books! That would work wonderfully for a show with a green room as well!

Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

Scott

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 16, 2008, 12:11 pm »
If you're doing a lot of one offs and two-nighters and such:  I like to have a biggish rucksack, bigger than a standard napsack for books, dedicated to  more than a day's worth of clothing and toiletries, seperate from my suitcases.  This saves me the hassle of having to check a full suitcase in and out every night and makes it easier in general for me to organize my personals.   (And can also be useful for day-off excursions.)

ScooterSM

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #7 on: Jul 16, 2008, 09:39 pm »
. Oh you might need to check your multitool.

In the US, this is a definite.  They have too many blades, pliers, screwdrivers, etc and TSA will confiscate it.  They actually took away an allen wrench welded on to a 2" piece of pipe (my low-tech theatre door key). 
If you are questioning whether you can carry something on or if it can be construed as weapon, you are better off checking it.
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

GalFriday

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #8 on: Jul 16, 2008, 09:45 pm »
I always pack:
A handful of Ziploc bags in Gallon and Quart size....I find them endlessly useful for organizing, storing, packing and throwing away food in the little hotel room garbage cans.

A small Bag with all of the medicines I prefer (ie Tylenol Cold/Flu vs. Advil).
I hate spending a day off looking for stuff that I could have packed in a small amount of space...especially when I do not feel well.

Some small item to go on my bedstand.....something to remind me of home. It is the last thing I see at night and the first thing in the morning. I bring a new thing each tour and later these items remind me of the tour.

A small bowl, spoon, small knife, corkscrew and fork.
Always keep cereal or granola on hand for those...oops I worked on the schedule until 2 AM and now room service is closed moments.
 

I carry my books in the roadcase until the end of the tour and then sell them at a local used bookstore. I love this because it means someone else will share my books, I make a little money for the small fortune I have spent on books and frequently I find a wonderful book store where I can buy a book for the plane ride home. The only place I could not do this was London. Oddly, I was informed (by more than one bookstore) that there were no used bookstores in London...only rare book stores which were NOT interested in popular fiction...huh

I generally pack about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks worth of clothes in neutral colors so I can mix and match. I get bored of clothes very easy and this amount keeps me somewhat happy and less likely to buy clothes just for something new instead of something special. NOTHING goes in my suitcase that can only be worn with one other item or that requires special care (ie..handwashing, ironing, dry cleaning). Those items always ended up staying in the suitcase the whole tour so I just stopped packing them. I would rather sightsee in Paris than handwash, iron, or try to find a dry cleaner.

This last tour we were doing 3 & 4 day sit downs. I packed my suitcases by folding and then putting the clothes in vertically. I loved that I could see eveything. I filled in the top with Eagle creek bags with various items (shoes, electronics, socks, etc...). Unpacking/Packing was fast because you just grab the bags off the top and then throw them back on top. When my laundry bag was full it fit easily on top of the depleted stacks and when laundry came back it was easy to slide in the new stacks....I have toured for years and this was the first time I felt happy with the way i had packed.

I am a big fan of the Samsonite carbon 2010 series. They are half hard with a soft top. So, you have structure to protect your wine bottles and wiggle room to throw in the souvenirs...those Ziploc bags are useful for the wine bottles too...Gallon size baby!

And I do still take the Shampoo/Conditioner from the room if they are nice. They are all in a Silver bowl in the Guest room for my guests to pick and choose what they want. I think I have enough to last about ten years :).

Happy Traveling - Dani



 
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javnine

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #9 on: Jul 17, 2008, 10:30 pm »
I did 3 TYA tours, and I took 3 bags, well 4.  Kinda.  (This does not include the SM kit or the bag of "things to do" I put in the van.)

I had a backpack bag like what you would take backpacking through Europe that had my clothes, toiletries, shoes, etc.  Attached to that was the matching day bag that held my purse (for day outings or going out), extra toiletries (which could easily have been brought on the road, but I'm crazy, so I bring (small) extras), chargers, workout DVds, etc.  Then I had a small (could be carryon on a plane) rolling suitcase that could become a backpack, and that had my printer, office supplies, extra books, hole punch, etc.  My last bag was a backpack that could zip onto the rolling suitcase, and it had my laptop, show binders, the stuff I used on a daily basis at work.  Finally, I took a yoga mat.  Now, transporting all of this to the hotel room usually took two trips, but if I zipped the backpack onto the rolling bag, it could have taken one.  Also, if it was a one night stay and I didn't need my printer, I didn't bring the rolling bag in.  This was definitely a van tour though, not a plane tour.  I couldn't have taken all of that on a plane.

Clothing wise, I rolled everything.  I had a separate section for underwear, and a plastic bag I put dirty socks and underwear in.  Dirty t-shirts, pants, etc. got put back into the main compartment because they weren't that dirty, and I knew I could wear them again before doing laundry.  I brought enough underwear/socks for 12-14 days.  Usually I take 3-4 pairs of shoes: running shoes for exercise, work shoes, flip flops, and a pair of dress shoes in case I want to go out.  It's usually 2 pairs of pants - one for work, one for days off/going out, 2 sweatshirts/hoodies, 4 short sleeve t-shirts, 4 long sleeve t-shirts (for layering and different climates), workout pants, pajama pants, and a workout shirt.

It's all about multi-use items, and layering. 

I didn't bring soap, a towel or a washcloth because hotels always have supply those.  (Yes, I know Hitchhiker says you need a towel.  I just couldn't justify the room.)

A scented candle can make a room feel homier.

Don't take your favorite mug on tour.  I broke 3 mugs.  The same probly goes for favorite anything.  If you love it, but can live without it, don't take it.  Clothing gets washed a lot and worn out, or stained, or whatnot.  Other things can get lost or mangled or borrowed or...

BlantonRK

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Re: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #10 on: Jul 25, 2008, 11:16 am »
I always take a small scented candle with me. I'll actually buy several of them, and then for 3 weeks before the tour burn them each night before bedtime. I find that the familiar scent helps me decompress in the hotel room and sleep faster.

LizzG

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #11 on: Feb 16, 2011, 06:22 pm »
I read this thread for packing advice before my first tour, and since I'm about 6 months in, I figured I would contribute some other things I've learned.  FYI - I'm an ASM on a year long bus and truck tour, with a combination of 1-2 week sits and split city weeks (with 1 dreaded one nighter coming up), so I've had to pack for a whole year, with seasonal changes and all.

-Ultra light packers:  A bunch of different companies make these (just gave a link to one of the companies that does), but they are great.  You can sort your shirts in one bag, pants in another, so when you are looking through your luggage for a clothing item, instead of pulling out a bunch of different pieces of clothing, you can just pull out a few bags.  http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/42894?from=SR&feat=sr
-Clothes: To deal with winter and summer clothing options, I do something simple that most of the people on my tour do.  I have a bunch of tee shirts that can be worn in the summer.  And then in winter climates, I just throw my hoodie over a tee shirt and it's toasty warm.  I still have 2 or so long sleeve shirts, but it's much less to pack than having a summer wardrobe and a winter wardrobe (and you don't have to go through the hassle of sending things back home).
-Speakers: I have these amazing little speakers that pack up so compactly that it's amazing.  Even the cords that plug the speakers into each other and the audio jack are retractable!  They are called "chill pills"....but I've seen other kinds of mini speakers from fellow tour-mates that work awesomely without much of a space impact as well.
-Luggage: I bought 2 bags for touring, one is a Samponsite medium sized 'spinner' suitcase (a nice expensive one at that).  The other is an Ogio small travel suitcase/duffel.  I bought those 2 with the reasoning that it would be easy to push the spinner in front of me while wheeling my other bag behind me.  EXCEPT, spinner luggage sucks on carpet.  And every single hotel that we've stayed in has carpeted hallways.  Now, spinner luggage is great in airports....but overall, not worth it in general.  Plus the wheels on spinner luggage aren't that great when you try to use it as you would wheels on regular suitcases. 
-You can never have enough socks/underwear!  And always keep a few pairs of socks in your roadcase for those long load-in days.  Putting on a new pair of socks for show call on a load-in can sometimes make my day :)


BayAreaSM

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #12 on: Jul 13, 2011, 01:36 pm »
Not necessarily for packing, but I wish someone had told me to laminate signs that would be used most often. And, for confusing theaters, to make a TON of laminated signs that read "Stage Right" "Stage Left" with separate laminated arrows that I could tape onto the signs (so that the direction was easily changeable). I think velcro would be ideal to attach the arrows, but we didn't have that in stock.

I learned that during a tour, and thankfully I brought my laminator with me, so I was able to at least laminate my most-used signs before they died, but had to draw my arrows on with dry erase markers. (Not as nice as my new arrows.)

LizzG

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #13 on: Jul 14, 2011, 01:40 pm »
Hey CBT - Yep, I'm with Seth B!  How do you know Seth?

Hmmm....the one thing I wish someone told me.  I had a lot of great advice coming out on tour.  But I guess one piece of advice would be that EVERYONE will have a problem with EVERYONE else at some point or another.  It just happens, and then, most of the time, they get over it. 

Or maybe, take advantage of the places you are going, or places that are nearby places you are going.  I've really done that, but some of the people I travel with (10 years on the road), wish they had done so previously.  It's really easy to be tired and sleep in on a day off (or sleep off the hangover), but there are some great places to discover across the country, and you might regret going to all these places but not really seeing any of them!  (Then again, not to say I haven't decided to have a lazy day doing nothing but watching TV in bed and ordering room service before show call.  We all need those days once in awhile too :))

Oh, and be careful with what you eat and how much you drink.  Touring can lead to unhealthy habits.  It's easy to go to a fast and unhealthy eatery when you have no time to eat on those load-in days, and it's easy to have too much to drink every night.  Even just having to mostly eat out is harsh on your weight.  I gained my touring freshman 15 in the first few months of tour from beer and other unhealthy crap....losing it is much harder :)  Just think about it when you're making your restaurant choices...

bemalk

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #14 on: Jul 15, 2011, 11:27 am »
I was recently out for a few months doing all one-nighters and brought 2 bags with me(one large and a carry on sized bag), one thing I did that made my life much easier was once a week or so I would bring both bags into the hotel and pack my small bag so for the next week I only needed to bring that one bag in.  It was very helpful when checking out of the hotel at 6am.

Also it is a minor thing but on a TYA tour when call can be extremely early pack your bags and put whatever you can in vehicles the night before.  That extra 10 minutes in the morning is a God send.

If you are a coffee drinker, bring your own travel mug(most places will charge you less if you have your own).  And for birthdays/Christmas/any gift giving occasion ask for Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Panera, etc. gift cards! Hotel coffee can be horrible!  Something I am going to try next time is buying my own grounds and keeping them in ziploc bags so I can make my own in my room since most places have coffee makers in room and then use the hotels cream and sugar.
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