Author Topic: TOURS: Tips for Packing?  (Read 22846 times)

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CMProsser

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2012, 12:53 am »
Having just spent two weeks on the go with nary a break for anything apart from work, my life saver was a very small bottle of liquid laundry detergent (with a VERY reliable lid) that I packed in a zip-loc bag combined with a fantastic travel clothesline that is basically two elastic threads twisted together with a hook on each end.  You didn't need pegs - you just tucked a corner of the laundered item inbetween the elastic threads.  I didn't even have time to find a laundromat, let alone hang around waiting for something to dry, so this was fantastic.  I strung it up in the shower, between the bed lamp and the curtain rail, the drawer handles and the door knob; I found something suitable in every hotel room I was in.  I would either wash in the sink, or just put the plug in the shower and do my laundry while I had my shower.  And if you have clothes that you shouldn't wring dry, just squeeze as much as you can out, then lay them out on a towel and roll them up as tightly as you can in the towel to get excess water out before you hang them out to dry.

Or you could pay $4 to the hotel for each pair of socks you want washed...

Cherie B. Tay

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #31 on: Sep 18, 2012, 10:45 am »
Check these out for laundry instead of carrying a bottle of detergent

http://www.purex.com/products/detergents/purex-complete-3-in-1
« Last Edit: Apr 09, 2014, 08:08 pm by CBT »

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GalFriday

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #32 on: Sep 19, 2012, 07:43 am »
I love the Purex sheets. I keep them in a bag in the front pocket of my suitcase at all times. They are not the best for handwashing....you have to get the water really hot. They will, however, work in a pinch. Also, the fabric softener requires heat to work in the dryer...so if you dry your clothes on low heat they will probably be very full of static.
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ScooterSM

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #33 on: Sep 19, 2012, 11:05 am »
Has anyone else used the bars of laundry soap?  I discovered them while traveling internationally (for fun, not for work), and they are amazing.  They don't leak, are small, last forever, and they work in cold water.  I know there are a couple of brands available in the US (fels-naptha, Zote, and an eco-friendly one that I can't remember the name) but it is possible that they are available other places in more common brands.  The kind I have now is Purex, but I bought it in India, so sadly that isn't very helpful...
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MarcieA

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #34 on: Sep 19, 2012, 07:55 pm »
I love the Purex sheets. I keep them in a bag in the front pocket of my suitcase at all times. They are not the best for handwashing....you have to get the water really hot. They will, however, work in a pinch. Also, the fabric softener requires heat to work in the dryer...so if you dry your clothes on low heat they will probably be very full of static.

I love the Purex sheets too! Also - it was recommended to me by a friend to use powder laundry soap. That way, even if it spills, there isn't a slimy mess in your bag.
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Cherie B. Tay

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #35 on: Sep 20, 2012, 12:51 am »
I've started a Google Docs for a packing list, and I'd love your help to compile a master list!

Here's the link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhmxnepFwyiidFVLcnZJdFlQb0RiNnZvSkpzaVc4LWc

Not sure what to do in terms of quantity... Should it be for 6 months, a year, or just 1 month?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: Sep 20, 2012, 02:55 pm by CBT »

Cedes

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #36 on: Oct 04, 2012, 09:57 am »
I have never been on tour myself, but I have done a lot of long-distance and long-term trips. My .02 here:

1. Buy Packing cubes. eBags has them, and they are a lifesaver. They keep everything separated and sorted, so no crazy digging and refolding (Plus, they're waterproof).

2. Ipad: I cannot stress this enough. All the talk about books above is taken care of with an ipad. As well as your newpapers, magazines, and movies. As well as you can do at least a little bit of work on the road.

3. "Overnight Kit" Basicaly all your toiletries and a couple pairs of underwear and socks for nights when you are only in one place. Or visiting a friend while you are off. :)

MarcieA

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #37 on: Oct 04, 2012, 02:15 pm »
I sent this really long and detailed email to a friend who is on tour with Ailey II. They do a combination of US, International, short and long term touring as a point of reference. The tips are culled from my 2 tours (1 was 6 months out with no lay offs and the other was a Thursday-Monday gig where I was home in between weekends). Some of the stuff below is a repeat of what we've already discussed, but I am just cutting and pasting:

I also have links to shopping online for a lot of the stuff I mention if anyone wants them.

For longer/international travel: When I was with the Kennedy Center on tour I bought those all-in-one laundry sheets and they were great once I tossed the plastic box they came in and put them in a ziplock bag. Otherwise, powder laundry soap is a smart idea - just in case it spills in your suitcases your clothes won't be covered in slime. Even those pre-measured travel pouches of Tide are NOT puncture proof, and you don't want to learn that the hard way.

Since you're doing a combination of short and long touring (and this is directly from the Ailey II staff): It is time to get two of everything (One toothbrush for travel, and one for home), including your phone charger. I bought a bunch of generic iPhone chargers on ebay and just kept one in my suitcase and one in my purse. This way when you are back you spend less time unpacking and repacking. Make a travel only toiletries bag and leave it packed and always in your suitcase.

Can you check bags even for quick US jumps? If so, I LOVE my LL Bean Toiletry Organizer. I am a complete product junkie and a medium sized bag held ALL of my stuff for 16 weeks on tour. I had two of everything: hair stuff, make-up, shower stuff, and because I'm compulsive, I would make notes on my phone to remind me when to replace something, or add more QTips, etc.  Having doubles saves SO much time.  Also, this means that when you are home it already feels like home because you're not unpacking stuff like that just to take a bath. I also kept a separate LeSportSack (because I have a bunch of them) pouch of tampons, etc that just stayed in my carry on at all times.

PACKING:
- PACKING CUBES CHANGED MY LIFE. I cannot stress this enough. They come in different sizes, and I started with this 3-pack. I would think about also investing in a 2nd set of all mediums or larges for longer travel. They fit into your suitcase like Tetris blocks and what makes them so amazing is that your shit is always folded and packed, even if/when you tear your bag apart to look for something. Underwear/Socks/Bras fit brilliantly in the small, and I did work clothes (run blacks and black socks in the medium) and 'play' clothes in the large. This past spring, I flew out on weekends and was home and off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I had time at home each week to repack, but that's just a pain. Obviously you'll have to (and want to at some point) but what I did was I kept a pair of jeans, 3 or 4 regular Old Navy fitted Ts, a cardi and 2 'going out' shirts in that cube, and they stayed there until they were worn. For longer jumps, most people will recommend 2 weeks worth of sock/underwear, but count your days off, and pack enough to last through two of them. This way, you're not forced to do laundry on your only day off. The other plus side to packing cubes is that I found it really easy to keep dirty and clean separate: clean was always zipped in a cube and dirty made the bottom layer of my suitcase. I would unpack the cubes, in tact, into a drawer (or if I'm being honest just on top of the dresser) and dirties were just tossed in the now empty suitcase.

- Also, whenever you check a bag: 2 pairs of underwear, socks and an extra shirt in your carry on. You may go the next 6 months never using them, but trust me, when you're stranded in Paris for 3 days without your suitcase, you will be SO grateful. Also - any toiletry item that you cannot live without gets a TSA appropriate carry on size. I spent the money on squishy travel sized bottles and they are great because they have a leak-proof seal and suction cup to the shower wall, so you're not knocking them around in the shower, and I also have a bunch of 3oz bottles from Ricky's, because I have a lot of stuff.  Wear your work shoes (or your largest/heaviest shoes) on the plane when you check your bag too.

- I liked having slipper socks for the hotel (which are also snuggly on long flights).  Some folks do flip flops, and that works too, the idea again, being something familiar on your feet when you're settling in to yet another hotel room.

- I also take a small Yankee candle.  Nothing is worse than a fully booked hotel and you have gotten the room that smells like feet, or being in that non-smoking room that reeks of cigarettes.

- If you have room try to take an extra bag for gifts or if your main suitcase is overweight. 

- If you feel that you can work everything into a carry on that is great - especially on shorter trips.  It also leaves you room to check that bag on a return flight if needed.  Also it will save you so much time at the airport.

- If you're doing multiple countries in Europe, I'd look into investing in a universal power converter. They look like big boxes, and one side is US to UK, the other US to EU, etc. No kits with tons of small pieces to lose. Think about buying two of these as well.

The other thing to think about is the backpack vs purse argument for your personal item on the plane. This is probably one of the hardest decisions to make. Throughout the spring I tried it both ways, and there are pros and cons to bring both:

Pros         
Lots of room for last minute grabs (Oh, I forgot to pack whatever I can just throw it in my purse cause it's an extra bag)
When you want to run out of the theater for lunch or whatever you can just take your purse instead of your backpack or holding your wallet.
More division between work and play.  Everything for work in the backpack and everything for play in your purse.
You can go out to dinner without carrying your wallet and cell phone in your hand, or conversely, you don't have to bring your backpack to the bar.

Cons
Why did I bring two bags?
You have to make sure that you remember what's in your purse and what isn't.
At one point you will ultimately leave something you need in your backpack when you have only your purse, and vice versa.

Conversely, the thing that stinks about bringing your giant NY-style purse as your only carry on is that a) you have your giant NY-style purse as your only bag and b) you will constantly be emptying and refilling with the travel only stuff whenever you get to where you're going. Ultimately, I decided on a purse that could get shoved into my carry on or suitcase and used my Mary Poppins-like North Face backpack as my carry on about 99% of the time.

Do you have a Nook/Kindle/E-reader? If not, and you have the money, invest in one. It will change the way you travel. I got a Nook Tablet for my birthday, and hated it for about a week, but the first time I got on a plane and could read Game of Thrones without hauling that monstrosity along was just incredible. Also, you can do magazines on there! And you can change your mind. No GoT? Just pick something less intense, and BAM! you are reading something new. Also, because I had a computer provided to me on tour, I was able to just bring just my Nook with me most weekends. That may not work for you, but it was great for me.

Lastly: Noise canceling or noise isolating headphones. Just do it. These Mee Electronic ones are winners, and so much cheaper than Bose or Beats. Also, think about buying a bunch of generic earbuds on eBay to stash all around. Also, a real travel pillow. No blow up bullshit. Worth the space.
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juliec

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #38 on: Oct 10, 2012, 02:24 am »
MarcieA, I'm so glad to know someone else is a duplicator. :)
+1 on international converters, e-readers, duplicated toiletries.

I haven't toured, but I've travelled a lot for work.  I wouldn't be away for months, but maybe a month with different locations, and frequent trips.  I hate packing (and unpacking), so my goal is to make the travelling easy so that I can enjoy wherever I am.  I'm a practical packer and like function over form...

Practicalities:
Duplicate chargers.  In addition to toiletries, I ALSO have a small pouch for all of my electronic chargers that I have in duplicate (I treat them like toiletries, because I use them every day, only they are more expensive to buy if you forget and I hate that feeling when you've just arrived and say: "Did I forget to pack my cell phone charger?").  It's annoying to wait for a replacement charger which are often difficult to get, and if you're traveling to many places quickly, it's stressful to anticipate where you're going to be so that it can be delivered to you if you need to order it.  Since I never unpack my charger bag when I'm home, it makes it SO easy to grab it and go when I need to leave for a trip.  You can buy extra chargers for anything on Amazon.  I also have a friend who swears by IGo, and his travel bag of electronics is way smaller than mine.  I'd love to find a reliable source for interchangeable USB tips, but I really haven't yet.  I'm a huge believer in duplicating things you will pack often.  It's made my life so much easier.  In a pinch, some hotels (usually high-end ones) will have phone chargers you can have on loan.  I will also bring a spare USB-to-micro or mini-USB cables.  I can download photos or phone data to my laptop at any time if I accumulate too much.  It has also been useful that if I leave my phone charger somewhere, I can still charge it from my laptop.

Travel-size toiletries.  I do take 1-2 hotel-sized shampoo/conditioner samples that I've picked up from a hotel, and replace them from whichever hotel I'm at as needed, but I don't carry more than 2.  They're super easy to travel with and I hate landing somewhere and discovering that the hotel doesn't provide shampoo.  If I'm going somewhere sunny, I'll fill a 3 oz. bottle with sunscreen, or aloe.  Empty ones are also useful.

Luggage:
Compression bags.  An alternative to packing cubes: http://www.amazon.com/Compressible-Vacuum-Seal-Travel-Roll-Bags/dp/B0009VCB6Q/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1349552739&sr=1-5
They take a little getting used to, but I like that I actually CAN fit more in my bag which was useful for long or multi-destination trips.  Because they are vacuum packs, also protect some clothing items from wrinkles by leaving a little more air (also because the air is vacuumed, wrinkles aren't as much of an issue).  I guess it's like a glorified ziploc bag, but they come in way larger sizes.

Carry-on.  Expandable, with spinner wheels.  I carry-on everything whenever possible (it also encourages me to pack light).  Since I'm next to all of my stuff I don't need to pack an extra change of clothes.  I have a Samsonite spinner that can expand and fits in the overhead compartment.  I love the spinner wheels because it makes getting out of narrow planes super easy and it's easy to wheel upright, which means I can wheel other bags on top of it without straining the handle or my arm.

Suitcase lock.  My Samsonite allows me to lock the zippers.  This is SO useful because not all hotels provide a lockbox for valuables.  So I would lock my laptop in my suitcase...  Now, it's not foolproof - there was one time that I came back from being out in Cambodia and found that my room had been broken into and someone had stabbed a pen into the zipper and ripped open the suitcase (fortunately, the hotel did provide a lockbox, which I had used for my money belt and laptop, so they only got my corporate blackberry).  It's provided me some extra piece of mind when travelling through areas with questionable security and standards.  Here is a trick I learned from people who had to travel with very expensive technical gear.  If you really want to protect your valuables, put the "Do not disturb" sign on the door - hotel staff has no idea if someone is in the room or not.

Purse/backpack.  I deal with the bag/purse issue by packing a small-medium hobo that folds flat into my carry-on.  It's so easy to pack, and I'd much rather have the option to not bring a bulky backpack, especially if I want to go somewhere nice.  I bring the huge backpack as a personal item that has my laptop, precious items, glasses, Kindle, knitting, headphones.  Basically, all the things that would be difficult for me to replace or that I need for my in-flight entertainment.

Money belt/travel wallet.  If I am travelling internationally, I carry one that looks like this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001MTUJRM/ref=s9_simh_co_p198_d0_i3?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=left-2&pf_rd_r=19ESKMJ28DBDSFMJHRK8&pf_rd_t=3201&pf_rd_p=1280661782&pf_rd_i=typ01
I like to carry all of my "valuables" (i.e., passport, emergency credit/ATM cards, extra money) in one place, and on my body, under my clothing.  I also keep my itinerary there and any emergency contact information or arrival instructions.  It streamlines my travel process because I don't need to rifle through my backpack to find my in-transit goods.  I carry the usual load of credit ATM cards and spending money in an actual wallet separately so that I don't need to access the money belt unless necessary.  When I am in settled, I act like a local and carry only what I need in my purse or wallet.  I throw the the money belt in the lockbox.  Jury's out on whether this really is safer in transit - I've never seen an incident with or without it, but it is definitely easier for me to stay organized and get ready to leave the room quickly if our flight has been delayed and we only have 5 minutes to check in.  The first thing I do when I get to a hotel room is figure out the security situation and lock away my valuables.  Then I move on with life.

Extra duffel.  Also because it's easy to pack and folds flat.  I've found that this is not a huge deal though.  Usually when you're travelling, you'll be able to buy a spare bag if you need it.

What to wear:
Bathing Suit.  No matter how short a trip is, I pack a bathing suit.  You never know where you'll find a pool or hot tub and it can be *so* relaxing to sit in one after a long day.  I've been grateful for this choice more than I can count.  And I've wished I'd remembered to bring one more often than any other single item.

Clothing.  I don't stress too much about forgetting something here because if I can pick up extra pairs of underwear or socks easily (but do bring bras because they can be a pain to pick up elsewhere).  Usually it's something like: 2 pairs of jeans, pants, 3 t shirts, 2 long sleeves, 2 sweaters, 1 skirt, and 1-2 weeks of undergarments.  I always try to pack a dress or something nice (that doesn't wrinkle or need special care), and layers.  It's usually easy to pick something up locally: it will probably be better adapted to the environment and you get a nice souvenir.  In Peru, I picked up a warm alpaca sweater, and in Hong Kong I picked up a paper-thin rain jacket (which I now pack with me whenever I think it might rain).  If you are wearing the same thing week after week, they'll probably go through some wear.  I have a friend who would pack items she would otherwise goodwill, expecting to leave them behind as they wore out and she needed more space in her suitcase!

Accessories.  For the longest time, I didn't pack accessories.  But they're the easiest way to adapt to the dress code.  They take up very little space, but I don't overdo it (because again, souvenirs ;) )  I keep my jewelry in my backpack when I am in-transit and don't bring anything super valuable.  Also bring spare hair clips.

Shoes.  There is no reason to bring more than 3 pairs of footwear.  Ever.

Basic black.  I suppose I don't have to say it here, but wear black.  ;)  It doesn't show dirt, and can help camouflage if you don't have exactly the appropriate thing to wear.

Local knowledge:
Language Tools.  If I'm going to be somewhere for a while, I like to bring/acquire a small phrasebook that I can have with me, if I want to take a small excursion on my own and feel independent (knowing some romance languages also helps really well).

Currency.  I try to spend all my currency because for some reason, but for whatever reason, I'm usually left with some on my way home.  I keep that in a bag at home and take the right currency with me if I'm returning to the country.  Now that credit cards are taken everywhere, it's less useful, but it also means that I can go some distance without needing to exchange money right away (which can also be safer).  I have my Dad to thank for that neurotic behavior.

Extras:
Down jacket.  If I am travelling somewhere cold I will pack my down jacket because it compresses nicely.

Super-thin raincoat.  If I'm staying away long or going somewhere that will probably have inclement weather, I pack a thin raincoat.  What I love about the super-thin raincoat is that if it's hot and monsoon-y, it doesn't make me hotter, and if it's cold and rainy, I just layer it over 3 sweaters.

Headlight.  If I think I'll be somewhere with low power, I'll pack my camping LED headlight.  It's smaller than a flashlight, and can be more convenient if I want to read in the dark, go down the hall, etc.  And yes, I've used it.

Other tips:
Count bags.  Another trick from Dad.  As you travel, you might end up with more bags and they're easier to forget when you're travelling.  Try not to, but if you do, just count them.  It's like counting all the kids before they enter.
« Last Edit: Oct 11, 2012, 01:07 pm by juliec »

Jessie_K

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #39 on: Oct 10, 2012, 09:14 am »
I have a friend who would pack items she would otherwise goodwill, expecting to leave them behind as they wear out and she needed more space in her suitcase!



Shoes.  There is no reason to bring more than 3 pairs of footwear.  Ever.


Point #1- Goodwill/toss items- this goes double of old undies and socks.  pack 'em.  wear 'em once and toss 'em!

Point #2- Shoes- but make sure you bring more than 1 pair.  In case you get caught in the rain.

Maribeth

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #40 on: Dec 19, 2015, 12:40 pm »
Thanks for the great recommendations, folks! I just bought some new luggage and used this thread for reference. Very excited about my new packing cubes as well!

smejs

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #41 on: Dec 21, 2015, 02:52 am »
I, too, referred to this list recently as I was prepping for my first out-of-town multiweek gig (one city) in years. Here's most of this trip's list, and I have to say, it's some of the "home-y" touches that help the loneliness:

  • two different microwaveable heat packs, one for work and one for housing, for both cold feet and sore muscles (including co-workers').
  • Fuzzy/furry blanket - there was nothing "comfy" in this hotel room, so had my husband ship the blanket I debated packing from the beginning. Others bring their own pillow, this was my comfort piece (and sometimes doubles as a pillow). I did bring a travel pillow for the plane, too. I also splurged on space and brought my LL Bean furry slippers and love them.
  • Lightweight robe - per another stage manager's advice, I got one that can double as swimsuit coverup and lightweight jacket
  • clothing that was interchangeable for different outfits - I know me and get bored: variety of turtlenecks, a few jackets, many scarves and pendants - and since it's cold, one crocheted scarf in particular that can double for fashion or functional uses. Don't forget "comfy" stuff for hotel in your attempt to pare down and one "dress up" outfit (still pretty casual, but a dress), and something to exercise in (so you at least don't have that excuse NOT to do it - I also packed my yoga mat)
  • swimsuit - not for my housing, but did get a daytrip to Chicago where I could use it at that hotel
  • A very few office supplies - mechanical pencils, silly pencil holder I have, "Enjoy Life: This is Not a Dress Rehearsal" oversized button, a straight edge I like to use to follow in my script...kinda wish I'd brought my own nice hole punch
  • theatre items - my lightweight headset, my Littlite, binoculars (very high booth), personal run belt (made for me - can attach anything/everything to it, including belt pack) and minimag
  • two sets of phone chargers, plus extra battery power and car adapter, also handsfree earpiece for car
  • I'm a "holiday" person, so I brought a select number of Halloween/fall decor, and had a box ready for my husband to send of select sentimental Christmas items
  • kitchen items - steamer basket, egg slicer
  • a few framed photos, a personal journal, a little homemade bowl my father made which I keep my ring in every night, a couple books, earplugs, blueblocking glasses (for nighttime to fall asleep faster),  a reusable lightweight shopping bag, power multistrip, laundry bag/basket, a couple lingerie bags for washing
  • I do a craft project of papercutting - I knew I could get paper, but brought my Exacto and small mat and was able to make something for my Secret Santa gift during downtime
  • And if you know me, of course I brought Eeyore...plus my Jibba Jabba (best stage mgmt stress toy ever)

Also, my husband visited for a couple days and managed to leave a partial tube of his toothpaste. Have to say, I kinda like it sitting in my bathroom still.

I've now bought "command hooks" during this trip, and think I'll keep them for future trips. Also recommend some "Tupperware", whether purchased after you get there or scrounged from other sources (locals/restaurants). My husband also brought our small luggage scale, and I'm definitely going to need it for the end of this trip for reference.

I also had 2 packing cubes already, and they have been helpful (had all my scarves neatly in one, for example), but they're emptied now since I'm just in one city.

Other than the blanket shipped, all of this fit on the plane with me (Southwest - 2 free 50 lb bags).

Erin

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Maribeth

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #42 on: Mar 18, 2016, 12:37 am »
Wrapping up my first tour now, and the main thing I want to add to this list is: a filtered water bottle. It's been great in venues/hotels that only have tap water.

iamchristuffin

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #43 on: Mar 18, 2016, 06:46 am »
YES! My bobble goes everywhere with me! Water quality isn't an issue in this country, but it really does help me to drink more water throughout the day!

Samazon

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Re: TOURS: Tips for Packing?
« Reply #44 on: Mar 18, 2016, 05:30 pm »
The company I'm with right now highly encourages us picking up water bottles for the cast so we can fulfill the access to water requirement of the contract. I did the same thing with that and made sure to get filtered ones for them. I've only come close to hearing a complaint once.
“All things are possible until they are proved impossible and even the impossible may only be so, as of now."

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