May 21, 2016
Living on the road means living out of a suitcase. Growing up whenever I flew anywhere I didn’t even know there were weight limits on suitcases. I would only be going somewhere for a week or less and would pack what I needed and all was good. As soon as I joined the Riverdance tour however my view on luggage quickly changed. All of a sudden I was going away for 6 months at a time. Every last allowable pound or kilo are precious to us here on tour. I came up with the idea to blog about packing this week while in line to check our luggage at the Boston Airport this last Monday. We hadn’t flown for a while, instead bussing between cities which means no weight limit and we can relax our packing diligence. We had some banter in line at the airport however when everyone was weighing their luggage. Some people, myself included were pleasantly surprised when their bags were under the allowed limit while others had to shift around their clothes and beg people to take a spare pair of shoes or jeans if they had extra weight to spare. It was quite the sight to see all the bags being shifted around on the floor of the airport!
I asked Katie Anschuetz, one of our newest troupe members how her packing experience went and she said it all came down to the shoes. When she was packing for tour she wanted to bring shoes for every outfit but quickly realized that would take up too much space and weight. She opted instead for bringing only a few pairs of more neutral shoes that would match all of her clothes and cover every weather situation. One pair of heels, one pair of boots, and a pair of sneakers, flats and sandals pretty much covers it.
Maggie Darlingtons helpful hint for staying underweight is to have a smaller suitcase. This way you cannot possibly fit 50lbs (23kgs) in it! The more room you have in your case the more likely you’re going to fill it to the brim and bring extra unnecessary stuff. New suitcases are always fun to pick out and to organize so next time you get one opt for the smaller size if packing under the weight limit is going to be an issue.
When we’re packing for 9 months that means packing for all types of weather and events so I learned early on that bringing clothes to layer is the way to go. We definitely have some fun fancier nights on tour as well so there has to be room for some nice dresses too! Trying to fit clothes for winter, and summer in one suitcase and bringing enough of each can be a challenge but if you use the ‘rolling’ technique it can make everything fit quite easily. I learned this from Nicola Dempsey on tour in the Liffey in 2014. She rolls everything and it gave her more space to spare than if she simply folded it all.
And last but not least don’t forget you can always buy things! If you forget anything or want something new or different (because we definitely do get sick of wearing what we have in our suitcases) there is always going to be a mall nearby. This especially goes for toiletries. They take up a lot of weight in our bags so most of the troupe won’t even bring shampoo, conditioner and body wash in their suitcases for the initial flight and just wait until they arrive in the first city to buy them. Sometimes we even just use the hotel shampoo and conditioner.. this saves on both weight and space.
Do you have a packing hack that could help us? Tell us in the comments!
From School to Stage - The Riverdance Summer School