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Preparing for a Congress - Luggage Checklist


  • Preparing for a Congress - Luggage Checklist

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    By Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!

    Preparing for that Big Event!
    Let's start a checklist TOGETHER (yes, I need help here!) to prepare you for your upcoming Dance Camp or Congress Weekend!

    The following list is EXACTLY what and how I pack in my suitcase for a World Salsa Congress every week:

    1. Paperwork and Carry-On Essentials
    Passport! Driver's License. Earplugs / eye mask (to sleep in plane and NOT BE BOTHERED), Ipod, Earphones, Laptop or DVD Player, good book (to read when they say put away your electronic equipment on board), Airline tickets, Itinerary, Wallet, small xip-lock bag of lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, and perfume (not exceeding 3 oz each).

    2. Evening Dance Outfits
    An Evening Outfit for every night you will be dancing. I always roll them up NOT FOLD THEM. This eliminates the creases, and saves space. I usually put each outfit in gallon-size plastic zip-lock bags for each evening of the event. Items in bag: Full outfit, including underwear, socks, hose, and matching accessories / jewelry.

    3. Day Outfits
    One fun sweatsuit or comfortable gym outfit for the daily workshops. Remember, to ROLL and not FOLD. Different Zip-Lock gallon bag, with same items as above, but for the "day" activities.

    4. A Swimsuit
    You never know! Some hotels have great saunas, jacuzzi's, and a workout room. A dip in the hot tub feels AWESOME after seven hours of workshops, and five hours of hard-core dancing at night!

    5. Zip Lock Gallon-Size Plastic Bags
    I got the idea of zip-lock bags when I was coming home from a trip from Belgium. For some reason they left all of our luggage in the rain on the runway for about an hour, then we flew for about 10 hours back the USA, and by the time I got from New York, to California, it was a total of 18 hours of flying time.

    18 HOURS OF DAMP, SMELLY WET CLOTHES when I finally got home.
    They were starting to ROT.
    It was a horrible smell - and not even the laundry could get the smell out.
    I had to throw them AND MY SMELLY SUITCASE away.

    Never again.

    Zip Lock bags from NOW ON.

    6. SHOES!
    One of the most important items in a dancer's life. If an event is five days, I will bring three sets of dance shoes. Day shoes and night shoes. Zip-Lock gallon bag holds a single pair of shoes. I put them in plastic bags because the dirt from the bottom gets on my other clothes if I don't. BUT, since I started putting even my CLOTHING in zip-locks, it really hasn't been an issue any longer. This is cool too because you won't be forever looking for that "other shoe" in your dark luggage at night in a dark hotel room in the WINTER in Norway. .
    I always bring one pair of dance sneakers for the daily workshops and activities, and my high heels for the evenings. One pair with a lower heel as the weekend wears on.

    7. Foot Care
    Shoe Glue and extra pre-cut Spenco Inserts. These insoles are a God-send, especially when your feet start to swell up and get sore. You just cut them out the shape of your shoe insole, and glue them to the inside of your shoes at the event. They take about 4 hours to dry, so do it the night before, or in the morning. I use Binder Clips to fasten them to the inside of my high-heels, and make sure the green side is down! Trust me, you will thank me for this tip!

    8. Bathroom "Stuff".
    I keep a zipper-bag with all my toiletries. For liquids, I always put them in separate zip-lock bags just in case they leak (and they normally ALWAYS do). If you are someone who goes to a different event every week, I literally do not take these out of my suitcase! I have an entirely duplicate set at home that just stays "there".

    9. Lost Luggage.
    Remember, WHEN, not "if" your luggage gets lost by the airlines, or if you forget anything, rest assured there are probably stores and gift-shops at every event for you to replenish. I would say about 40% of the time, every week, the airlines misplaced my luggage. Yes, that is no joke. 40% of all my trips, I ended up buying all new clothes because it was a weekend, or a cruise, and the airlines could not deliver my luggage UNTIL THAT MONDAY. omg. By that time, the event is OVER, and here I am with NO DANCE SHOES, NO CLOTHES, AND NO NOTHING but the clothes on my BACK for the entire Congress weekend. Yes, I have spent a ton of money re-buying outfits and shoes for the weekend because of the stupid airlines. The larger Congresses will have shoe and clothing vendors there (thank God), so that is a plus in case the airlines lose your luggage, or you forgot your shoes!

    10. Your Carry-On
    I also GOT SMART and recently started carried my evening heels and dress in my carry-on, and wore my dance sneakers to the airport - with the workshop outfit "on" my body - just in case. This trick has saved me tons of $$.

    In the "Instructors and Performers" Section here at the Dancer Hangout!, I will post what Performers and Instructors should bring not only to every event, but to every workshop as well

    Any other ideas? Would love to hear them!! Post your Comments below!!

    Additional Notes:

    1. Only see shows you want to see. The first 20% or so are beginner teams.
    2. Best Shows are Saturday night. You may want to see all of them.
    3. No alcohol all weekend. Caffeine, Red Bull, and all that is standard.
    4. Four hours of sleep - minimum, or you won't have a good time, nor remember any moves or people.
    5. Get as many "local" contacts as possible for future trips.
    6. Pack at least 2 pairs of dance shoes - with shoe spray.
    7. Bring two outfits per day: Day workout gear or jeans. No shorts. Evening nice dance nightclub clothes.
    8. Don't "hook up" with any one significant other you just met there. He/She will "own" you and your freedom to dance with everyone all weekend. You'll get sick of them fast.
    9. Don't dance with local people you know from your own home town. Tell them to dance with others from around the world. You do the same. This is your / their opportunity.
    10. Get local dancer's cell phones and befriend them so you can exchange couches in each other's towns for future dance events.
    11. Bring an extra cell phone plug.
    12. Bring your laptop to download your movies.
    13. It is unusually cold around beaches. Congress promoters will promote a congress next to a beach in the coldest of winters - that is when the hotels are cheapest. Bring / wear "Layers" if you plan on "Beaching".
    14. Buy green energy drinks (veggie juice).
    15. Go to local food store and buy munchies for throughout the day. The hotel is SUPER EXPENSIVE for food and drinks.
    16. Get a fridge for your room.
    17. Do LOTS of Rotating CBLs, and skateboarding dance techniques. Remember to execute and systematize your core BBS system Syllabus moves will make you "look like" you know a ton of moves and are an awesome dancer.
    18. Have fun!!!
    - .

    • patrick
      patrick commented
      Editing a comment
      What about the GUYS?

      1. Condoms.
      2. ... that's just about it.

    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest commented
      Editing a comment
      Edie, I'm really curious as to what you pack as an Instructor / Performer every week? How can you handle all that traveling all the time week after week?

      Sometimes I think I'm just bringing WAY too much stuff and my partner is ALWAYS forgetting things so I feel like I have to "think" for the both of us. He's the kind of guy that just "lets me handle ALL THE REMEMBERING" while he screws around.

      He even asked ME to pack HIS STUFF once when he was wasted. I told him to f*^*% himself. That ended a good week of "getting along."
      WOW, i'm totally getting off the subject. LOL!!!

      I feel like ranting and raving right now and I don't even know why. I don't want to open up another can of worms here, so I'll just stop right here.

    • staffster
      staffster commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Edie,

      I wanted to let you know that your article Preparing for a Congress Luggage Checklist was really great. I also wanted to share my experience of what happened when I didn't follow your advice exactly as you explained in the article.

      I went to my first Salsa congress this past weekend. It was the Mayan Salsa Bachata Congress in Cancun. We stayed at the Hilton Resort right on the beach. It was a great event but turned out to be a very rainy weekend. I was trying to catch up on my sleep in the late morning since there was nothing on the program until noon that day. I heard a storm pass by but kept sleeping. When I woke up and stepped out of bed, I realized I was standing in a room FULL of water! The storm had passed very quickly but literally flooded my room. Evidently the sliding glass doors in each room that face the ocean give you a nice view but are not effective during a strong rain storm. My luggage was on the floor and needless to say a lot my things were wet. Luckily I had hung my dresses and skirts in the closet so they were saved. But I kept my leggings, hosiery, and bras in my bag that was on the floor so they were soaked. I could only hear your voice ringing in my ears I told you so! as I remembered your advice about putting everything in plastic Ziplocs and the story about how your luggage was rained on. Next time when packing I'll remember your heed your advice.

      I danced for 4 hours each day during workshops and also 4 hours each night during the social dancing (for 3 days straight). I thought I came prepared with the proper shoes - jazz shoes for class and my dance heels for the evening. But despite that, I have blisters on the bottom of both feet from dancing so much. I usually only dance for 3 hours once a week. So my feet weren't ready for the congress. I wasn't able to get the insoles you recommend because they don't sell them in the country where I live. Do you think they would have prevented the blisters, or are blisters unavoidable for someone who's not used to dancing that many hours a day? Are foot blisters something that happen to almost all ladies during their first Salsa congress?

      Big hugs,

      Laura Johnson
      Last edited by staffster; 04-26-2013, 08:49 AM.
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    Preparing for that Big Event!
    Let's start a checklist TOGETHER (yes, I need help here!) to prepare you for your upcoming Dance Camp or Congress Weekend!

    The following list is EXACTLY what and how I pack in my suitcase for a World Salsa Congress every week:

    1. Paperwork and Carry-On Essentials Passport! Driver's License. Earplugs / eye mask (to sleep in plane and NOT BE BOTHERED), Ipod, Earphones, Lapto...
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