What to Pack for a Dance Event

This article is inspired by a suggestion/request that we received on our Facebook page. The topic suggestion was: “Travelling to a dance event: What to bring and what to leave at home. What you would never think to bring but will be happy to have once you’re at the event.”

These are a few of our travel essentials, which you may not have thought of. When we fly to an event we can’t bring all of these things, so the list is divided up based on type of travel.

If you have good suggestions to add, please comment!!


Outlet extender

When was the last time you shared a hotel room and there were enough plug-ins for everyone’s mobile devices, laptops, hair appliances, etc? This is a must-have particularly if you’ve got more than two people in your room.

Portable speakers

Sure, you hear a lot of music all weekend in the ballroom. But to relax in the room and/or host a room party, you need some portable speakers to plug in your mp3 player.

Fast-drying microfiber hair towel

Fast-drying microfiber hair towel

Fast-drying hair towel

This takes care of a few common problems, including hotels not providing enough towels, towels not being changed when you need them to be, towel-hog roommates, and convenience. This is an example of a fast-drying hair towel like Maria uses–she found hers at Beddington’s.

Plastic camping lunch set

This is a must-have if you make most of your own meals in the hotel room, like Maria does. It’s also useful if you tend to get stuck in the ballroom for hours waiting for competitions. It’s healthier and cheaper than eating every meal all weekend in a restaurant, and for people with food allergies like Maria it may be the most practical way to stay fed during a dance event. Maria found her “Light My Fire” set at Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC). She uses the main case to carry sandwiches with her. The big bowl is for her breakfast and the small one is for nuts and dried fruits. The case also includes a “spork” and cutting board. MEC and stores like it have a variety of similar kits.

Sweat towels

To avoid walking around with a make-up streaked white hand towel from your hotel room, bring a few darker coloured towels for your dance bag.

Collapsible cooler bag

Collapsible cooler bag

Collapsible cooler bag

It’s not always possible to get a fridge in the hotel room, but if you’ve got perishables like yogurt or sandwich meat, this will save the day. Keep a big ziplock baggie inside of it, fill the baggie with ice, and pack your perishables in the cooler. Here’s one of the style that Maria uses.

Healthy snacks

It can be really difficult to eat well during dance weekend events–even moreso if you have food restrictions. Always pack healthy snacks so that you won’t be tempted by easy (junk) food available at hotel shops. These are a few of our stand-bys:

  • Raw nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews)
  • Dried fruits (apricots, figs)
  • Maria’s gluten-free granola (for inexpensive and healthy in-room breakfasts)
  • Healthy snack/protein bars
  • Dark chocolate (Lindt is our favourite brand)
  • Tea bags and/or healthy drink mixes

When we fly in to events, we always try to find a nearby grocery store to add fresh fruit and dairy to this list.

Extra bags

Whether you use them for shoes, groceries, sweaty clothes, or new purchases, you can’t go wrong bringing some extra shopping bags, ziplock baggies, and shoe bags.


Sewing kit, bandaids, anti-chafing stick, nylon sockettes, safety pins, pain killers, emergency toiletries, tissues, travel-sized deodorant for your dance-shoe bag, lint roller, clear bra straps, costume tape…

When We Drive


Taking your own food and preparing most of your own meals in the hotel room saves money and is much healthier than eating two or three meals a day in restaurants. It’s also helpful logistically–at dance events, you can be stuck in the ballroom for long hours without a chance to get food, and attendees tend to flood hotel restaurants all at once, making it difficult to get service. In addition to our “Snacks” above, when we’re driving, these are some food items we take:

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Sandwich meat
  • Bread/bagels
  • Fresh fruit
  • Smoked turkey pepperettes (from Costco)

Mobicool portable electric cooler

Electric cooler with AC converter

This brilliant invention makes it easy to bring all of your own food to an event. Maria has a Mobicool version that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter, and then into an AC adapter for the hotel room. (Available at Canadian Tire)

Your own pillow

It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep at a dance event. Sometimes you run on just a few hours a night–so you might as well make those precious hours comfortable. Nothing helps to fall asleep in a foreign bed as well as your own pillow!

You can, for that matter, bring your own towels and other creature comforts–but it makes for more things to forget to pack home.

Food preparation items

Although we don’t bring microwaves, toaster ovens, or crock pots, we know people who do–and they prepare full delicious meals in their hotel rooms.