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Travelling to dance at events in other swing dance scenes is a great way to improve your dancing, meet other dancers, and have an all around fantastic time.  There is an energy at these events that can’t really be matched by staying in your home town all the time.  Picking the right event for you can take some time–do you want a workshop weekend focused on improving your skills in a particular dance? Do you want an exchange weekend full of partying?  Do you want to see/participate in competitions?  Do you want to try to jam all three of those things into one weekend and test your stamina?  Once you’ve decided which event is for you all that’s left is packing the essentials and getting yourself to your event.

I’m sharing my personal packing list to give you an idea of the basics you’ll need for a one weekend event.  Packing light (but smart) is really the way to go, especially if you are flying to your destination.  I know a swing dancer who only ever brings a carry on for weekends away–which you can certainly manage.  You might think the number of shirts/socks is high–but if you’re at a weekend with classes during the day and dances at night you’re bound to sweat through your stash pretty quickly.  My usual budget is 2 shirts per day plus something more swanky for the dance at night.

Packing List for a 3 Day Workshop Weekend (warm weather):

Notes: This is my packing list for a weekend has 4 dances and lots of workshop classes.  I’m a woman (which you may or may not be able to tell based on the list…) but for the most part the things you need to bring are pretty similar.  Boys, make sure you bring your red lipstick.


  • -8 T-shirts
  • -8-10 Pairs of Socks
  • -6 Underwear (Don’t forget bras)
  • -2 Pairs of jeans (wear one for the trip)
  • -5 Button Up Shirts (to go with skirts/slacks)
  • -2 Dress Pants/2 Skirts (or 1 skirt one dress)
  • -4 Undershirts/Camisoles
  • -Pyjamas
  • -Swim Suit (if there’s a pool and you want to swim)
  • -Flip Flops (useful whether there’s a pool or not)
  • -2-3 pairs of dance shoes (One really comfortable flat pair for morning classes, and black/neutral dress shoes)
  • -Cardigan
  • -Hoodie


  • -Any medications (allergy, tylenol etc)
  • -Shampoo
  • -Conditioner
  • -Lotion
  • -Sunscreen
  • -Soap
  • -Shaver
  • -Shaving Cream
  • -Toothpaste
  • -Toothbrush
  • -Deodorant
  • -Hairbrush/Comb
  • -Hair Product
  • -Makeup Bag
  • -Face Wash

Miscellaneous:  Some of these are quite optional, but it depends on how much you *NEED* to be wired into the rest of the world.

  • -Phone, Netbook/Laptop, Camera, iPod/MP3 player and all chargers or adapters needed for any of the items from the list you decide to bring.
  • -Bobbypins, safetypins (these are universally useful items!)
  • -Hairclips, flowers, other accessories
  • -Snacks (I like to keep bananas on hand because the potassium helps prevent leg cramps)
  • -Alcohol/Mixer (Much cheaper than buying all your drinks at the bar!  Especially useful if the venue is the hotel you’re at)

Packing tips:

  1. -If you’re packing several pairs of dance shoes into your bag, consider putting socks in them (to keep their shape and to help be efficient with space use in your case).
  2. -Most hotels will provide you with an iron and ironing board, if you absolutely have to you can also hang garments and run the shower on hot to steam them if they get rumpled–but packing things by rolling them can help to prevent wrinkling in the first place.
  3. -You probably don’t need 25% of what you’re trying to jam into that suitcase so be ruthless about what you’ll bring and what will stay at home.

If you have any travel tips or additional items that are your must bring things for an out of town event please post them in the comments!  Happy travels everyone.

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