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Essentials and More: What to Pack When Traveling to a Dance Competition


It’s hard to travel. It’s hard to have little dancers. It feels nearly impossible to combine the two!

Yet, we’re all gearing up to do it weekend after weekend during dance competition season. Soon, packing up your gear and essentials will be a no-brainer. For those first few out-of-town competitions, however, I compiled a MUST HAVE list of dance competition essentials.

Competition Clothing
When my daughter competes in multiple routines at a competition, I grab a big Ziploc bag and put the shoes, tights, and costume together and label it for the dance and time/day of performance. This helps me avoid rummaging through the suitcase and gives me peace of mind that my husband or friend can get my daughter dressed and ready in the event I get stuck somewhere else!

  • Dance Shoes – Be sure to have every pair: ballet, tap, jazz.
  • Dance Costumes
  • Dance Tights
  • Coordinating Hair Accessories

Extras for the Competition 

  • Extra tights — Better to be prepared in the event of a rip!
  • Warm-up clothes — I usually bring leg warmers and a zip-up hoodie sweatshirt. Zip-up hoodies are perfect to prevent messing up her hair and makeup, and leg warmers are much easier to get on and off than sweatpants.
  • Sewing kit — to fix unexpected tears or falling-down straps.
  • Safety pins
  • Static guard
  • Hair and Make-Up
    Pro tip: always bring an extra of everything! I love to be overprepared and offer help to other dance moms who forgot something — we’ve all been there!

    • Make-up
      • Blush
      • Mascara
      • Eyeshadow
      • Eyebrow Pencil
      • Lipstick
      • Glitter (if applicable)
    • Hair Accessories
      • Hair Elastics
      • Gel
      • Hairspray
      • Paddle Brush 
      • Bristle Brush
      • Barrettes
      • Bobby Pins – as many as you can pack!
      • Hair Nets

    Other Essentials

  • Towels — these a multi-taskers! Use them to drape over a costume for make-up touch-ups, or wipe sweat in-between dances.
  • Hand Wipes/Baby Wipes — keeps dancers hands clean, and useful for cleaning up after eating!
  • First-Aid Kit — seriously, someone somewhere will need a bandage!
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • SNACKS — every variety! Granola bars are great to get some actual nutrients and carbs into your dancer, and they're also low-mess. Foods to avoid: Chocolate, oranges (the juice stains!), and anything red! Stick with clear drinks, fruit snacks, granola/protein bars, raisins, or dry cereal.
  • Entertainment — books, iPads (and a charger!), coloring pages
  • What are some of your must-haves in your competition bag?