The question on everyone's mind right now: What to pack for tour? For rookies, it's a time of mass confusion. How big of a bag do I need? How many pairs of socks and shorts? For vets, it's a time to figure how many free day clothes can they can pack without sacrificing practice clothes.
I am known to be one of the fastest people to get ready after practice. I'm always ready, never late. I've never felt rushed to get ready, after all being late causes me to have what I call "time anxiety." I get high anxiety when I know I might be late for something, besides, on tour those few extra minutes really add up. Here are a few categories that are often overlooked as time savers that can help to conserve time and allow you to have a moment to yourself before the chaotic calm of show warmup begins: Shower time Walk as fast as you can to the shower after practice, before dinner. Please don't run, especially if you're one of those people who refuse to run to your set during rehearsal or, if you're like me, can barely run for 10 minutes each morning. If you shower fast enough you won't miss dinner and will miss the rush to the showers. Two-in-one shampoo is a must. Ladies, I know that the idea of a two-in-one may scare you, but trust me, it saves time and your hair doesn't care. Wash your face and brush your teeth in the shower. Sounds a little gross but it's not. Suitcase organization Some swear by the bagged outfit method -- each sports bra and short set are matched up and placed in a zip-lock bag for easy finding. I never thought this idea would work for me. All my rolled clothes are divided into areas of my suitcase. I pick each item from the area and I'm ready. The Pillowcase I know what you're thinking: My pillowcase matters? Yes, I consider my pillowcase a vital part of tour. Pack your pillowcase with your post-show attire, which in my case was my practice clothes for the next day and my bus clothes because the bus is always cold. You always know where your pillow is, and therefore always are ready to change immediately after the show. New school arrival I never slept on an air mattress on tour. They are loud and take to long to blow up, by my standards. If you are allowed to bring an air mattress on tour and you're one of the last people to get into the gym, PLEASE blow it up in the hallway. As soon as I found my spot to unroll my sleeping bag, I went into preparation mode. Everything I needed for the next day would be lined up right by my bag: My sneakers with a pair of socks, flip-flops for breakfast time, field bag and water bottle. Laura Rockman used to fill up her water jug when she arrived at a new school, another smart idea. Break time As sad as this sounds, roll your sleeping bag during lunch and start packing your pillow and getting everything ready for the shower. If you don't think you'll have anytime during lunch, roll your sleeping bag after breakfast. These tips are sure to help you save some time during the season. I always used my extra time to call a friend, do my show makeup or relax. Everyone needs a little extra time, and despite what my corps director might say, sometimes you really can use a McFlurry before a show. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard. Past columns by Becky Novac: Thanks for calling Passing it on Unforgettable The Biggest group project My Aria interview Life outside the bubble A day filled with intangible rewards Traditions make drum corps complete The Art in what we do Hockey, alumni and Valentine's Day Dates Everyone needs goals Adapting Turning pro Wondering about the "kids" Resolutions It's the little things A Rock star Remembering the passion Banquet weekend Missing out Unknown suitcase adventures The Even years