We were very excited to travel to Las Vegas this summer for Piper’s dance nationals. Prior to this, we competed for four summers in Florida. Luckily, we’ve always been able to drive in years past, so we welcomed a trek to new territory!
Not being able to stack suitcases and bags and duffels galore in the back of my over-sized SUV had me in a bit of a panic.We always tend to throw stuff in the car on the day we leave … things we see that we’d forgotten about, but notice on the way out the door. Getting on a plane knowing I had to have EVERYTHING … it was daunting to consider.
For four years, we had relied on our Dream Duffel to keep us organized. Truthfully, I rarely even opened it between competitions – I just left it zipped and knew that everything was inside! If you don’t take anything out, then you know it’s still there, right?
Over time, I’ve had a small, medium, and large Dream Duffel. (Here’s my original Dream Duffel review when we got our small.) I sold my small after one season and regretted it immediately. Immediately, I say.
Rewind to June 2015.
Our flight to Las Vegas was on United Airlines. The medium duffel could be checked through as a normal piece of luggage. (Check your airline for size restrictions.) My plan was to take the costumes and dance shoes and place them in carry on bags, then take our clothes, toiletries, etc., and put that in the Dream Duffel. There was no way on God’s beautiful green earth that I was risking any airline losing that Dream Duffel complete with costumes. While the air staff took 3 days to locate the duffel in Tinbucktoo — we would be hung out to dry.
Then, ultimately … I decided that I really didn’t want to lug the big duffel all over Sin City. Plus, we were adding on a few days at the end of our trip which meant having to rent a car (truck/SUV) with a large enough cargo space to allow for the Dream Duffel, our luggage (4 of us), and the luggage for a set of grandparents (2 more people)!
See how this is adding up and becoming more overwhelming?
So, for a few days I lamented on how we might cope with not having a rack during competition. (We’ve never NOT had one.) Then I found out that we had 4 dances one day and 5 the next …. URGH! There was no way I wanted to handle quick changes without my best friend, the Dream Duffel.
One of the youngest girls on our team performed in just a few pieces and had the carry-on Dream Duffel. I had looked at it, talked myself in and out of it — many times. Then my best dance mom friend up and ordered one. She encouraged me to do the same. In my heart I know that this helps us both justify the purchase, and I fell right into the trap.
The carry on arrived with one day to spare and I was giddy to see if I could actually fit all 9 costumes into the bag just for this one trip. It took a bit of thinking, but I did it!
This duffel is roomy-er than you would think with it’s size. The Dream Duffel website says that you should be able to fit 1-3 costumes inside. For regular use, I’d guess that’s pretty accurate. You’d be hard-pressed to fit more than 4 in it with hangers and all.
To pack for our trip with 9 costumes, this is what I did:
1 – I put all of our costumes in gallon Ziploc bags. (If you have bigger costumes, then you could use the bigger ones.) I put everything needed for the piece in the bag except jewelry and shoes.
2 – Then, I put the bags in the bottom of the carry-on Dream Duffel. (Make sure all the air is out of the bags!)
3 – I folded the Dream Duffel garment bags just like they came when I got them – basically in quarters. I put them on top of the Ziploc bagged costumes.
4 – Finally, I put the hangers on top.
It worked great!!! I can’t say enough about this duffel. Although, this isn’t how you would want to use it every weekend, it worked awesome in a pinch! We plan to use this for our convention duffel (when we aren’t competing all of our group dances) or when we do an optional competition with just our solo or a few groups. We still have our large and medium duffels as well – I can make an argument to keep them all. They are fabulous and all of them are worth the price.
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