Packing for Jacksonville

Traveling has become increasingly more expensive over the last few years, I can still remember when most airlines checked your luggage for free and gave out complimentary meals. Most of you are coming to Jacksonville for over a week (attending Mrs. Finals) so you will have a lot of luggage. Last year I brought 6 bags! (Side note- I roomed with one of my coaches and Miss Texas International, so imagine the size of the taxi we needed to fit all of our bags!)

It is a rule of thumb in pageantry to take all of your competition wardrobe on as a carry-on, no matter the size; even those big ball gowns! What would happen if your luggage was lost before competition? (It has happened, in fact, I think it happened last year to a Mrs. Contestant)

I then designated a bag just for shoes, I recommend if possible, to bring shoes that can go with a multitude of outfits so that you don't have to bring that many! My next bag was just for jewelry, and it was a hard case suitcase and each piece was wrapped in bubble wrap! The last thing you need is a broken Stefanie Somers earring! (Although, if this does happen, I am quite handy with crazy glue, so feel free to come to me with emergencies!)

It is important to distribute weight evenly, so I put my heavy autograph cards in with lightweight items, such as pajamas, undergarments, hair extensions, and donations for the PACE CENTER. Depending on how long your flight is, you might want to have your makeup and a change of clothes to freshen up before your "arrival" at the hotel. Paula Preston does a fantastic job of capturing these moments, so you'll want to look nice. Who knows? You might even run into a judge!

You'll want to make good use of the space in the hotel room, call in advance if you need a steamer or extra hangers! My roomie last year bought sticky hooks that she hung all of her dresses up by! It was such a great idea! When she was done, she just peeled the hooks off the wall with zero damage! Remember to steam all of your dresses in your room prior to bringing them backstage and don't forget to bring your makeup and hair tools in your backstage kit if you are doing your own hair and makeup, if you have singed up with Thomas Dunn studios, you have nothing to worry about, they have everything to touch you up in their hair and makeup room backstage!

Another side note for backstage- if at all possible, keep your stuff as neat as you can, you will not be able to leave your stuff overnight, so it's easier and faster to pack up if you stay organized! You should also label everything with your name or title, I used garment bags that I had embroidered with my name last year so that my stuff wouldn't get confused with anyone else's!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014


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