Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to wear down and vaccinations are making the rounds, many musicians are taking advantage and hitting the road. Since most artists make a majority of their money on tour, it is important to take this opportunity, but before you hop in the van, proper planning is essential. It’s a new world out there, and you need to do what you can to prepare for everything and keep yourself sane.
If you are planning on taking your music back on the road, then we are here to help. Read on for essential tips for smart packing, planning, and how to stay sharp in body and mind.
If you’re touring the country or taking an international trip, you’ll likely have a lot of outfits and accessories so it is important to plan ahead and make a list so you don’t leave anything behind. The longer you are away, the more luggage you will likely have, but you should keep your most essential items in a breakaway bag, which is a smaller carry-on that you keep with you at all times. You never know when your luggage could be lost by the airline or an issue could happen to your tour bus, so the breakaway bag could be a lifesaver.
In addition to necessary medications and your lucky guitar pick, make sure that you use this extra bag to store your identification. Before you leave, verify that your driver’s license and passport are up to date and keep them on you at all times. It is also a wise idea to keep a copy of the addresses to any hotels and venues on your person at all times so you are never lost when you need it most.
While most musicians will likely pack comfortable clothes or their stage outfits, it is important to keep in mind that not all cultures will appreciate your wardrobe, especially if you are going overseas. For instance, in England, people tend to dress a bit snazzier than we do in the United States, so your sweatpants may not impress them how you’d like. Research your landing spots before you leave and pack accordingly.
Traveling on the road for a long period can be hard on the mind and body, especially if you have gigs planned daily. Staying healthy is essential. Even though you won’t be in one place for long, you should still make it a habit to eat well. Focus on high-protein foods like nuts and fish that will keep you lean and naturally energized. Exercise is important too. Even if you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, you can still do plenty of exercises with small hand weights or nothing at all, including squats, push-ups, crunches, and many other moves that will get the blood flowing.
While physical health is important, mental strength is just as important when on the road, especially if you are traveling solo. You need to keep your spirits up, so make it a point to call home every day and talk via video chat whenever possible so you can see the people you love like you were there in person. If you are ever feeling down or anxious, utilize technology to get the support that you need. With the touch of a button, you can use a telehealth app to talk to a mental health professional face to face and get the support that you need.
Even though life on the road can be a blast, do your best to party in moderation. Drinking to excess can be especially dangerous because it can leave you dehydrated, and over time, it can lead to serious ailments, including heart and liver disease. A drink here and there is fine, but if you are thirsty, hydrate with water instead.
Before you head out on your trip, you must solidify all of your arrangements and have a contingency plan in place just in case. When it comes to lodging, it is a good idea to call the hotel ahead of time or earlier that day to make sure that your room is still available, so you don’t show up exhausted only to find that there is no longer an open room. If you do find yourself in a hard spot, then consider using an online lodging app like Hostelworld or Couchsurfing, where you can find somewhere else to stay on short notice.
It is also a good idea to verify your bookings before you head to the venue or at least call ahead of time and make sure there aren’t any big changes that require an adjustment on your end. If your pay depends on how many people you get in the door, then you will want to do plenty of promotion the day of the show. You can spread the word by sending press releases to radio stations in the area, and you can buy ads on social media that will get people in that area excited.
If your only source of income while you’re on the road is the cash you earn at your shows, then it is a smart idea to have a second income stream in place, which could be essential if your shows are canceled. Many musicians have side gigs to bring in extra cash that can include anything from giving online music lessons to freelance writing. Consider adding in some side work during your downtime for that financial safety net.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you take your musical act on the road, but with the proper preparation, you can have a relaxing and successful trip. Consider the tips above and have a prosperous 2022.