This new set of Tour Tips was written by the indie pop rock band, Donora. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
1) Eat when you have the chance. – If a venue offers you a free meal, eat it. If you stop at rest stop, but don’t really like the food options, eat something anyway. When you’re at a gas station or near a grocery store, stock up on snacks. This may seem like silly advice, but you really never know when you’re going to be able to eat on tour. Soundcheck might run late and you might not get a chance to find dinner before you play. Or you could be heading to the next city with plans to eat before the show and you might get stuck in stand-still traffic for 3 hours (and the vending machines at the only rest stop you pass might be all sold out). You know, hypothetically. Basically, it comes down to this: If you don’t eat, you’re hungry. And if you’re hungry, you’re cranky. And nobody likes a cranky bandmate on tour.
2) Pack a quick dry camping towel. – When you play in an indie band, you’re probably not staying at the Ritz every night on tour. In fact, most of the time, you’re staying with a friend. Or a friend of a friend. Or a friend of a friend’s cousin. And you just never know what the bathroom situation is going to be like. Best case? See tip number 4. Worst case? You’re showering in the only bathroom of a 5 bedroom apartment rented by 5 college guys. I shudder at the thought. For this reason, you should always be prepared with your own towel. Sure, you can bring your regular fluffy bath towel from home, but if you don’t have the luxury of waiting 4 hours for your towel to air-dry, you’re going to have a moldy-smelling towel by day 3. If you’re a girl, you should also pack some dry shampoo. Some bathrooms are just too bad to actually use.
3) Invest in a nice single air mattress. – This tip goes along with tip 2. You just never know what the sleeping situation is going to be like. But when you’ve got your surprisingly comfortable single air mattress with you, you always know that a good night’s sleep is waiting for you. No extra bedroom? No extra couch? No carpeted floor? No problem. You can sleep in kitchens and dining rooms and hallways, all very comfortably.
4) Stay with your friend’s parents. – If you’re sick of sleeping on an air mattress or showering in less than desirable bathrooms, then this tip is one you should focus on. Stay with parents as often as you can while on tour. Parents love to take care of you. They will cook you breakfast. They will give you snacks for the road. They will have spare bedrooms. They will have nice (clean!) bathrooms. They will drive you to an Urgent Care when you’re sick and keep you company while you wait for the doctor. Because that’s what parents do. So whenever a friend tells you that his parents live in Philadelphia if you ever need a place to crash, make sure you get that phone number right away.
5) Splurge for a nice van and keep it clean. – Sometimes you’ll have downtime on tour, and sometimes you’re tired and don’t feel like sight-seeing. If you’ve listened to tip 4, you should be set up in a nice spare bedroom where you can watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. If you aren’t so lucky, you might have to just hang out in the van. So make sure the van is nice. And try to keep it clean. You can always hang out in there and watch Breaking Bad on your laptop (maybe you even get a fancy van that has a dvd player in!) or nap or read or listen to a podcast. It can get kind of smelly in there (all of those people in one confined space every day) so make sure to throw out the trash often and don’t leave food in there! A clean van is a happy van and a happy van is where you want to hang out.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!