This new set of Tour Tips was written by the indie rock band, War Games. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
One of the most important factors of touring is preparation. I’ve definitely found that out over my years of being on the road. From twelve day runs in Chevy Malibu’s, to working the Vans Warped Tour in a fully equipped tour bus. The road will often present itself with many situations in which you wished you had planned better. Don’t get me wrong, it’s left me with the greatest experiences, but has also at times provided some of the most stressful and rather uncomfortable moments of my life. The majority of my touring days have been spent travelling in a van and trailer, a notoriously uncomfortable form of travel for long distances. Here’s some things I’ve learned which you can take on board to make those rough times run a little smoother.
Tip one – Pack small and smart. Make sure when you’re packing up and getting ready to leave, you have things essential to your and your tour mate’s comfort. Be considerate of the space your bags will take up, because, on long rides, leg room is necessary. Always bring a pillow and sufficient sleeping bag, because you never know when sleeping plans could change last minute. For example; I was on a short run with my band War Games, and we had previously had all of our sleeping situations worked out. I decided to not heed my own advice, thinking “I’ll be fine, we are staying inside hotels and with friends”. This was true until 3 days into the tour when our van died. Long story short, we slept in the van at an AutoZone parking lot for four days. So please, learn from my mistake and bring a pillow and sleeping bag along with you.
Tip two – Beware of convenience stores. I say this because they are full of delicious, tempting treats. Money is usually in very short supply on tour, and before you know it, you could be broke and surrounded by a bunch of food wrappers. This is no fun or use to anyone. So before you leave, try to stock up on waters and cheap snacks to hold you over during some long drives.
Tip three – This could be a lifesaver for you and your tour family. Baby powder and baby wipes on tour are like a godsend. After playing your heart out for 4 nights in a row without being able to take a shower, you can imagine the variety of smells that will begin to follow you. A great way to help stop/conceal this issue is baby wipes! Nobody in your van wants to smell the stink coming off of your bits! So make sure to wipe and clean, your bits and pits! Baby powder is a great way to prevent rashes and dirty hair and does a great job of absorbing unwanted moisture from your body, which is also very important.
Tip four – Get some sleep! This is very important if you are a vocalist of a band, but equally important for everyone especially if you split driving shifts. Yes, most bands drive themselves along this crazy spider web we call the highway system. On a tour like The Warped Tour in a van, this is even more important. When you’re not driving or co-piloting, you should be sleeping. There’s nothing more dangerous than driving a van and trailer through the mountains when you can’t keep your head up and eyes on the road.
Finally, tip five – Be considerate to your band mates. It’s hard enough living in an apartment or house with 3 or 4 of your closest buddies, now shrink that living space down to the inside of a van, and eliminate 90% of your privacy. Still think it’s easy? I’m not disputing that touring is a beautiful and wonderful thing, a bonding experience. But as humans, everyone has bad days and so it’s important not to sweat the small stuff. You’re going to argue and disagree, that’s normal. The best thing to do is listen to each other, just like a marriage, you need to make sacrifices to make it work.
I hope reading this has given you a little insight into tour life, and that you will take these suggestions into consideration next time you hit the road. So remember; sleeping bag and pillow, beware of convenience stores, and bring baby powder and wipes, get some sleep, and be considerate of your band mates. These 5 tips should make life a little easier on the road. Keep touring and living the dream!!
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!