The Tennessee rock band, Bonaventure, have written some awesome tips for you guys to read. You can check them out after the break.
1. Label Your Belongings: When I say label your belongings; I’m not just talking about labeling your stage-equipment. It is smart to tag everything you are bringing on the road, because that awesome black-backpack you snagged at Target will without a doubt get mixed up in a sea of other awesome black-backpacks in the backseat of the van. It is much easier to identify something as your own with a bright pink tag hanging off of the zipper, rather than having to sift through headphones and dirty underwear, only to find that it isn’t yours. If you are traveling by airplane, it is also helpful to have all of your bags and equipment tagged, because we all know the heartbreaking sentiment of lost luggage. As far as stage equipment goes, you’ll also want to label just about everything. When you try to sell somebody on the idea that the Monster Cable or Shure SM 58 microphone that they are using is YOURS, you may be out of luck when just about everyone can claim ownership on the these items. By labeling everything, you avoid the awkward moment of having to lay blame on someone for stealing your stuff. Touring is all about camaraderie, and accusing someone of stealing your $14 cable is not the best way to promote this.
2. Keep Toiletries in Backpack: From my experience, this is one of the smartest preemptive moves you can make on the road. I know how miserable it is to lug your big hard-shell suitcase all the way across the Red Roof Inn parking lot just to catch a quick shower, so it is much easier to store your soap and shampoo in travel bottles in a backpack. If you do this, you can throw a clean pair of underwear and t-shirt in the backpack, and only roll into the hotel/tour-stay with one small bag. If you are on the road for an extended period of time, travel bottles might not suffice, so I suggest storing a larger container in your clunky hard-shell suitcase that stays in the van. When the travel bottle runs out, refill with the larger container in your suitcase. A simple move like this can save a lot of 3 AM-“I’ll just sleep in the van because I don’t want to drag my heavy suitcase into the hotel”-heartache.
3. Buy In Bulk: Sam’s Club and Costco exist for a reason: To Save Money! Take that $30 of iTunes money and invest in a membership at one of these stores. By buying in bulk before you leave for tour, you can save hundreds of dollars. Whether it be toiletries, bubble mailer, snacks, etc., you will most definitely save money if you are able to buy in bulk before you hit the road, rather than having to make frequent stops to buy things from a more expensive store like CVS or Walgreen’s. In addition to buying your personal belongings in bulk, it is also smart to buy your stage accessories in bulk before hitting the road. The difference in price between ordering a bulk package of strings vs. buying a single set of strings at Guitar Center when you are in desperate need is monumental. It may even be the difference between being able to afford In-N-Out when you hit the west coast. We all know how important this is.
4. Vitamins: There is nothing worse than coming down with a sickness on the road. You don’t have the liberty of a mother-made bowl of chicken noodle soup to warm you up, so the best way to avoid the poor-health blues is to take care of it before it’s too late. One of my favorite ways to prevent sickness is to come equipped with a bottomless supply of Airborne or Emergen-C. These can both be expensive, so like I mentioned before, buy in bulk. Make sure to hit your local Sam’s Club or Costco to stock up on either of these before hitting the road. The amount of germs spread through a small van by 7 people is crazy, so do what you can to protect yourself. Once you get sick, it is too late. With the minimal amount of sleep and nutrition you’ll get on tour, it often takes weeks to recover. Both Airborne and Emergen-C contain over 1000% of the daily value of Vitamin C your body needs, so do your immune system a solid and use these products regularly.
5. Bring an Extra Phone Charger: “Hey! That white iPhone charger is MINE!” How many times have we all heard this? Again, we can go back to my previous tip of labeling your items. ALL of your items. Who doesn’t have an iPhone these days? With that being said, we all have the same white wall-charger. When you have 7 people staying in a single hotel room, everyone is competing for an outlet. In the morning, it is easy to forget which charger is yours. After a few weeks of this on repeat, you will probably misplace a charger or two. Finding an Apple Store, or the time to sit around and wait at the Apple Store can be tough on tour, so come prepared with at least 2 phone chargers. There is nothing worse than having to borrow somebody else’s charger every time you need to refuel for a round of Angry Birds. Or having to spend your per diems on an overpriced phone charger instead of that deep-dish Giordano’s pizza in Chi-Town.