In this Tour Tips segment, Chris McComb, from the Canadian country band, River Town Saints, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:
1. A key thing to do when you're touring is to set up a reserve fund – anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000. I'm always watching where my personal finances are going, and I also manage the band's finances. Your band may get a sweet opening slot for a big artist but you're not going to get paid a whole lot. You’re going to want to try and budget out your tour as much as you can. A lot of expenses are unpredictable, but most things you can plan for. Set up a per diem for each band and crew member (around $30-$40/day), so they can budget and can plan for meals.
2. The next thing is booze. Sometimes you just have to say no to the hooch. Being on the road can sometimes be a party. Sometimes you'll find parties; sometimes the party will find you. Sometimes when you're just trying to do the right thing and go to bed, the party just follows you home. Sure, it's a great time in the moment, but when you are on the road, performing at your peak should be the priority over having a beer after the show. It's very much part of the culture but try eliminating the booze. Your body will thank you and you will have way more energy.
3. Make sure you have a phone charger and an extra phone charger. You don't want to be borrowing your bandmates' chargers and you also don't want to buy them at gas stations because the costs add up quickly. Another thing you should consider is a multi-outlet 12-volt charger than connects to your vehicle's cigarette lighter. You're going to have multiple band members needing to plug in phones, but don’t plug in more than two at a time because it could blow the fuse. Make sure that you have an ample amount of charging options because if you're not driving, you're probably going to be doing your band's social media or editing videos on your phone or connecting with fans while scrolling through Instagram, so make sure you can always keep your phone charged.
4. You're going to want to have an excellent data plan for your phone. It's easier now to find plans with 40-50 GB or even unlimited data, but a few years ago, I ran into problems where I thought my plan was enough, and then at the end of the month, I'd get a bill that had $150 additional charges. So even if it costs an extra 10 bucks a month, if you're going to use your data regularly, which you know you will, you might as well get more data on your plan because it will save you money in the long run.
5. Lastly, bring along a good set of headphones. I personally use the Apple AirPods Pro. After you've been on tour for a while with your bandmates, you will get sick of each other. Of course, you're all still buddies, but sometimes you just have to stop talking to each other because there's just nothing more to talk about. Put on your headphones and just pretend you're sleeping. That might be the break you need for your own mental health to get through the next couple of days of tour.