I bet you’re itching to get back out there on the road. And who could blame you? This past year has thrown us for a loop, and while it’s taught us new ways to connect with our audience, or given us the downtime we needed to recharge and reset, after a while, there’s nothing like the open road and the feeling of getting to see new cities, meet new fans, and spend every day doing what you love.
But unless you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to touring, odds are you still find yourself getting a little overwhelmed when it comes time to pack for tour, and you probably find yourself all too often kicking yourself for forgetting something essential after you’ve hit the road.
Today, we’re looking at some of the essentials to bring with you on your next tour to make sure that it’s the best experience possible. Because you don’t want anything getting in the way of this experience!
I know this one seems obvious, but take some time to consider the basics—a good pair of shoes, socks, different outfits for the stage, toothbrush, chargers, headphones, sweatshirt, etc.
Also, instrument essentials like picks, batteries, tuners, strings, pedals, and anything else you need to make sure that things run smoothly. Don’t forget, a few backups of the smaller essentials probably wouldn’t hurt.
Then there’s things like extra chargers or battery packs, vitamins, and so on.
There’s a fine line here between overpacking and being prepared, so weigh your options and only take what you need. For instance, if your suitcase is getting full, ask yourself if you really need both kinds of hair gel. Or if maybe you can wear the same shirt every night at the show as a sort of tour tradition, or if there’s just one pair of shoes for the stage that you can take instead of five (shoes take up SO much room!)
Make a list in your phone ahead of time and check items off as you pack, so you don’t leave anything behind.
The comforts of home
It helps to have a little something from home, especially if it’s your first time out or you’ll be gone for a while. For instance, your partner’s sweatshirt, your lucky scarf, your favorite water bottle, a comfy pillow or blanket. You don’t want to overpack, but you also want to set yourself up for feeling your best every day and sometimes that means splurging a bit in the things that make you comfortable, so don’t be afraid to take one or two things that remind you of home and make you smile. So even on the toughest days, you have a piece of home.
Exclusive tour merch
Before you hit the road, you should make sure you have a limited run of exclusive merch that fans can only buy on tour. This is super important to making each show (and the tour as a whole) a memorable experience for your fans. If they can only get a certain t-shirt or item if they come out to the show, it’s not only more likely to get them to the show, but it will make them feel a part of something special, long after the show is over.
You always want to be creating an experience for your fans and helping them to feel like they’re part of something, and showing them your gratitude for supporting you on tour is just one way to build that trust.
All your favorite foods
Yes, of course you’ll be able to eat on the road, stopping at restaurants and grocery stores, but if you have a favorite non perishable item you can’t live without, you might want to stock up because as you’re traveling across the country you’re likely to find that not every region carries your favorite protein bar or bag of chips. Plus, you don’t want to have to rely on constantly stopping or trying to navigate different stores to find what you’re looking for. If you can, stock up on those essentials so you always have them in the van.
To make sure you’re not missing anything, make a list of some of your favorite snacks and must-haves (IE: granola bars, dried fruit, chips, candy, energy or flavored drinks, nuts, etc)
You have a lot of free time on tour. Bring something to keep you busy even when there’s no internet connection like a book, notebook, video game, or those fun little mini-games we used to play when we were kids on long car trips.
An acoustic guitar
File this under “things you’ll probably end up doing while in the car.” It’s good to be able to pass the time, brainstorm, and turn to when inspiration strikes. Bonus points if it’s a little bit older or beat up, so you can really toss it around and play with it, without worrying you’re going to break it before the show that night.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.