● PLAN AHEAD! Do the math. Estimate how much the cost of gas, food expenses, and sleeping arrangements will be. You don’t want to be stuck hoping you make enough money from a gig so you can eat a burger off of the McDonald’s $1 menu or need to pass a jar to get gas money home. Work out a budget with your band and how expenses will be divided among members.
● Rent a van! You don’t need to try and cram yourselves into that old, rusty mini-van your mom used to drive you around in.
● Hotels aren’t necessary. If you plan your sleeping arrangements ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and a lot of last-minute stressing.
- BetterThanThe Van is a site that connects bands with “hosts”- nice people who live in the town you’ll be playing in that will let you sleep on their couch for free!
- CouchSurfing is a social network for travelers similar to BTTV, but not specifically aimed at bands. Another free option.
- AirBnB, though it costs you some money, is often times cheaper than a hotel or even a motel. People list out rooms in their homes for nights and single-week long rentals. If you’re lucky it might be a whole place to yourself. Cost depends on the owner, but this is another friendly option.
- Got a lot of followers on social media? Use it to your advantage! Hit up your fans on social media and find those who are willing to let you crash at their place for the night.
● Create a driving schedule. Having someone drive who is too tired, or intoxicated is never safe and accidents can easily be avoided with responsibility. Depending on how long the tour is or how far away dates are, split up driving hours amongst members. Set specific day shifts and night shifts to make it fair for everyone.
● If you have merch sell it! And use the money wisely. This could be used towards “emergency funds”, or gas, food, etc. but don’t count on this to pay your way. You don’t want to be one t-shirt sale short of the cost of a room! Decide how profits will be used and stick to it.
● You never know when something outrageous will happen. Flat tires, engine trouble, even van break-ins are all things that have happened before. Be prepared. Do some research and make a list of car-repair services for each date, have an emergency fund, and also make a list of emergency care centers or hospitals. People get sick, accidents happen, you don’t want to be scrambling to find out where to take someone who needs help.
● Speaking of break-ins, help prevent this by keeping your stuff secure. If you’re leaving your gear in your van or trailer, try to back up/park against walls so it is harder to open the back door. If you have another car, use that to block it in. Keep your windows covered at night so no one can see what you might have in there. Park where it’s well lit. If you really want to, give someone “night guard” duty. Have a member or two stay in the van for the night. Your vehicle is less likely to be broken into if someone is inside of it.