How to Save Money When Touring as a Band
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How to Save Money When Touring…
As I touring musician myself, I notice a lot of other artists (both newbies and veterans alike), making some big mistakes while on the road. The biggest one is wasting their money. These are some of the tricks I figured out over the years that add up to big savings…and big savings usually means I can afford to tour more. To give you an idea of my experience, I’ve had over 1800 live performances in the last ten years and toured over 36 out of 50 U.S states just in the last two years of my music career (while managing other acts too)! So I gues syou could say I know a thing or two about touring! Anyway, enjoy and feel free to share your own touring secrets below!
Food/Drink: One of the most expensive parts of touring is the food. Rather than blowing your money at the bar (which can lead to dehydration) or sit-down restaurants, find ways to curtail your food and drink needs on the cheap. For example, pack non-perishable foods or snacks before you leave for tour. Gas stations might be convenient, but prices are generally marked up an extra 30% compared to Walmart or Target. Go to grocery stores on your time off to find ways to do your own cooking and stock up on bottled water. Get advice from locals or hop onto yelp.com to find good cheap eats in whatever town you’re in (there are many better options than McDonald’s or Burger King). Stuff like trail mix fights hunger and is relatively healthy.
Fuel: Use your cellphone to do research on where the cheapest gas stations are or create a list from http://www.gasbuddy.com of your tour route ahead of time. Of course, a well-running vehicle with properly inflated tires will save you more money than the pennies from each gallon by switching stations so get your ride checked up before you head out.
Roadside Assistance: Skip AAA or the other auto memberships. Instead, get roadside assistance from your cell phone provider. With Verizon, it’s only $4/month which ends up being about the same price per year as a AAA Gold membership. However, you can turn the option on and off…so I only have it active when I’m on tour. It’s a good value to have, even new rental cars get flat tires.
Free Internet: Thankfully, Starbucks started offering free wifi in most of their locations but if you are ever in an odd stop without an internet cafe, try parking in a motel or cheaper hotel. They generally offer free, unsecured access. In my band, we used to stop at every Holiday Inn while on tour and sleep in their parking lot, borrow internet, and use their bathrooms to get ready. We’d stay in the lobby and even take a swim in the pool. None of the hotel staff dared to question us since we pretended that we belonged there.
Lodging: Speaking of hotels, if you can rough it then just do so. It doesn’t pay off to waste money on budget motels when you can take turns sleeping in a van or ask the locals for a floor to crash on. In fact, many venues will let you stay the night there if you need a safe place to get some rest. Camping is free in most national parks and if you can’t find a fan you can stay with, try http://www.couchsurfing.org/
What are some of the things you do to save cash on the road?