If you’re a performer, chances are that you’ll find yourself on tour at least once in your career, living on the road for weeks, months or even years.
Perhaps you’re a comedian, playing to a tough crowd in a different venue each night? An actor, travelling the length and breadth of the UK on a regional theatre tour? Maybe you’re a model, jetting out to Paris for Fashion Week? Or a musician, travelling the world to promote a new album?
Touring presents the same challenges, whatever kind of performer you are. Yes, you’re experiencing different places, you’re meeting different people – in the very best cases you’re travelling the world on the producer’s pay cheque! – but you’ll need to equip yourself to face up to some difficulties.
Here’s our handy guide to the most significant ones – and how to deal with them.
Life on the road means spending a significant time away from your loved ones. Music, theatre or comedy tours can last for months, and might even include travelling to other countries. Luckily, modern technology means that this doesn’t have to be a permanent break. Regular phone or Skype calls to your partners, friends or family can keep you sane – and remind you that there’s a world going on outside the confines of the tour bus.
Look after yourself
Touring is a marathon not a sprint, and you’ll need all the energy you can get! Unfortunately, food on the road tends to start with Cornish pasties from the petrol station and end (if you’re lucky) with a meal from the venue you’re playing at – or a microwave meal heated up in your digs after the show.
Try and add some fruit into your diet if you can: even the most understocked garage usually stocks bananas and apples, or cartons of juice. Try to find healthy snacks rather than sugary quick fixes – and do try to resist too many after show drinks! You won’t be able to sleep off a hangover if you’re up at 8am and on the road to the next venue. A handy bottle of A-Z vitamins won’t go amiss either.
Get out and about
Take time to explore the places you’re visiting. Whether it’s an afternoon at the local museum, a walk in the countryside or a pint in the local pub, we recommend researching the towns and cities your show is playing in beforehand.
Not only will this give you some much-needed head space, it means you’ll familiarize yourself with the surrounding area, and hopefully won’t make the mistake of mentioning the wrong town (or thanking the wrong audience) in your show.
A word of warning though – don’t be late for the bus to the next venue!
Lastly – and we think most importantly – don’t forget that, while touring can be difficult, it will also be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Don’t forget to record your travels, whether it’s with a diary, a camera or an Instagram account.
When you look back in ten years you won’t remember the late nights, uncomfortable beds and crisps for breakfast – you’ll remember the people you met, the sights you saw and the incredible shows you were part of.