When a band sets out on its first road tour (see Getting Bands Out of Their Own Back Yards and Advance Marketing for Touring), it may be solely focused on ensuring that it has all the necessary gear that it will need. There are, however, a few more items that a band should consider before heading down the highway.
While it may cause some folks to feel as though they have taken a leap backwards to the days of Kindergarten, it is important to label everything that a band plans to take on the road. Every single cable, every mic, every small piece of gear needs to be labeled in such a way as to deter thieves and misunderstandings with other acts. Even when gear will be packed into travel cases, every component should bear a label.
If the band will be taking its merch table the table itself and all accessories need to be labeled with the band’s name.
Once the gear has been addressed, there are some other important items that should be packed, as well. The first of these is a first aid kit that contains bandages, analgesics, anti-diarrheal medication, pain relievers and antacids. Band members should also ensure that they have enough of any prescription medication they take regularly or that they may need in certain urgent situations, such as an inhaler for asthmatics. If possible, those band members who wear glasses or contacts should pack a spare pair.
Phone and personal digital device chargers are important, but frequently forgotten when packing, so putting those on the checklist can save the unnecessary hassle of finding replacements in strange cities.
Other items that can be of significant benefit on the road are a high-powered flashlight and a portable alarm that emits a loud, piercing sound, and that can be hung on the inside of a hotel room door, or even on doors to the van or truck that holds equipment. Even if the band has a GPS unit (or a cellular phone that includes GPS), a paper map or up-to-date atlas can be very helpful.
Finally, each band member should have a copy of the tour itinerary that includes contact information for every venue, and that includes a page that lists phone numbers for other members of the band, as well as one contact back home for each band member. The phone numbers stored in a cell phone will be lost if the phone itself goes missing, so such a list can be extremely important.