Congrats, you’re going on tour! Before you leave, make sure you have everything you need to be your best possible self, all tour long.
You’ll want to pack enough clothing to last you around 7-10 days. Any more, and it’ll take up too much space. Any less, and you might get stuck wearing dirty clothes for awhile. Here’s what you need:
- Socks and underwear. (Pack extra!)
- 1 or 2 good pairs of shoes. (If you’re getting new ones, make sure to break them in early enough)
- Something comfy to sleep in,
- Pants: Try to only bring a few pairs. Make sure they’re ones that you can wear multiple times between washes (like jeans), and also bring something comfy (like leggings).
- Shirts: The weather will play a role in what type of shirts you’ll need. If you’re going to be in hot places, T-shirts and tank tops should make up most of your wardrobe (but bring something warm just in case). If you’ll be somewhere cooler, consider bringing mostly long sleeves, or short sleeves and a jacket. For longer tours or those that pass through multiple climates, bring clothing that’s easily layered and can be mixed and matched.
- Keep in mind: black is the best color for hiding stains!
These are some of the most important but often forgotten items you should bring! Don’t put yourself in a predicament, running to the store at an odd hour for one of these things:
- Earplugs: Trust me, you need these. They’re good both for falling sleep around other people, and for making sure you don’t lose your hearing at a young age.
- Hairbrush, hair ties, and any other hair-care items you need.
- Chapstick: Even if your lips “never get chapped,” you don’t want your first time to be on tour.
- Baby wipes. (It’s like a shower-in-a-can)
- Washcloths: Also good for the above purpose and for a quick face-washing
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Bring an extra set just in case someone forgets or you leave yours behind somewhere!
- Bath towel: Good for the rare occasion you can shower if you’re in a van and not staying at a hotel.
- Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap).
- Razors, if you need them.
- Dry shampoo.
- Tiny first aid/emergency kit: Bandaids, neosporin, melatonin, ibuprofen (or other pain medication), tweezers, something for upset stomachs, any other medication you might need.
- Tampons/pads, if you or someone may need these.
- Nail clippers: Good to have on longer tours, especially if you play an instrument where it helps to have short nails.
- Vitamin C (and any other vitamins you need).
- Sunscreen: Even if you don’t usually burn, it’s still a good idea to protect yourself from the sun if you’ll be out and about somewhere where the sun is lurking. (Even if it’s cold, remember that the sun can reflect off sand and snow!)
- Makeup (and makeup remover).
- Contacts (and solution/storage). (Bring extra if you can.)
- Anything else that’s part of your daily routine: Mentally walk through your daily morning and evening care routines, and see if there’s anything you absolutely need that isn’t already listed.
Convenience and Comfort
These aren’t necessarily needs, but you’ll definitely be better off with them than without!
- Portable charger: Once you get one of these, you’ll never want to go anywhere without one.
- A power inverter for the car: At the very least, you’ll want to be able to charge your phone while on the move. You can also get an inverter that turns your car port into a regular outlet, which can be super handy for charging laptops, camera batteries, or anything else that doesn’t charge from USB.
- Extra chargers: Odds are that you or someone else will lose or break a charger along the way, so do everyone a favor and bring at least one extra to avoid a last-minute stop.
- Pillow: Sleep is good, need I say more?
- Eye mask: See above.
- Reusable water bottle: Hydrate or die-drate. If you’re worried about tap water, find an option with a built-in filter.
- Snacks: Always good to have food options on-hand. Do your best to bring healthy/nutrient-dense options, like trail mix (mixed nuts, raisins, maybe a lil chocolate), peanut butter, or even baby carrots if you have a cooler.
- Trial-size laundry detergent: Worst-case scenario, you might have to wash your clothes in a sink. Use a bit of detergent, swish things around, and then squeeze it out and hang dry. Everything should be dry by morning except for jeans!
- Shower shoes: Just in case – you don’t know what’s been in there.
- Blankets: If it’s cold at night and you might be sleeping in your vehicle, make sure you have enough blankets to keep you all warm!
- Hand sanitizer: Avoid getting sick from dirty doorknobs and handshakes.
- Dryer sheets: Keep a few in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling as fresh as possible.
- Plastic bags: Both grocery bags and zipping bags can be useful for a variety of things – collecting waste, storing dirty clothes, compacting clothes for storage, etc.
- Toilet paper: Just in case.
- Sewing kit.
- Extra headphones/earbuds.
- Backpack/drawstring bag: Good for keeping all of the items you need on a daily basis organized and easily accessible. Also good for grab-and-go situations, like running to the shower.
If you’re going to a different country, there’s quite a few more things you’ll be needing:
- Passport: Obvious, but don’t leave home without it.
- Universal adapter: If you’ll be going somewhere with different outlets, don’t get caught off guard. Check ahead of time to see if you’ll need an adapter, and, if so, which type. Consider investing in an adapter kit if you’re planning to take on the world.
- International data: Maybe you’ll need a new SIM card, or maybe your cell plan covers travel! Either way, make sure you’ll be able to stay connected while abroad.
- Foreign currency: Always good to keep some cash on hand in the local currency. Also, make sure you know ahead of time whether you’ll be hit with foreign transaction fees with your card, as those are definitely not a fun surprise.
- Tourist pouch: A fanny pack is always a good option, but also consider an option that holds your valuables closer to your personhood (they might be a bit more fashionable/less noticeable too).
Anything you need for your job
This one is a bit open-ended, since each position on a tour is different, but here’s a few things to get you started:
- For photographers:
- Camera (duh)
- Extra SD card
- Extra camera battery
- Battery charger
- Laptop (for editing)
- Laptop charger (and possibly car charger-adapter)
- Lenses for low light (there’s always one venue that’s super dark for no reason)
- For merch:
- Plastic bins
- Credit card reader
- Cash box (or other secure storage place for money)
- Fanny pack (good to hold everything you may need)
- Extra cash for change
- Laminated stickies or masking tape for prices
- Something to display merch with (not every venue will have a rack, if that’s how you like to display merch)
- Clips/hangers (to help hang merch up for display)
- Something to help you keep track of what you’ve sold/inventory
- For artists:
- Stage clothes: If there’s something specific you like to wear on stage, make sure to bring it! If you’re trying to coordinate a look, make sure everyone in the group knows what’s up.
- Gear: You probably know what you need, but make sure you have it. Always bring extra cables if you can, as well as extra strings/sticks/picks. Better to have extra than to be short.
Other suggestions for that possibly-mythical extra space:
- Extra pillow case: not a need, but definitely nice to have, especially if you’re prone to greasy skin or will be away for more than a week or two
- Portable steamer: If you want to keep your clothes looking fresh, you can get a small steamer to bring with you and help keep your wardrobe wrinkle-free.
- Air mattress/sleeping bag/bedding items: If you’re going to be sleeping on floors, and you have some extra space in the van, bring something to make your sleep a little more comfortable. Air mattresses that aren’t too loud are a good option, as are sleeping bags, and (my personal favorite portable sleep option) foam mattress toppers.
- Film camera: Always fun to get some good pics throughout your travels!
You got this! If you’re going on a tour, that means that the world knows you’re ready. Hopefully you’ve got everything you need to take the road by storm, but if you happen to forget something, it’s not the end of the world. Stay calm, and have fun!
Did we forget something? Let us know in the comments!