Well then. Let’s go on a rock’n’roll journey – through all the little bits and pieces you need to know if you want to travel cheap and practical. Unlike a tourist-trip, you have a different agenda and a different schedule to stick to. So these coming few months I’ll try to go through everything: booking flights, trains, buses, rental cars. Smartest and cheapest ways to choose accomodation. How to pack, what to bring, what not to bring, how to survive gigs at festivals or indoors and all that useful stuff if you want to travel to see your favorite bands.
So – let’s get this thing started.
The Rock’N’Roll Traveller (Part 2)
When you’re a rock’n’roll traveller, you will most likely have your share of being uncomfortable – either while waiting to get in to the gig (rain, cold, burning heat, or just standing for countless hours), or the pushing, shoving, jumping or standing in sweaty and over-excited crowds… Believe me, you want to feel as comfortable as possible for everything else, and that includes travelling light or choosing the right clothes or gadgets to make life ”on the road” easier for yourself.
The number one, most important thing is – comfortable shoes, fit for whatever you’re about to do (if it’s a summer festival, sneakers, if it’s a summer festival with the classic bad ”it’s pissing down today” sort of weather – water-proof boots, rubber boots, whatever doesn’t leak water.
If it’s an indoor show, just wear something ”coushiny” that lets your feet rest on little clouds. I invested in a pair of Sketchers sneakers (http://www.skechers.com) and it’s the best way I could have spent my money. I was in New York City to see a show with Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) and Sebastian Bach at the Iridium, a jazz-club on Broadway, and after less than an hour of walking, I felt like my feet were gonna fall off. I desperately needed something that would keep me on my feet on my sightseeing-walk through the Big Apple.
Walked into one of the Sketchers stores near 42nd St in New York, tried my way through a bunch of different styles and models, explained to the sales-girl exactly what I needed it for and what kind of ”feel” I was after. Use their knowledge, they know their product range and can pick out the right type of shoe. I’m not going jogging and I’m not playing soccer either.
I got myself a feather-light sneaker that breathed and had a sole that was so soft and bouncy that it was like walking on little clouds! I heard freaking angel-choirs when I left the store wearing those sneakers! You will need it, cause if you want to save money, you’ll be walking a lot – at airports, from the hotel to the venue, at the venue – not to mention festivals, you won’t be doing much BUT walking..!
Food is another part of being comfortable, but as we all know, grabbing a bite at any airport is anything but cheap. So – eat something before you leave, something that isn’t too greasy, that doesn’t give you gas or make you smell bad (it’s a bonus if people around you at the gig don’t have to be subjected to your questionable extra-garlic-tzatziki smell).
Proteins fill you up, so try buying a few protein-bars in a sports-store, online or the nearest health-store or your regular store, depending on their assortment. It’s easy to take with you, it’s cheaper than airport food or even fast-food. It replaces a meal, comes in a variety of flavors, just choose your favorite. Easy to bring with you anywhere you go, and you never know when you’re going to need it. Breakfast at the hotel is usually expensive. A protein bar is enough to get you going in the morning with a big glass of water from the tap. Done!
I never go anywhere without protein bars or SOME kind of food in my carry-on.
Years ago I was stuck for 2 days at Heathrow airport in London because of what they called ”bad weather” (to a Swede it was two snowflakes…). I was sick, had no money, no food… I had used most of my money and I had been planning on eating on the plane. Not what happened…
Me and a few passengers that I met at the airport dug through our bags to find anything that would function as food, and put it all in a pile as an emergency ration. Somebody had a piece of chocolate, somebody an opened mini-bag och potato chips… We were all hungry, cause all we got from British Airways that first day was bottled water. If I had had the meal-bars in that situation, I would have been just fine. You learn from experience…!
The second option is nuts – peanuts or cashews fill you up. Avoid the salted ones if you can, it will only make you thirsty. Or if you still want chocolate, just opt for the ones that are snack-like, like Snickers or Kit-Kat. Beef Jerky is great, also easy to bring everywhere, fills you up but doesn’t make you bloated.
Just make sure you check with the country you’re travelling to if it’s a problem to bring meats in your carry-on (or checked-in baggage). Travel-bottle, folded plastic bottle is great, fill it with tap-water wherever you can amd save on expensive water- and soda bottles in stores and festivals.
As much as you love beer, avoid it if you’re going to a gig, cause you WILL have to pee, and you’ll be spending more time at the ”urinal” than watching the show. Waste of time and money. Get your beer afterwards if you want to relax and enjoy a beer.
Chewing gum is good, keeps your mouth moist in situations when you don’t have time to go pee, or when you’re too broke to buy a bottle of water or soda. I’m not a health-freak per se, but I avoid sodas or juices with lots of sugar simply because it makes my teeth feel like sand-paper, and I won’t have time to brush my teeth until very late when I get to the hotel in the evening/morning. So, just water is fine. Tap-water if you’re in a country where that’s safe. Don’t take chances if you’re not sure, you don’t want to ruin your trip by getting dyspeptic.
So, minty chew, or whatever you like, sugar-free chewing gum is a life-saver. Makes you smell okay too. Cause let’s face it, it’s a pain in the ass when you’re in a crowd where you’re getting VERY intimate with perfect strangers that aren’t so perfect. You’re most likely to have someone’s smelly armpit in your face when they’re throwing horns or just raising their fists in the air. You’d wish THEY had taken a shower and used deodorant before going to the gig. Just hope that they are reading this as well…
Spare your fellow rockers from garlic, burrito-farts, sweat and whatever odor you can influence yourself. It’s all part of being comfy.
Another part of being comfortable is how you pack – what kind of bag you’re using and what you choose to put in it. The clothes you wear will have a lot to do with how your trip and concert experience is going to be as well. We’ll take a look at that next time. The journey continues…!
Written by Daniela P.