If you're a musician and it is your first time traveling, it can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. Here are a few tips to help make your trip as successful and enjoyable as possible.
Bring a Hard Case
Whether you're placing your instrument in cargo or bringing it with you on the aircraft, make sure your instrument is in a hard case. Though hard cases are more expensive than soft cases, it is worth the additional expense! Too many guitar necks have snapped under the weight of their neighbor's over-sized luggage carelessly dropped on top.
Though this is not possible with every instrument, a majority of instruments can be carry-ons. If you've ever looked out the window of an airplane and watched wide-eyed as your bags are haphazardly thrown onto the luggage trucks, you won't need much convincing to carry-on. If you are one of the unlucky few who have to check your instrument, you can smile knowing that you brought your handy-dandy hard case!
Insuring your Instrument
If travel insurance is something you haven't considered yet, it may be something you want to think about. Many insurance companies cover lost, stolen, or damaged baggage, which includes your instrument, and some plans even cover delayed baggage to replace essential items in an emergency. Yes, insurance adds an additional cost to your trip, but when it comes to the safety of your instrument, you should at least consider taking the extra precaution.
Success in music comes from more than hard work and dedication to perfecting your craft, it also comes from the people you know – your “connections”!Travel is one of the best ways to network with people outside of your local area. If you are an independent musician, bring some business cards along with you in case you meet some interesting people who you would like to stay in touch with. If you are traveling with an ensemble, have plenty of information available about your group so you can pass it along to your listeners and anyone else you encounter along the way.
Hydrating is important to all travelers, but especially vocalists. With daylong excursions and tours, you are likely to tire easily if you don't stay hydrated. Keep your vocal chords from begging you for mercy during the performances, and travel with a refillable water bottle so you can always have water on hand.
Concert Etiquette Awareness
Similar to the importance of knowing your table manners when traveling to foreign countries, musicians should research concert etiquette before traveling so they know what to expect. Perhaps it is appropriate for the audience to avoid applause in certain instances, where you may have been otherwise expecting it during your performances. If attending a performance, know when it is appropriate to applaud, if noise is allowed, and what is respectful concert attire. What a great way to embrace traditions of musicians all over the world!