Published May 23, 2009Hey bands! Before you hit the road this summer, here are ten things that will totally improve your life on the highway.
1. Take digital photos of all your gear and make note of the serial numbers. Store the photos and numbers online so that you can get them it anytime, anywhere. This is especially important if you are playing Montreal, where getting your gear ripped off is a Can-rock rite of passage.
2. Join CAA. At about $75 per year, a CAA membership pays for itself the first time the van breaks down or you get totally baked and lock the keys in the van.
3. Bring a passport photocopy and/or extra ID and keep it separate from wherever you usually stash your ID.
4. If you are travelling in the U.S., definitely think about medical insurance. It will be way cheaper than the thousands you will be charged for a trip to a U.S. emergency room.
5. Buy a duplicate receipt book and make up a receipt for everything that happens in cash. If you get paid in cash, make a receipt. If you hand out per diems in cash, make a receipt. That's the only way to know how much cash is coming and going. I guarantee you won't remember the next day let alone at the end of the tour that you paid the sound guy in cash that one time.
6. Keep all your receipts no matter what. Put them in a big envelope and stash it in the glove box. Make this your new religious ritual. If you are travelling under a FACTOR grant, this is essential, do you hear me? Essential!
7. Make up a four-column road float: item/date, cash in, cash out and balance. When you have a couple of hours to kill after soundcheck, have fun making your float balance out! Screw sudoku, this is the shit that really sharpens the old braineroo.
8. Make up a merch sales sheet that shows counts in, counts out and gross sales at every show. A well-stocked merch table includes Sharpies of several sizes and colours, duct tape, a small cash box or even a good solid pencil case to put cash in, an easy-to-read price list (laminated? why not!), and a cash float of small bills. A Maglite will also come in extremely handy.
9. A well-packed van always includes thermos mugs, sleeping bags, bungee cords, duct tape, a flashlight (headlamps are surprisingly useful when loading gear in a dark alley), boxcutters, Allen keys and a multi-tool.
10. Prevent road flu by stocking hand sanitizer, fresh fruit and veg, tissues and the biggest jug of water you can fit in the van.