I recently returned from a few gigs in Europe with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. I had multiple things go wrong on this trip and I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned along the way. This list is by no means exhaustive but I feel it is a pretty good start.
Lesson #1: NYC always wins.
You think you’ve left enough time to get to the airport but you haven’t. NYC laughs at your idea of preparation and turns an 11 mile trip into an hour and 15 minutes of quality time with your driver, Anishour. Side note: he’s from Bangladesh and Jackson Heights has a great Bangladeshi restaurant called Dehli.
Lesson #2 Hydrate properly.
Flying dehydrates you but these tours tend to include a few adult beverages which will dehydrate you further. Bring your favorite water vessel along with you (empty for security) and keep up your fluid intake. Side note: water fountains seemed few and far between in Europe so maybe hijack some water from the venue.
Lesson #3: Glom on to people with perks!
If you don’t currently have status or a fancy credit card with an airline, attach yourself to those that do. These folks may have perks like priority check in and early boarding. As a person who travels with an awkward instrument in a soft case, this is highly important. Most trips I take, at least a few band members have priority boarding and I try to become their +1. You are so much more relaxed once your horn is onboard! Bonus tip! Sometimes your bandmates have lounge privileges and can invite guests for a fee. I have one such card and the fee can be quite reasonable. Depending on how hungry you are and how long you’ll be in the airport, it could be a good deal and a good time hanging with your buds.
Lesson #4: Being sick is no bueno.
Secret Society has been on tour numerous times. We’ve seen Swine Flu in Germany, gastric distress in the Netherlands and everything in between. Keep a small “emergency” kit in your travel bag – some DayQuil, some anti-diarrheal meds, pepto, etc. it doesn’t take up much space and you’ll be so thankful if you need it.
Lesson #5: 20 or 90 minute naps.
Ideally, you can beat jet lag by not going to sleep when you land. On my most recent trip, that wasn’t possible since I didn’t sleep a wink on the red eye flight to London. Sleep.org says that a 20 minute nap isn’t long enough to make you groggy but will still give you all the benefits of rest. A 90 minute nap is just long enough to get in a complete sleep cycle so you won’t wake up with a sleep hangover. Bonus tip! Always set an alarm!!
Lesson #6: Always bring running/walking shoes.
Running (or walking) around is a great way to see a new place and can help with jet lag. Always double check with someone who knows the area to make sure you are in a safe area. I’ve been running in London, Amsterdam, Moers, Sao Paolo, Rio, Vancouver, Toronto, New Orleans and more. Bonus tip! Carry ID and know how to ask where the bathrooms are!!