So, you’ve just been cast in a touring production! Congratulations! However, with great distances comes great responsibility… and some sacrifices too. We’ve compiled a list of touring survival tips for you to use to as you make your way to wherever you’re going. Now, we didn’t want to just give you a generic list of tips like drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep, even though, yes, you should be doing those things… So we reached out to some real life touring actors to procure this list straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. Let’s jump in!
1. Bring The Fridge
Honestly, one of the things I found most useful was having a steady cold-bag and a couple of ice bricks to bring with me wherever I went. It meant I could at least have my staple foods with me. Like a loaf of bread, salt & pepper, olive oil, and perhaps most importantly, snacks. There also could be quite a few hours and quite a few kilometres between you and your next stop so keeping whatever food you have fresh and less likely to poison you is ideal. It’s also a great idea to bring a handful of go-to cooking utensils: a sharp knife, a small chopping board, and some food storage containers, because you never know what you’re going to find in those hotel kitchen drawers!
2. Plan Your Downtime
If you’re touring a production for young audiences, or schools, you’re probably dealing with some early starts, and getting back to your hotel for an afternoon and evening off. Or, if you’re performing in a show for adults, you’re probably working (mostly) in the evenings, with a lot of time off during the day. Either way, we would recommend planning what you want to do with your spare time… ahead of time. When you get home from a day of shows is not a great moment to make a plan; you’re probably a little exhausted already, and might find yourself a few hours later on the couch having done none of the things you wanted to. Give yourself some structure, and plan the night before, or if you’re super organised, make a weekly plan of what you want to achieve in your time off.
3. Cancel or Pause Your Gym Membership
One of the cool perks about touring is that you’ll often be staying in hotels that have free of charge gym and pool access. Check your schedule and do some research to find out what facilities are available at the places you’re staying. No gym? Get creative with your at home (hotel) or online work out sessions, and figure out what you need to bring with you to make this work. If you’re not spending a lot of time in your hometown, it’s a good idea to save your hard earned money by cancelling (or suspending) your regular membership, unless they have locations everywhere you’ll be travelling.
4. Check the Weather
It seems like such a simple one, but you’d be surprised at the variance in weather across the country; just because it’s sunny where you are right now, doesn’t mean it will be at your next destination. Do you need an umbrella, a beanie, and a coat? Or your swimmers and a pair of shorts? To save yourself from over-packing everything, keep a reliable weather app on your phone and check the forecast when you’re packing for your next destination.
5. Make Plans with Friends
Whether you’re organising virtual catch-ups on the road, or booking a table somewhere for when you’re back in town, it’s important to keep in contact with your social group and support network while you’re touring. Touring can be lonely, even if you’re seeing people every day, and sometimes you will just need to hear a familiar voice. But the tricky thing is, while you’re off touring your production, life goes on, and it’s important to remember that your friends and family won’t be able to drop everything because you’re back in town and would like to catch up. Make plans that you can look forward to, and put the effort into communicating with your loved ones!
6. Have a Mental Health Plan
Whether you deal with mental health issues often or not, it’s important to make mental health a priority. If you do have a mental illness of any kind, it’s important to have a crisis plan outlined with your therapist. With that being said even if this isn’t a recurring issue for you, you should try to take active steps to keep yourself mentally healthy just the same way you take steps every day to keep yourself physically healthy.
7. Take Up a Hobby
It’s inevitable that you will end up with some down time. Now we’re not condoning unhealthy #hustle habits, it can be really nice to have a goal or hobby to keep you occupied when there’s nothing else to do. And from time to time this will happen. Always wanted to write a script? Take an online course? Or even learn to play the harmonica? Well this would be great way to keep you occupied and anchored in your downtime.
8. Look Out For Your Colleagues
We’ve talked a lot about looking after yourself, and this is very important! However it’s just as important that, when you can, you make sure to keep an eye out for the people around you. Touring is hard. That’s a fact. And the more that we can all look out for each other, the healthier and more fun we’ll have.
9. You Do You, Too
With that being said we’ll flip the script on that. Yes it’s very important to look out for our mates, but it’s also really important to look out for ourselves. It is perfectly fine and totally normal to need some time and space to just do your own thing. For example one of the actors we reached out to would take twenty minutes each morning to just do something for themselves, and they found immense value in that.
10. Keep it Professional
Given that you will be spending your work time and a lot of your downtime with the same people, it’s important to try not to blur the lines between the two. When it comes time to work, that’s exactly what you do first and foremost. I don’t necessarily mean you have to be straight-laced 8 hours of the day, but it is beneficial to everybody to keep work and play modes distinct.
Have fun! Easily one of the most important tips we’ve got. Try not to fret too much and to just enjoy what you’re doing. Touring can be so rewarding and can be so enjoyable if you let it. Yes it’s hard, but it’s so much fun as well, so try to let go and enjoy the ride!
So hopefully now you’re a little more prepared to hit the road. If you follow all or even some of these tips we think you’ll certainly be on the right track. So strap in, get ready, and have a blast. We’ll see you on the other side.