What to Know When You're Traveling to a Concert

By Christine Ascher on February 22, 2018

If you don’t live in a major city, traveling to a concert is often your best option to see the artists that you love. Concerts are a great way to spend a night, and there’s nothing like seeing your favorite artists in person. While traveling can add some adventure to your concert experience, it also means that, logistically, it’s going to be more complicated. In order to be well-prepared for your concert and to ensure that you don’t encounter any problems on your way, check out the following tips to help you out as you get ready.

Concert, lights, arm, band

Image via https://pixabay.com

Create a Budget for the Overall Trip

Going to a concert can be pricey, and if you’re traveling to a concert, chances are it will become even more so. Because the costs can add up quickly between travel expenses, lodgings, the concert tickets themselves, and any souvenirs or meals that you purchase during your trip, try to set a budget before you begin planning that you can realistically stick to, to ensure that the cost doesn’t get out of hand. Check out concert ticket prices and the cost of traveling and staying in a hotel before you book anything to get an idea of how much you can expect the trip to cost and to make sure that it’s within your price range to go. It’s a good idea to wait to check the cost of travel before you purchase your tickets, as you don’t want to end up buying concert tickets and only then finding out that the hotel prices or transportation costs are too expensive for you to go. Setting a budget is also a good idea when it comes to attending the concert itself, where it can become tempting to buy a bunch of merchandise to commemorate the occasion.  It will also prove helpful in the event that you and your friends plan to go out afterwards, as you’ll have an idea of what you should be spending. You can incur a lot of unexpected costs if you’re not careful, so create a budget early on and stick to it.

Book a Place to Stay Early

If you’re going to be staying overnight after your concert (which is probably a good idea if it’s going to end late), make sure that you plan ahead and book a place to stay early. Depending on where you’re going, there may be a limited number of hotels around the concert venue. If you’re traveling to a concert, chances are other people will be doing to same, so the nearby hotels may fill up quickly. You may also find them to be a bit pricier, so consider trying less expensive alternatives such as Airbnb. If possible, try to book a place to stay as soon as you buy your concert tickets, as this will ensure that you have the biggest variety of options to choose from.

Infographic by Christine Ascher

Because the city where you’re attending your concert, and in particular the area surrounding the venue, is likely to become busy with all of the concert-goers like you, if you’re planning to go out to dinner before or after the show then it’s a good idea to make reservations ahead of time. Especially if you’re planning to go out to eat before the concert, a long waiting time to be seated might make you late for the show. Regardless of how many people are in your group, you may have trouble finding a place to eat where you don’t have to wait on the night of a big event, so your best bet is to choose a restaurant ahead of time and to make a reservation.

Download Your Tickets on Your Phone

Unfortunately, when you’re traveling to a concert, the chance of things being misplaced or getting lost increases significantly. Probably the most important—and, coincidentally, often one of the most easily misplaced—items are going to be your concert tickets themselves. Luckily, nowadays you can protect yourself against losing your concert tickets simply by downloading them onto your phone. Usually you can download your tickets from the website that you purchase them from, or you may be sent an electronic copy after you buy them. Be sure to download and save them on your phone, as this will save you a lot of worry knowing that your tickets can’t be misplaced. Plus, it will be much more convenient when you arrive at the concert venue to simply pull the tickets up on your phone, rather than having to dig up a bunch of printed tickets.

Know What Time You Need to Be at the Concert

Whenever you’re traveling to a concert, it becomes especially important that you know when you need to arrive at the concert venue—particularly if you’re going to be traveling to the city where the concert is held and checking into your housing accommodations before you actually leave for the concert itself. How early you should arrive will depend on how big the concert is that you’re attending, but you can check your tickets for an idea of when that should be. Make sure you keep your planned arrival time at the concert in mind when planning your schedule for the day, both in terms of when you depart for the concert itself and for earlier in the day when you leave home to head to the city where the event is being held.

Plan for Traffic

If you’re going to be traveling to a concert by car on the same day of the event, make sure that you allot some additional time for concert traffic. Expect the area around the concert venue to be pretty packed, and give yourself a generous amount of time to get to where you need to be—it’s always better to be early than to be late! It also wouldn’t hurt to research some information about traffic patterns in the area and on your route there ahead of time, so that you know how much time you should give yourself to get there depending on when you leave. If you’re going to be heading through an area with heavy traffic during rush hour, for instance, make sure you give yourself some extra time.

Research Parking

If you’re going to be driving to your concert, make sure that you don’t get so wrapped up in the planning of your road trip that you forget a very important detail: where you’re going to park your car once you get where you’re going. Parking near a concert venue can get crazy—and crazy expensive—so research some of your options ahead of time. While the venue likely offers parking to concert-goers, there may be some less expensive lots nearby as well. Have a plan in mind before you leave on your trip, as the last thing that you’ll want to do after a long road trip is drive around for even longer looking for a place to park.

Research Public Transportation

Public transportation is a great option when you’re traveling to a concert, as it eliminates the need to find and pay for parking and it will help you avoid the pre-concert traffic around the venue. However, if you’re using the public transportation system for the first time in an unfamiliar city, you’ll need to be fairly well-versed in how it works to avoid unnecessary delays in getting to the venue. Look up public transportation maps and schedules before you leave and map out the route that you need to take, making sure that you note if you need to make any transfers or if you’ll need to walk a bit from the stop to the venue itself. Public transportation can get confusing, especially if you’re not used to using it, so plan ahead to avoid getting lost and arriving at your concert late.

Make a Packing List of Items You’ll Need

One easy way to stay organized for your trip and to make sure that you don’t forget to bring anything important that you’ll need when traveling to a concert is by making a packing list before you leave. Make sure to include items such as your ID, your phone charger, and cash, in addition to the obvious items such as your concert tickets and any tickets for transportation. If your concert is going to be outdoors, Ticketmaster.com suggests bringing along sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat as well.

Bring a Portable Phone Charger

Especially if you have your concert tickets only on your phone, you might find yourself in a bad situation if your phone battery dies on you. If you’re traveling to a concert in an unfamiliar city, you’ll probably also need your phone for directions to get to the concert venue and to your housing accommodations, so make sure that you bring along a portable charger in case of emergencies. It’s also a good idea to double-check that the portable charger itself is fully charged and ready for use so you can be sure of being well-prepared. If you’re going on the trip with friends, coordinate so that at least one of you has a portable charger on-hand at all times.

Concert, phone, lights

Image via https://pixabay.com

Plan Your Concert Outfit Before You Leave

Because you’ll have to pack for your trip, rather than getting ready for your concert at home, it’s a good idea to plan out exactly what you’re going to wear for it before you leave. This will help minimize the amount of clothes that you have to bring along with you, as you won’t be worried about packing several options to choose from at the last minute, and you’ll save time getting ready right before the concert because you’ll already know exactly what to wear. Try out your outfit options at home, and make things easier on yourself by coming to a final decision on what to wear before you start packing.

Prepare for Different Types of Weather

If you’re headed to an outdoor concert, make sure that you pack for all types of weather, so that you don’t get caught off guard. The last thing you’d want is to have your concert experience spoiled by rain that you’re unprepared for, so bring along everything that you might need in the case of unexpected bad weather. Check the weather reports ahead of time as well, so that you have an idea of what to expect and can pack your concert outfit accordingly. Be smart about what you do and do not want to bring to the concert itself as well—you don’t want to get stuff carrying around a jacket that you really didn’t need during the concert.

Know What Not to Bring

Different concert venues may have different rules in terms of what you are and are not allowed to bring along, so make sure you check out the venue’s website before you leave so you’re aware of what you can and can’t bring along. Usually, large bags are off-limits, so make sure you pack a smaller purse or bag for anything you need to bring to the concert itself. Food is likely off-limits as well, so either eat beforehand or plan on purchasing food once you arrive at the concert venue. If you have a selfie stick, you’ll probably have to leave that at home as well or risk having it confiscated.

Arrive Early

Concerts can get a bit crazy when everyone is arriving, scrambling for their tickets, and going through security, so it’s a good idea to arrive a bit early to be on the safe side. Especially if you want some time to look at the artist’s merchandise or to get something to eat or drink, you’ll want to get to the venue sooner rather than later. You may have to wait in some long lines between getting into the venue and purchasing merchandise or food and beverages, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding on what time to arrive.

When you’re attending a concert, you may think that once you’ve purchased the tickets, your planning is done. However, traveling a long distance to your concert venue means that you’ll have a few more things to figure out before you’re ready for the big night. As long as you start planning early and take into account the details of your trip, your concert experience should be a great one!

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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