How to Plan Your Next Trip To/Around a Concert

By Lorena Roberts on December 20, 2018

Attending a live concert of your favorite performer is thrilling, especially if you do it during college. Oftentimes, seeing a live concert makes the top of people’s of bucket lists and before they get through college, they want to attend all kinds of music festivals. But planning for your next trip to a concert might feel overwhelming. There’s a lot more to it than just buying a ticket and showing up.

Every year, people spend hundreds of dollars on concert tickets and travel expenses to see their favorite performers, oftentimes with their friends or significant other. Back in 2015, Billboard Boxscore reported that the top 25 concerts alone grossed just shy of $360 million — pretty obvious that we value going to concerts and listening to our favorites in-person.

via Pexels.com

But a lot of planning goes into attending a concert. We wish it could be as simple as buying a ticket and showing up — but oftentimes, there are thousands more details to be sorted out, such as where to crash for the night, how early to show up to the venue, where to eat before or after… etcetera. The more people you take with you, the more opinions that become involved, pretty much requiring that you have a “go-getter” personality at the forefront of the planning process. You need someone who’s decisive and can take everyone’s opinions into consideration, but ultimately, make a decision that will suit everyone (or almost everyone).

If you’re trying to plan a trip to see a concert, you might be overwhelmed by all the details that need to be taken care of. There might be too many things for you to consider, and you might not know how to tackle your to-do list. There are several ways you can go about it, but some things to make sure you handle are as follows:

1. Choose a concert that will fit the experience you want.

Going to a concert in Madison Square is going to be quite the experience — but it might not be an experience that you actually want. If you’re looking for a radical weekend with your best pals, you might look into attending a concert at a music festival in the middle of a field. If you’re more of a prima donna, look into buying front row tickets to a concert at a coliseum or arena. Before you plan an entire trip to see one of your favorite performers, it’s important to take all the details into account.

2. Invite your best pals.

Concerts are more fun with friends, hands down. There’s no use in going to a concert alone (much less paying for a concert by yourself), so as you plan your next trip to a concert, think about the people you want to share the experience with. Has your best girl pal just gone through a break-up? Going to a concert will surely cheer her up. Recently finished your college finals? Celebrate with concert tickets. There are thousands of things in life to celebrate, and it’s all about who you get to celebrate with. So before you buy a ticket to see your favorite performer get down on stage, check with your group text and invite all your best pals. They’ll love you for thinking of them.

via Pexels.com

3. Think about how many pals to invite.

Going to a concert can get expensive, depending on what kind of experience you want to have. Backstage passes? Drink pass included? Or camping on the grass in the summertime? Depending on your budget, you may or may not have the funds to get your next concert trip absolutely perfect — but it can still be worth the experience. When it comes to inviting your friends, think about how much each of you can spend. Decide on a budget first. (Of course, the further out you can plan for your next concert trip, the more time you and your pals will have to save up… likely meaning you’ll get to enjoy more of the experience because you won’t be pinching pennies in downtown Nashville.)

Getting a group of eight girls to decide on a restaurant, hotel, and seats is difficult. Not to mention, you’ll probably need more than one hotel room. So it might not be wise to invite seven of your closest ladies to one of your favorite performers — it actually sounds like a lot of drama just waiting to happen. Keep your concert party small, otherwise, you’ll likely regret it later on. There’s a happy medium between inviting people to save money and getting a group that’s way too big for a fun time.

4. Give ample thought to hotel/restaurant selections.

When you’re planning a trip to a concert, you have to stay organized. You’ll want to plan ahead if you’re trying to grab dinner before a concert. Make reservations to ensure the transition from traveling to eating to making it to your seat is as smooth as possible. Pick a concert location that you’ll get the most out of. Going to a big city for a concert means there will be hundreds of food options — so you’ll have your pick! When you’re making hotel reservations, you’ll want to make sure it’s close to the venue. If you’re seeing an evening concert (which is likely the case), you won’t want to drive 45 minutes after the concert to a hotel because it was $20 cheaper. Try to envision the experience as you’re planning — by the end of the concert you’re going to be jazzed, but you also might be exhausted. Make it easy for you and your group to make it safely to a hotel afterward for some much-needed shut-eye.

Infographic by Lorena Roberts

5. Over-estimate travel time.

The worst part of going to a big concert can be the traffic. To save yourself from having to rush into the venue as the concert is starting, make sure you have more than enough time to get to the venue. Count on stopping along the way for food and drinks, plus some extra cushion time for parking and walking into the venue. Part of the experience is the suspense that comes with sitting in a huge arena with thousands of other people who love the same music you do. If you’re an hour and a half early to the concert, you won’t regret it.

6. Is distance really worth it?

Heading to another state to see your favorite artist in concert might sound totally worth it. But is it? Really? Think about the driving time, the gas, and the cost of staying in a hotel overnight. If you’re trying to save money (as many college students are) and you don’t want to completely splurge on this concert experience, research concert dates in cities that are within a few hours drive of home. When it comes down to it, being in the car with a bunch of your friends for 8 hours might seem like a ton of fun, but after the concert, on the way home, you probably won’t be thinking that.

7. Pack light.

The last thing you want to have to keep up with while you’re at a concert is a huge granny purse that you’ve stocked with all your favorite goodies. Your Polaroid camera is important, yes, but do you need to bring it into the venue along with 300 snacks in case you get hungry? Take all the essentials – your phone, a camera, and your wallet (and maybe not even your actual wallet, just slide your cards into a holder on the back of your phone). Packing light when you walk into a concert venue is of utmost importance. No need to lug a bunch of stuff around for no reason.

8. Check your schedule.

The days that surround your trip are just as important as the day you plan to see your favorite artist in concert. If you’re a college student, I wouldn’t advise planning a concert for the week of finals. I also wouldn’t suggest planning a concert in the middle of the semester — when things are piled on top of you and you’re suffocating under assignments that are all due at the same time. Be smart when you start planning your next trip. There’s no use in spending all kinds of money on tickets and logistics just to be left with a hangover and a crappy attitude the day after.

9. Ask for advice.

Do you know people who have been to see that performer live? Do you know people who have made the trip to a music festival you’d like to attend? This is the best way to get tips — ask for recommendations. Luckily for us, college students are pretty good about communicating via social media. Look around for some groups to join of people who like the same kinds of things as you and ask for their advice. They might have hotel recommendations or warnings about how bad the parking is if you don’t arrive two hours early.

10. Enjoy every moment — even the planning process.

Going to a concert is exciting. And going while you’re in college with all your buddies is even more exciting. These are memories that you won’t be able to replicate. So while you might be feeling stressed out about the planning process, take a deep breath and remember that you’re doing this for the greater good. When you see your favorite artist LIVEyou’re going to be stoked. When you see your favorite artist LIVE with your friends, you’re going to be even more stoked. I highly recommend going to see a concert while you’re in college with all your pals. Though the process can be overwhelming, try to enjoy it. This is what life is about.

Since you started your collegiate journey, you’ve wanted to do all the “college things.” Like pull an all-nighter, skip a class or two, and spend your nights and weekends doing fun stuff with some of your best friends. Going to a concert is a bucket list item that many people make, and typically it’s more enjoyable if you do it with people you love. If you’re anything like me, you’re the “planner” of the group — and you’ll get stuck with making sure everything is lined up so everyone can have a good time. You’ll be charged with making the reservations, charging the tickets to your credit card, making the final decisions, and pushing plans into action. You might not know where to begin. Take it a step at a time and enjoy the process. You won’t regret throwing down your hard earned money (or your student loan refund) to have a good time with your plans. Be smart, be safe, and enjoy your night.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. After some serious soul-searching, she's decided to pursue a Master's in teaching in order to teach middle school math! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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