how to pack for a tour

Hi, my name is Afton and I’m a google-aholic.  I would say I statistically google something every minute or so.  I admittedly allow google to think for me.  Judge me.

That aside, something I google quite often is “packing list”.  2 facts about me: I travel quite a bit (mainly for touring and visiting family) and I am notorious for making lists for just about everything.  

One thing that is lacking out in the world wide web are searches for “How should I pack for a concert tour?”.  I know most people don’t tour with bands but, just think of all the people that do.  If you think about it, it is a good number of people.  I also know that most people who tour, historically, are male and don’t have to put much thought into how to pack like a woman does.  Ergo, not a lot of google searches.  

So, I’m remedying the search problem with my own “How to pack for a concert tour” post from my touring experiences.  You’re welcome.

Tip #1

Always have a shower bag.  This is mainly for when you’re on a bus tour but, it comes in handy on any occasion.  Sometimes you only have 30 minutes (or less) to completely shower and be ready for your day and lugging around and rummaging through your suitcase eats up a lot of time.  The small shower bag can fit easily (empty) of course in your suitcase and saves you oodles of time.  

I like to get my shower bag prepared the night before with what I’m wearing for the next day plus all my toiletries.  In the morning it makes things that much easier to just hop out of your bunk, grab your little bag and be done with it.  

Also, I’ll point out to always have a pair of shower shoes cause you never know where your next shower will be and it is SO easy to get a plantars wart on your foot from a public shower.  Ewwwwww. 

Tip #2

Keep in mind, you can always send out for laundry.  The venues provide runners.  Runners run errands—like laundry, for example.  Prices vary from place to place but, it’s totally worth it to fork out the cash to have your laundry clean and folded in a matter of a couple of hours while you work.  

Word for the wise: separate your colors cause the launderers won’t.  I had this black t-shirt I got as swag in Manila that I threw into my laundry bag when we sent out for laundry in Singapore.  ALL of my clothes (namely my nude colored underwear and bras) came back GREY.  Ugh, I’m still pissed about that.

So, pack light because you do have the option of sending out for laundry.  Also it may be a good idea to pack a canvas laundry bag because come laundry day I guarantee you’ll be running around trying to find some sort of bag to put all your clothes in to send out.

Tip #3

Las Drogas

I highly recommend taking vitamins, etc.  (Not just on tour but, in general as well.)  

My essentials: A multi-v, probiotic (my favorite), Beta D Glucan, an anti-inflammatory/fever reducer, valerian root and/or Melatonin (to help you sleep), an antihistamine, alka seltzer, and a high quality fish oil.

It’s a good idea to keep all your pills in their respective bottles but, that starts to take up space.  Plus, when you roll your suitcase over a bump, your bag sounds like it belongs to a pill popper.  No bueno.  Normally, I pack all of my over-the-counter drugs in ziploc baggies labeled with the name and mg.  As far as prescription drugs—you should always keep them in their respective bottles with the script.  You never know when you’ll get sick, have a headache, be constipated, heartburn, twist your ankle, have an allergy attack in the backwoods of some rural state.  I like to be prepared.

Also, make copies of the prescription in case you lose your meds so you can re-order. It’s a good idea to make a list of what you take daily, when, how much, why you’re taking it, etc. because if you do have a medical emergency this is information a doctor needs to treat you. 

Bring extra of everything.  Example: If you happen to drop a pill, you won’t be short a pill during the tour. 

Tip #4

Ladies only

We’ve all been there.  It’s that time of the month and you’re on tour…never fails. Obviously, always pack tampons, pads, and advil no matter how regular your cycle is. 

I recently came across an article about this little device called the DivaCup.  I won’t go into detail here in front of my male readers so, just check it out and thank me later.

Along those lines, I’d like to share with you another little handy device for the ladies. Earlier this year, my friend, Arlene gave me a GoGirl right before I left for a tour in Australia and Asia.  I like to call it the “Portable Penis” or the “PP”.  

From her blog: “A GoGirl ( is “the way to stand up to crowded, disgusting, distant or non-existent bathrooms. It allows women to urinate while standing up.” I have these, and they work. ‘Nuff said.”  (Love her)

Tip #5

Pack something nice to wear.  You never know when you’re going to go out to a fancy restaurant with the touring party or promoters, etc.  Nothing too fancy but, something that will get you into a hoighty toighty, dress code restricted area.  

Also, pack a swimsuit cause you never know when everyone is meeting in the hotel jacuzzi, taking a trip to the nearest beach, or having a foam party…..I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’.

Tip #6

Call your bank and let them know you’ll be traveling.  If not and you start swiping your bank card or credit card everywhere, the bank will put a hold on your account due to “suspicious activity”.  And then you’re just SOL.  Which is why it’s also important to always have a bit of cash on you.

Tip #7

Before you leave your home:

  • Unplug your electronics
  • clean out your fridge
  • take the trash out
  • put toilet bowl cleaner in the toliets
  • memorize your pin codes
  • charge all batteries
  • put mail and newspapers on hold
  • make sure your house sitters are reliable and won’t throw parties since they’ll be staying there the whole time.  
  • get a house sitter!
  • get someone to water your plants
  • leave sentimental things at home (like jewelry) and hide it


vacuum sacks.  Not just good for saving space but, also for suitcase organization.  Or simple rubber bands work well too if you don’t want to spend on vacuum sacks.

For the wrinkled clothes that came out of your vacuum sacks.

For all your iPod, iPhone, and electronic accessories.

If you’re like me and your iPhone has become your watch, I recommend this.  Reason: When you’re traveling through different time zones and networks nearly everyday your iPhone gets a little crazy.  I’m in love with this little alarm clock.  

Here’s another great discovery from Miss Arlene.  A digital luggage scale.

  • Bengay because you will be sore and you will be longing for Bengay.
  • Chewing Gum I buy mine in bulk at Costco
  • Hair Color if you have pesky roots like me and are traveling for a while.  I recommend Superior Preference by L’Oreal.
  • Laptop Lock because who can you trust on the wide open road?
  • Cotton Swabs because in-ear monitors make your ears gooky and itchy.
  • Ear Plugs because I guarantee someone on the tour bus snores.
  • a hat for those quick or no shower days.
  • a Jacket no matter how hot it is where you’re going because the bus is ALWAYS cold. 
  • Eye Drops because the air conditioning on the bus or plane WILL dry you out like jerky.  
  • a journal even if you don’t keep one, you will have a moment when something amazingly funny or crazy happens and you’ll regret not writing it down.
  • ID
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Photocopies of all above items in case you lose them
  • Ziploc baggies for carry-ons 
  • dryer sheets for clingy clothes, static-y hair, and to leave in your suitcase so all your clothes smell fresh.
  • Sunglasses for outdoor gigs, days off and to look like the coolest kid.
  • Wet Ones or hand sanitizer
  • extra contact lenses in case one inevitably pops out.
  • band-aids
  • DRAMAMINE for the sea legs you’ll get from the bus or flying every other day.  (Also helps you sleep).
  • condoms. seriously, be safe y’all….it is rock ‘n roll after all.

Traveling mercies and rock on!