Travel Tips from a Touring Musician
Country singer-songwriter Corb Lund has spent years on the road as a professional musician in vans, buses, planes, and pretty much any other way you can get from one place to another with a guitar and a suitcase. In that time, he’s learned a few tricks to make travel easier. During his last visit to Newfoundland and Labrador, between his performances at numerous Arts and Culture Centres across the province, he shared his top travel tips with Downhome.

Get a Nexus card. It’s the best $50 I’ve ever spent. You cut all the lines. The worst part of it is that it takes a whole afternoon to fill out the paperwork…it’s a really intensive, interview-like background check. But once you get it, it’s the best.

I have one [carry on] bag with all my personal stuff in it, so that even if all my luggage gets lost, or all my luggage gets left in the van, I can go into the hotel with just that one bag and exist. It has my passport, my earphones, my book that I’m reading. …but then I have another bag that goes in my suitcase that’s backups of everything. I’ve got an extra phone, extra sim card, extra laptop cable, extra passport photocopy, extra everything in a separate bag, so if that [carry on] bag ever goes away or you lose your phone or your charger dies, you’re right back in action.

Eye masks are big for me. I’ve learned to sleep anywhere during a jet takeoff or punk band soundcheck. I can nap anywhere, so that’s important.

They make these things, they’re like a vacuum pack for your dirty clothes. It’s like a really heavy-duty Ziploc bag but it’s got a one-way valve on one end. You roll it up so it pushes all the air out and it’s vacuum packed. All your stuff that’s dirty is just in this one tightly packed bag.

If you fly a lot, MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) has these great toiletry bags that are see-through plastic mesh… you just pull it out and put it in the [airport security screening] tray and it’s visible, so they can see it and you don’t have to put it in the plastic bags.

Another good travelling tip – if you’re on tour with a band, especially – is that nobody knows in the town that you’re in that you wore the same clothes the last three nights – except for your band. So you can get away with changing clothes a lot less often because nobody knows – if you’re on tour.