For a lot of Photographers, especially those focusing on music, your dream job is tour tour with your favorite artist. If that day comes, here are some tips that are based on my personal experience. Note: they're not arranged in any order of importance.
Importance of Wi-fi
When it comes to uploading content, photo or video, I usually rely on the hotel's wi-fi, so there's less of a dent in my own wi-fi resource. Many times, the tour bus' wi-fi is either really slow, or doesn't work. Be prepared for that.
On any given night of the tour, you may have to be in the lobby at 3:00am to go catch a flight, or the tour bus may be pulling out of the hotel lot at 5:00am. Don't be late. If you fear that you'll be late, here are a few helpful tactics:
- Instead of going to your room to sleep after the concert, grab your luggage from the room, and go sleep on the bus, in your bunk.
- Pack your bags before you leave your room for the concert, lay your travel outfit across the bed, and leave only the necessities out of the luggage (i.e., toiletries, etc.)
- When you initially arrive to the hotel, lay your luggage on the sidewalk by the bus, and take out only the outfit for the day and your toiletries. Put the luggage back on the bus. This gives you one less thing to worry about later that night.
- Request a wake-up call from the front desk, set your alarm, and sleep in an uncomfortable position. Lol.
Don't Sit on Content
Unless you're shooting video for a documentary, or a project that'll be released later on down the line, don't let the content pile up. Release some of it, regularly. Even if it's just a photo a day, to tell the tale of the tour.
Be Quick, like a Ninja
Depending on the content type and it's value, once you capture it, have it posted or sent to blogs, immediately. Let the world know, "This is happening right now!".
Get a passport, and apply for Global Entry. Read the 7 Tips for Traveling Abroad.
When traveling for small tour runs, or "spot dates" I would advise packing less gear, since you may not even get around to using it all. If you're flying from city to city, packing light will save you a lot of back pain and TSA hassle. Of course, if you're on a tour bus, you may have the space available for extra gear.
In every city you visit, you should aim to make a new friend, so when you return at a later date, you have a person to contact for the local happenings, dining suggestions, etc. It's also a good idea for it to be a business related connection; whether it be other photographers, models, stylists, makeup artists, or other.
It's always a good idea to have a camera on deck, ready to go, if the artists or Manager calls, and says, "We just got a ca;; to go do a last minute interview. Meet in the lobby in 20 minutes."
Ample Battery Power
You should have enough batteries to get through two full days of work, just in case you have a unique situation where you aren't able to charge batteries.
Take advantage of the loyalty programs offered by airlines and hotels. You may earn some points with your travel.
Protecting Your Gear
Invest in chain locking devices to secure your laptop, and bags with combination locks for your gear. Using the hotel room lock boxes will add sense of security. Also, while in the hotel, avoid having your gear out for the public to see. You don't want people knowing that you're the Photographer with a bunch of expensive equipment in his room.
Be Prompt for Fights
This tip goes beyond the obvious factor of "missing the flight". This tip keeps you from having your photography gear tossed under the plane, like a rag doll, with other luggage. If the overhead compartments are full, that's what you may be forced to do.
Keep Track of Your Credentials
Plain and simple. Having your tour credential gives you the juice. The venues' staff won't stop you from entering restricted areas, and it makes you look cool and important. Hearing, "Oh, he's with the tour.", has a special kind of ring to it.
Per Diem vs Catering
Unless you're on some kind of special diet, make sure you always fix yourself a plate in the venue's catering room. Doing this on a regular basis will preserve a noticeable portion of your per diem, which you can either save or use to purchase gear. Also, those chicken wings, veggie wraps, and whatever else is in the dressing room, right before the show, eat some of that too.