Musicians who want to tour in Europe have a lot to think about, and we’ve handled reservations for all kinds of acts. Here are some things to consider when you plan your band’s next European tour.
Plan Your Band’s European Tour
When you start looking at places to play, try as hard as you can to keep a linear route. You don’t really want to be zig-zagging all over the place if you can help it. Ideally, you can start and end your tour in the same city. This will help you avoid one way fees. One way fees will occur if a vehicle is dropped off in a different location than where it was originally picked up. While they may not occur within the same city or country, they will always occur if you return your car to a different country. Read more about one way fees and our in-depth guide to other car rental fees in our travel tips section.
If you want to tour Ireland and the UK, as well as mainland Europe, you will want to strongly consider planning multiple legs, with separate vehicles. You probably don’t want to be driving around in Europe with a car that is right-side drive, when everyone else has left-side drive, and vice versa. Keep the UK and Ireland booked together, one country at a time. You don’t want to be crossing the ocean with your gear more than you have to.
Once you get to mainland Europe, there are a few things to consider. If you can help it, try to book two shows in each city- maybe at different venues. This way, you get to experience more and can potentially make more money. Plus, less driving time means more time exploring each city!
Do yourself a favor and learn some of the local language if you’re thinking about touring mainland Europe. It might get you further than you think. There’s a plethora of apps out there that will translate whatever you need, so you don’t really have an excuse to not be as polite as possible.
Take a Load Off: Gear for Musicians Touring Europe
As far as your equipment goes, that’s your call. It might not be a bad idea to go through your gear to figure out what exactly you need to bring to give you the sound you want. If there is gear you can do without, just leave it at home. Be smart about simplifying your rig- don’t destroy your signature tone, but if you can make something else work, consider it. In the rehearsals leading up to the tour, practice on the bare minimum you can get away with and see how it sounds. Sometimes drummers will step up to the challenge and really simplify their kit. Another thing you might want to consider is buying some gear over there and re-selling it when you’re done with it, but it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Hire a Travel Agent
For the average traveler, organizing a tour of Europe can be a challenging task. For bands looking to tour in Europe, it certainly isn’t any easier. Even if everything goes perfectly smooth and according to plan, there’s still a large amount of planning that goes into it. Because of the substantial amount of work required to pull off a successful tour, do yourself a favor and find a travel agent (preferably one that has set up band tours) before you start booking shows. You can work together and get started on a good outline of how your trip will pan out.
Once you get your dates set and the gigs booked, figure out what size car you need. Can you fit in one vehicle? If not, do you want two station wagons, or a van for equipment and a small car for people? Keep in mind that European cars are smaller than what you may be used to, so if you’re going to be spending hours on the road, you may want to opt for larger vehicles that can hold everyone more comfortably. With a little luck your trip will go off with out any problems, and crowds of adoring fans will be begging you to return for more shows!