Top Tips for Preparing to Tour
TheatreDigsBooker give their tips on selecting suitable accommodation for when you're on tour...
If you love visiting new places and meeting new people, then you are probably about to embark on one of the best journeys of your life.
Being cast for your first tour is an incredible experience and opens the door to a whole new way of life. The company that you will be working with will become your touring family; with them, you’ll share the ups and downs, and everything else in between.
One of the benefits of becoming a part of this family is that there will be members who have toured for years who will happily share the wisdom of their experiences. Then there will be people like you, who are new to touring and are here to experience this new adventure alongside you.
What is tour life like? What should I expect?
Before you set off, there are a few things you’ll need to think about, such as your accommodation, travel expenses, food and most importantly, your general health and wellbeing. With a little bit of pre-tour prep and the support of your fellow peers, touring theatre could be the highlight of your career.
The people, the places and the digs all contribute towards your touring experience, but you have the power to make it great! Managing your expectations can prepare you for life on tour and help you to avoid feeling deflated.
Digs on tour are very different from a night in a hotel. They are more personable, accessible and often much cheaper, but it is also important to remember that the property is someone else's home. Try not to expect hotel quality or service and be prepared to adjust to different ways of living.
How do I look after my wellbeing on tour?
Life can become a little hectic on tour. No sooner have you settled into your new digs and found your way around, you are on the move again - new digs, new place, and new people. It can be easy to dismiss the importance of regular meal times, quiet moments and a good night’s sleep, but these will become your best friend in surviving your touring experience.
It can be the smallest details that make you happy, but they are no less important. To be the best you can be whilst on tour, the best advice would be to eat well, sleep well and take regular breaks. And don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.
“If you're feeling slightly drained, ask for help. That means saying to your fellow company members, who are your family, “You know what? I'm so exhausted. When you're going to go to get your food or whatever, please can you bring back a juice for me or something?”
Booking your digs in advance can also relieve some of the pressure, leaving you to focus on your rehearsals and shows. Your digs can make or break your tour and it could be argued that accommodation can play a large part in its success, so it’s worth investing time to do some research.
One actor describes the importance of good digs and how they contribute to his overall wellbeing.
“When I finish my work, I can't wait to go to where I'm staying, and I have a hot drink or have a bath or have a shower. You know it's going to be warm, there's going to be a bed and pillows and stuff.”
It’s not just the digs themselves that you have to consider, you may want to give some thought about who else you want to live with or if you would prefer to have your own space.
The Important Questions
Finding a place to stay can be challenging, especially when booking for extended periods of time. Here are a few tips which might be useful to consider when booking long-term accommodation.
1. What do you want vs need?
When searching for digs, it may be worthwhile to first distinguish essential requirements from luxuries. This should help you to choose a place that makes you feel at home, whilst also allowing room for compromise.
2. What can your host tell you about the place?
A brief conversation with the host ahead of booking provides the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. Whether you require a private bathroom, access to a washing machine or even an additional guest, confirming these details with the host prior to arrival can prevent any future misunderstandings.
3. Is there kitchen access?
Eating out for three meals a day can become very expensive. When booking long-term accommodation, you may wish to search for a place that offer full access to a kitchen or cooking and preparation facilities.
4. Is there flexible access?
With late mornings and late nights, the working hours of performers differ greatly from those working a 9 to 5. Whilst this is something that many theatre hosts can expect, other holiday hosts may not be aware of this. If you’re booking with a non-theatre host, we would advise that you discuss your working schedule with the host prior to booking the digs.
Touring can be hectic, but it’s all a part of the fun. Planning your accommodation, travel, and luggage ahead of your departure date can help to eliminate any last-minute stresses.
The most important advice of all is to have fun, make memories and enjoy it!
TheatreDigsBooker is the UK’s no. 1 accommodation resource for touring theatre professionals. They offer a Tour Page feature that allows touring theatre professionals to manage their accommodation by displaying all of their venues and bookings on one easy-to-manage page. Unlike many other booking sites, TheatreDigsBooker allows you to pay a 10% deposit to secure the property and then pay the remaining balance upon arrival. Just check your host’s preferred options ahead of time; discuss a possible payment plan with the host to avoid paying the total cost in advance. Find out more information here.