When you’re planning travel to a concert, sporting event, convention, or conference, preparation is key to enjoying your event to the fullest. Nothing is worse than getting to the venue and realizing you aren’t prepared for hiccups like bad weather or a missing ticket. This list will help you and your travel companions avoid disaster and travel comfortably to your event as a group or on your own.
Create a Budget
Whether you’re going away for the weekend or flying halfway across the world to experience your event, your budget is key. Even if your trip only spans a day or two, knowing your per diem amount on necessities like food, fuel, and any overnight accommodations helps to keep spending under control. A budget can also help evenly divide travel expenses so you can share the cost of traveling to and enjoying the event with members of your group.
Budget for activities beyond attending your event and set aside funds for exploring your destination. If a city has a stadium or convention center, there are probably a lot of fun activities nearby. Scout out some local attractions ahead of time and the costs associated with them to include them in your budget. Check exchange rates if you’re leaving the country for your event.
Create a Trip Itinerary
Plan an itinerary, especially if you’re part of a group, to keep event travel organized and spend more time together. If you’re driving and are taking separate vehicles, plan to stop for breaks and coordinate your departure to reach the event destination at roughly the same time. For multi-day trips, agree upon the progress you can safely make each day without feeling exhausted and overextended prior to the event.
If your event trip includes downtime before or after the event, add some sightseeing or activities to your itinerary. You may not have the opportunity to explore your event destination again, especially if you’re flying overseas to your event.
Check the Weather
Check the forecast beginning a few days before your trip to prepare for difficult weather conditions. Major weather events can be unsafe without proper precautions, and keep you from reaching your event in time or enjoying it once you get there. Big events like concerts and games will likely happen rain or shine. You’ll want to pack accordingly.
In this case, “essentials” can depend on your personal needs and the type of event you’re attending, but there are a few basics to consider. Reaching an event usually requires no more than a few days of travel and one or two nights, so you’ll want to pack pretty light, especially when carpooling or flying with a quick layover.
Depending on the event and the season, you’ll want to bring more than one pair of shoes. A pair of flip flops are great for the airport or slipping on and off during a road trip. If it’s a winter event you’re attending, you’ll want to pack a pair of heavy, water resistant boots to keep your feet dry even when outdoors for hours at a time. If you and your event companions expect to wait in long lines to enter the venue, you’ll want something comfortable to stand in.
Depending on the time of year, you may want to pack in case of emergencies, which in this case could mean an extra outfit or layers to keep you warm and dry. You’ll of course also want to pack any items related to your event, such as gear or clothing showing off your fandom. If your event is outdoors, be sure to pack sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat!
Prepare your Tickets
If your venue accepts hard copies of tickets at security checkpoints, print copies of them ahead of time and keep them nearby. If your venue only accepts digital tickets, download any required apps and log in beforehand. Event venues that take digital tickets usually require an official QR or barcode to check into the event. The nice thing about digital tickets is that they aren’t as easy to lose but you need to be logged in and ready to present them by the time you reach the venue entrance.
Prepare for Tailgating
Tailgating is often based on a culture where everyone contributes and like minded fans spend time together before the event. Stick to simple foods that are easy to eat while standing up. Finger foods prepared in a slow cooker are always a treat, just remember the disposable silverware.
Take the Bus
If your event is in the city, beat event traffic and avoid the stress of driving in an unfamiliar place by taking public transportation around town. Convention centers and sports stadiums in many cities now offer affordable park and ride options, allowing you to leave your car in a designated lot to take the bus or train for the journey’s last leg. You might just meet a few of your fellow fans on your way to the venue!
If you flew into town for your event or want to leave your car in the hotel parking lot while you head to the location of your event you may want to research the reliability of the local bus line or other public transportation ahead of time. In many cities, buses may be your best, most cost-effective transportation option. Queue up your GPS so when you disembark so you’ll be able to navigate your way to around town. Keep in mind that densely packed events and populated urban areas can at times overload 4G and 5G networks, causing GPS and text messaging to fail.
Make (or Buy) a First Aid Kit
Carry a first aid kit with you and store it in your vehicle at the event. While you may not be able to take your kit into the event with you, it’ll bring peace of mind knowing that it’s available in your vehicle if you need it at any point in your trip. Some notable first aid kit items include bandages, adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, saline lavage, hydrocortisone cream, antihistamines, and a debriding agent such as hydrogen peroxide.