Tips for Travelling With a Marching Band

Tips for Travelling With a Marching Band

Traveling with a school marching band can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. How do you ensure that your trip is successful and stress-free while still maintaining the high standards of your band's performance?

Being a part of a school marching band means more than just playing music – it also involves traveling to various locations for performances and competitions. This can be a thrilling adventure, but it can also be overwhelming if you're not properly prepared.

Whether you're a seasoned member or a newbie, certain tips and tricks can help make your travels with the school marching band a smooth and enjoyable band experience.

From packing efficiently to staying organized, these tips will ensure that your band trip is memorable for all the right reasons.

Tips for Traveling With Your Band

1. Plan Ahead:

Make sure you have all the necessary travel arrangements in place well in advance. This includes booking transportation, lodging, and any necessary meals with adequate time to cancel or change itinerary. Although many of the travel expenses are paid for by the school or band, they usually set a fixed budget or cost per person, so make sure you'll have enough extra money for food, travel, or emergencies.

And speaking of an itinerary, make a detailed daily routine that outlines the schedule for rehearsals, performances, and downtime. Your band director and the band staff should also be in constant communication with you, your family, bus companies, and the travel agency (if using one.) If not, call this out, and don't just wait for them to act.

2. Pack Smart

When traveling with a marching band, you'll likely have a lot of equipment to bring along. From a case to band uniforms, it's a whole job, just packing. Avoid heavy suitcases because you'll already be packing a lot because this isn't just another band camp, but a whole trip.

If it's a bus trip, you might not have to worry about weight limits, but if the band event requires an airplane trip, then you'll have to be even more cautious with what you pack

And do this with time to spare, change, add, and double-check:

  • Instrument and necessary accessories (sturdy case, reeds, valve oil, mallets, etc.)
  • Uniform (including hat, gloves, concert pants, and appropriate shoes)
  • Music folder and stand
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses (with 100% UVA and UVB protection)
  • Hat or visor for sun protection
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Snacks or energy bars
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Phone charger and power bank
  • Comfortable clothing and athletic shoes for downtime
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Earplugs for loud environments
  • Cash or card for meals and incidentals
  • Travel itinerary and contact information for the band director or chaperones.

Tips for When Flying With Band Equipment

Going by bus trip to your destination is easier, with almost no limits to your weight and carry-ons, but if the trip calls for taking a flight, then here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan for TSA screening regardless of instrument size.
  • Check carry-on and personal items, and check bag weight limits and fees.
  • Know airline policies and print out relevant rules.
  • Instruments must fit in carry-on space.
  • Instruments on United Airlines must be in hard-shell cases (specific rules vary by airline.)
  • Ensure instruments are properly secured and labeled.
  • Coordinate with the band director for logistics.
  • Pack efficiently to minimize excess baggage.
  • Consider shipping some equipment in advance.
  • Plan for potential delays or mishandling of equipment..
  • Some airlines offer the option to purchase an additional seat for your instrument, but instruments must fit in the seat without blocking signage.

3. Stay Organized

Keep track of your music, schedules, and any other important documents in a folder or binder. Make sure you have everything you need for performances and rehearsals, including any uniform pieces or accessories. Always set extra time for getting ready, arriving, or eating while on the trip. Don't be the one that makes the group late for that charter bus.

4. Stay Hydrated and Energized

Traveling with a marching band can be physically demanding, so it's important to take care of yourself. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious meals. Make sure you get enough rest each night so you can perform at your best.

5. Respect Others

This might be common sense, but remember that you are representing your school or organization while traveling with a marching band. Be respectful of your fellow members, whether they're color guards, drum majors, bugle corps, directors, chaperones, or anyone else you encounter during your trip. Treat others with kindness and courtesy at all times.

6. Have Fun

While traveling with a marching band may involve hard work and long hours, it's also a unique opportunity to make memories and have fun with your friends. Take advantage of any downtime to explore new places, try new foods, and enjoy the experience of being on the road with your bandmates. It doesn't matter if it's just an overnight trip to the football game or a visit to Walt Disney World; find the fun in any marching band trip.

photo of a marching band travel checklist

A Checklist for the Marching Band Director

A marching band trip can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the band members and the band directors. But the directors have much more on their plate and won't have to just worry about packing their body spray or instruments. They have a slew of responsibilities, with the band families also relying on them to care for and supervise the band members.

Among the most important items on a director's checklist are:

Band Member Management:

As a marching band director traveling with the team, it is crucial to account for every band member on the trip. This includes knowing everyone's whereabouts at all times, arranging travel to and from performance venues, ensuring overnight accommodations are in order, and confirming that all travel arrangements are set. One useful idea is to get every band member matching shirts or colors to identify them while they're not at the hotel, performing, or practicing. By managing members effectively in these areas, the trip can run smoothly, and everyone can focus on the performance ahead.

Practice Coordination:

To prepare the performers, scheduling practice time is essential. It is also important to acclimate band members to larger stages, reduce performance nerves by practicing at the venue, familiarize them with the performance environment, and help them feel comfortable on stage. Through effective practice coordination, members can build confidence and deliver outstanding performances.

City Exploration and Activities:

Organizing events for band members in visited cities can enhance their overall experience. Planning trips to local attractions, allowing members to watch sporting events, exploring the cities, and attending games can increase team support and create memorable moments for everyone.

Just make sure this won't represent too much of an extra cost for both the band and the members, as not all of them might have enough extra money for food or sightseeing.

By incorporating city exploration and activities into the trip, band members can bond and enjoy new experiences together.

Chaperone Management:

Selecting trustworthy chaperones for the trip is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of band members. Seeking assistance from teachers or parents, sharing responsibility with other adults and band staff, increasing supervision with additional authority figures, and effectively monitoring band members are key aspects of chaperone management. By having a reliable team of chaperones in place, the trip can be organized and secure for all participants.

Utilizing Local Expertise:

Besides consulting a travel company, utilizing local expertise can enhance the band experience in each city visited. You're a band director, not a travel planner, so it's best to seek advice from local resources, consult with the concierge for recommendations, ask locals for dining and sightseeing suggestions, tap into venue contacts for activity ideas, and benefit from local knowledge for activities can provide valuable insights and opportunities for band members. By leveraging local expertise, the trip can be enriched with unique and authentic experiences.

Is Your Marching Band Uniform Incomplete Before That Big Trip? Cousin's Has You Covered.

Before embarking on your exciting marching band trip, it is crucial to ensure that every member has a complete and properly fitting uniform. Whether it's missing buttons, a broken zipper, or simply needing some alterations, Cousin's has got you covered.

At Cousin's, we understand the importance of looking sharp and feeling confident in your marching band uniform. Our experienced tailors can make any necessary repairs or adjustments to ensure that your uniform.

You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered
Recently Viewed