Whether you're coping with higher gas prices for your ailing van, or concerned that the flight you're taking for your west coast tour might leave you stranded, it's tough to factor travel expenses into the equation for booking. Keep these tips in mind when planning your October and November tour dates:
If you're not already playing lots of gigs in your own area, avoid spending money on out-of-town travel unless you have a solid gig swap or a dependable audience waiting for you. This fall is not the time for speculative trips to New York or Los Angeles!
If you already have a commitment to play out of town, bookend that date with some other gigs on the way there or on the way back. You can amortize the cost of a long drive by adding even a few bucks to the tip jar along the way.
Check gas prices online before hitting the road. It might save you a few bucks to fill up before crossing the state line into a region with higher taxes or service fees.
Book your airline tickets with a major credit card in your name, in case you need to make a last minute change of plans at the airport to make your gig on time. If a carrier has to refund money because of a cancelled flight, they'll do it to the account that the original ticket was charged to. And if you need to turn around and use that refund on a discount carrier, you'll want that credit back on your own card so you can make the purchase. If you're booking tickets with the card of your boyfriend/booking agent/manager/mom, you might be stranded at the airport.
If your flight has been cancelled, call the reservations number for your airline instead of waiting for an overburdened gate agent to help you. They'll be less stressed and they can get you where you're going.
If you don't have a credit card in your own name, you can get a great business debit card, like the one I use from Bank of America, that even lets you rent cars. Failing that, American Express now offers prepaid debit cards in lieu of travelers checks. Carry some form of plastic that your support team at home can reload by making a deposit at a bank or online. You don't want to miss a gig because you're stuck at a Western Union office.
Two words: Roadside Assistance.