One of the obstacles to traveling I often hear is how difficult it can be to plan a trip and how choosing the destination can be the hardest part. If you desire to travel (or love it like I do), you probably have a bucket list of destinations and prioritizing them can be tricky. So, why not pair an epic event with your travels and let the event help you plan your next trip? By doing so, you focus less on the location and more on the experiences to be had there.
I must add here, too, that if you’re a live music or event fan, crossing off a bucket list location with a bucket list experience is almost indescribable. My mom and I once traveled to New York to see superstars Sting and Paul Simon on stage together in Madison Square Garden. To say the experience was epic would be an understatement.
The feelings are engraved in my soul. It was my first time in “The Garden”, and as the lights dimmed, the spotlights rose, and both artists began belting out each other’s hits, I was hit with a rush of emotions. There I was, standing with my mom, who had raised me to appreciate music and who had also just finished cancer treatment, and I was surrounded by walls that had hosted vast talent and history-making moments over all its years, and I was listening to two legends live. I get chills just thinking about it. Simply magical.
At Happy Tracks, we’re all about finding joy in travel, so make it easy on yourself and consider one of the following ways to help plan (and sweeten) your next adventure.
1. Prioritize who you’d like to see the most.
I’ve always had a list of singers/bands/musicians that I want to see before they or I die. It sounds harsh but, come on…Phil Collin’s current tour is called the “Still Not Dead Yet” tour for a reason. They may or may not be touring now, but by following them online or on social media, you can keep your finger on their pulse and watch for any upcoming shows. I did this for years with Phil Collins. Then, after 10 years in retirement, he announced a tour, and I jumped on it. I bought tickets in March for an October show in New York (yep…a personal reunion with The Garden) and had plenty of time to plan my trip around the main event. I was not at all disappointed, either. Epic voice from my youth and an incredible NYC trip all rolled into one!
2. Pinpoint a venue.
Years ago, my mom and I planned a trip to drive all over Wyoming and South Dakota, visiting Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and all the beautiful spots in between. I had also always wanted to attend the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the country’s largest outdoor rodeo that runs for two weeks each summer. So, we knew where we were headed and had a time frame in mind, but it wasn’t until I checked the Frontier Days entertainment roster and spotted Martina McBride on the line-up that we bought tickets and finalized the trip. We didn’t go to Wyoming just to see Martina McBride, but her show date solidified our travel plans, made us press the “book” button, and we found ourselves not only experiencing all of Wyoming as we’d hoped, but we memorialized the trip with one of the best set of pipes to ever grace country music.
3. Be open to opportunities.
Sometimes spontaneity and sacrifice work in your favor when it comes to seeing the world. Last week, while crossing Phil Collins off my list in New York, I received a super generous ticket offer from a friend. He had an extra floor ticket, in the 6th row, for the Phil Collins show in Denver- only one week away. Realizing this could be an opportunity to explore Denver, a city I’d been to many times but never really explored as a tourist, I checked the last-minute flight options. For less than $200, I flew roundtrip from Houston to Denver, where I spent a long day reveling in the fabulous weather and a night enjoying the show from a much better angle than I had a week before. I was exhausted, but it only took 24 hours from start to finish to add that experience to my life list.
4. Exploit existing plans.
Take advantage of any upcoming travel plans. Are you traveling for work soon? Where are you headed? Could you skip out of yet another dinner with colleagues to check out the local scene?
If you already have a quick trip planned for some reason, check the location’s live event schedule or arts/culture scene. I’ve found that a simple Google search like “concerts in Atlanta in March 2020” yields a ton of opportunities. Last year, I had a weekend trip planned to see The Eagles and James Taylor perform in Philadelphia. Planning to explore all Philly had to offer, I checked to see what was happening there that weekend. To my delight, Billy Joel was scheduled to play the night before The Eagles, and cheap seats were still available. So, for a few extra bucks, I saw three musical legends over the course of two days while taking in the sights and sounds of an entirely new city. Definitely a bang for my buck and one of my best live music weekends ever.
5. Think locally.
Lastly, don’t forget that you don’t have to hop on an airplane to have an adventure. My family and I once took a quick day trip to Galveston, TX, (nearly two hours from my house) to see Mamma Mia live on stage at the historical “The Grand” theater. The theater was magical, and I felt as if we were far away in a new world, when we were really just across town.
How about you? Have you ever used a live event, like a concert or musical, to guide your travels or decision-making? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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Hi, I'm Brooke. I travel the world at every opportunity, and I hope to help you do the same. I offer travel tips and insights from a real world, every day perspective. Read more about me and my vision for Happy Tracks here.