Travel Like a Pro


Travel Like a Pro

Attending a Bands of America event will be one of the most memorable and rewarding trips your students will take. It’s also survival of the fittest in the parking lot jungle, with performances in a venue filled with exuberant fans. As with any challenge, the hill looks taller from the bottom than it does after the climb. As Ted Lasso said, “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.” A few tips for those on their first trip ever or their first trip in years.

Plan Ahead
Put the regional or Grand Nationals date on your schedule first and work backwards. Keep track of how much you rehearse that week. Attending an event makes for several long days. If you have a football game the night before, consider traveling after the last buzzer and get some good sleep near the event city.

Make Solid Meal Decisions
Choose a hotel that has a breakfast option. Make sure they open in time for an early meal or ask if they can provide a boxed breakfast if your prelims warm-up time requires you to leave the hotel before sunrise. Secure lunch options in or around the stadium. Some venues no longer accept cash or won’t allow food on their property. You may have to move to a local school to eat a delivered lunch which might also allow for sectionals and a quick refresher rehearsal. Keep track of your pre-draw finals slot so you can be ready for a quick dinner before the students have to dress and get to warm-up for finals. The stadium will likely be cleared immediately following the announcement of finalists and that could thwart your plans for a hot dog or chicken sandwich from concessions.

Bus and Truck Driver and Hours
Most school corporations and all motor coach operators restrict the amount of hours for their drivers. If the drivers are up and rolling at 6 a.m. will they still have the hours to get you back home after full retreat and packing up the trailer?

Plan to Move Forward in the Competition
Every group gives their best effort to be one of the best in the contest. Not all groups will move on from prelims or semi-finals, but all groups should plan to do so. If the results don’t fall in line, it’s much easier to update timelines and enjoy the next round of competition rather than scramble to be ready for the next performance.

Include Resting Periods
The performing members, staff and parents will become fatigued. An early start, rush of adrenaline, performance energy and the release will all lead to the need for some rest. A quiet charter bus or a nice shaded park will allow all to take a break and reset for the next challenge.

Bring More Water
Giant coolers, personal water bottles and more water than you think you could possibly need will be necessary. Most students complain of not feeling well more times because they are dehydrated than for any other reason. Even when they don’t want water, encourage them to drink more water. In the long run, their abilities will be enhanced if they stay hydrated.

Inform Your Parents and Fans
Make sure your supporters know your current schedule. Keep them informed of updates throughout the day via messaging systems. BOA tickets may be purchased online for all events. Encourage those coming to the event to purchase tickets ahead of the event, saving them the steps and time to find the box office. Most venues only except electronic tickets so your cell phone will be your best option. Also, many larger stadiums have adopted clear bag policies. Check the rules online or look for notices posted by BOA prior to the event.

Added Adventures for Extra Fun
You’ve come all this way, make it even more special with a cool activity. The morning after the show, have breakfast provided by the hotel (a game changer), load up the coaches and make your way to a local pier or outdoor mall for some quick souvenirs, shopping and lunch. After an hour or so, continue your journey with a much more relaxed and napping crew.

It’s a Long Weekend
Expect the unexpected. When an opportunity or challenge is presented, contact your travel planner and, if it affects the show operations, contact BOA. As the Preferred Student Travel Provider for Music for All and Bands of America, MTC is always available to help and almost always close by.

A trip to a BOA Regional or Grand Nationals is a life-changing experience. With the right planning and quick reaction to challenges, your students will create forever memories. “I feel like we fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down, ended up in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids.” – Ted Lasso

Ready to plan your trip to a regional or Indianapolis for BOA Grand Nationals? Click HERE and start planning your journey today!

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