Going on tour with your band will be one of the most magical and life-changing experiences you’ll ever have. Hopping from city to city, meeting new people, playing music, and forming unbreakable bonds with your best friends while sitting in a basement bar in Pittsburgh eating $2 pierogies at midnight—these are the stories you’ll tell future generations in years to come. But, of course, there’s also the reality that the van will start to permanently smell like farts on day three and giving yourself a sink bath at truck stops is not, in fact, glamourous.
In other words, there are highs and lows when it comes to tour life, but as long as you’re prepared for it all, it’s one of the best adventures you’ll ever have. Because being stuck in smelly, moldy, sticky, and just downright dirty vans for countless hours with your band while crossing borders, eating gas station hot dogs, and listening to the same Bruce Springsteen cassette for hours because the CD player broke is actually goddamn great. It may not be how you pictured playing shows across America with your band and you may have to sleep in your cousin’s friend’s basement, but you’re living breathing proof that, well, you rule.
Whether you’re tackling a four-week U.S. tour or just hitting the road for a few out-of-town shows, here’s a guide to having your goddamn cake and eating it too—or, at least, like, being a somewhat presentable, decent human being while traveling in your 15-passenger home on wheels.