Traveling Like a Pro……..

Let’s talk travel. I am always amazed at how some magicians approach the business of travel. Whether it’s a 20-minute drive in your Toyota to the other side of town, or 36 hours of intricately engineered flights to Ho Chi Min City, remember it’s the travel you’re really being paid for. The show is the cherry on the Sundae.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from Roy Johnson. He pointed out that it doesn’t matter how long you spend setting up or preparing props/tricks at home but always have them ready to go at zero time when you arrive at your gig. That way you are best prepared for the unexpected delays that are hidden in that deceptively simple word—-travel.

Any real pro will tell you that you should always allow way more time than you think it will take to arrive at your gig. The worst that can happen is you get to enjoy a cup of coffee when you arrive at the gig. At best you might well pick up useful tips about the upcoming show. It makes your client feel good too when they know you have arrived.

In this day and age, if you are a jobbing magician, there is no excuse for not having a smart phone (OK, I really mean an iPhone) to give you a GPS system, house your contract, and allow you to keep in touch. When you are flying that iPhone is even more essential.

With all the international travel I do, I have got a list of Apps that I would never travel without. My personal treasure trove of travel-aids includes; Flight Tracker, Airport Maps, Airport Codes, Country Maps, Currency Translator, World Clock, Free Wi-Fi Finder and Call A Cab. These Apps have saved my ass on many occasions and probably cost less than 15 bucks between them.

I always arrive way early for any flight, that way I have the ability to know about any delays at the earliest point and can take action accordingly. If a flight is cancelled you can use your iPhone to find an alternative flight and then make a reservation on it, while the masses are lining up at flight desk, maybe trying to get that same reservation you just locked in on your phone.

Other vital tips, for the traveling magician is making sure you have the actual necessities for travel. These including; a pen— easy to forget, spare cash for unexpected expenses like departure taxes that can’t be charged, all the visas you need and last but not least a show.

I am always shocked by how many performers do not carry a full show in their hand baggage. Luggage gets lost and delayed all the time. Even if you perform a ‘Big’ show take the time to sit down and work out what tricks you can fit in your hand baggage and still present a full show. Let me start this list with; 6 Card Repeat, Torn & Restored Newspaper, Cards Across, Coin in Bottle, A rope routine etc. etc. You could fit that list in the pockets of your travel suit. Oh, did I forget to mention traveling in a suit in which you can work in if it is needed.

I could go on for a while with simple but oft neglected things.However, maybe you should book my lecture on ‘Making Money With Magic’ where I can really get into it!



~ by Nick Lewin on November 3, 2010.

3 Responses to “Traveling Like a Pro……..”

  1. Should you carry an empty glass bottle or a Nielsen bottle and a paper bag?

  2. If you fly internationally, and from there to a domestic location, compare the weight limits for all legs of your flight and pack accordingly. Airlines sometimes change their rules and regulations unexpextedly. A recent trip to China cost me over $150 US because of that oversight, and that was each way.

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