Pop princess Britney Spears has just recently kicked off her Asian Tour, having played in Manila and Bangkok these past couple of weeks.
This Friday (30 June), the 35-year-old will be heading to the small island located south of Malaysia for the last leg of her tour.
And once again, another performer has decided to not perform in Malaysia.
We know how devastating it feels when your favourite singer or band skips your country and decides to play at neighbouring countries instead (we’re looking at you, Singapore). But for any true-blue fan, it won’t be a problem for them. Once you’ve secured your tickets, you can pack up your bags and leave for an experience of a lifetime.
Sure, some of you may have reservations travelling to another country just to catch a concert, but trust us, it is worth the journey!
Which is why we’ve compiled a definitive guide based on our own experiences on how you can survive your first concert abroad.
Once your favourite band announces the tour dates and venue, narrow down the places you feel that will be most convenient for you. Do your research – how much will the flights and accommodation cost, are their public transportation reliable and convenient, is the exchange rate going to make you poor once you come back, etc.
However, if you’re too lazy to do any of the above, find a female friend who has major stalking skills. If she’s a hardcore social media stalker, chances are, she’ll get the job done within an hour thanks to her ‘crime scene investigation’ skills.
#2 BOOK EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE
After an episode of trying to secure your concert tickets has successfully ended (remember the whole Coldplay drama when the tickets were sold out almost instantly), it’s time to take into account the next most important things – your flight and accommodation.
Booking flights can be a hassle for some people, but we’ve got some pro tips and tricks on how you can score the cheapest fare.
Always book ahead of time, never wait till the 11th
hour to book your flight ticket. Chances are, they’ll even be more expensive than the VIP concert tickets or your entire trip.
You can also use certain apps that help monitor the price of flight tickets such as Skyscanner. Or if you’re a pro and roughly know when airlines will be having their free seats sales, it’s best to wait out and buy during that promotional period.
Alternatively, if you have the luxury of time, take flights that have layovers as they tend to be cheaper.
Before you decide where to stay, check how many people are tagging along first. Will you be going alone or with a group of friends? If you’re staying alone, we highly recommend you to stay at a backpackers hostel as it will save you a lot of money and you’ll even make new friends along the way.
If you’re travelling in groups, hotels with double or triple beds would suffice. However, if you’re going to bring the whole kampung
entourage with you, renting out an apartment or Airbnb would be a better and cost-saving option.
Regardless of the size of your accommodation, always make sure it’s close to public transportations that have direct access to the concert venue. And the earlier you book, the higher the chances of you getting a cheaper hotel near the venue
. You don’t want to end up forking out big bucks to stay at a 5-star ‘atas’ hotel unless you’re a luxurious traveller.
Trust us, you don’t want to stay at a hipster-looking hotel but it's hundreds of kilometers away from the concert venue. Save your Instagram-worthy hotel snaps for another vacation trip.
#3 DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Image: Gif: Giphy
If you’re catching a concert in any Asean countries, chances are, the weather might be similar to Malaysia. However, always check the weather forecast
to see if there’s any chance of rain so you know you can bring an umbrella or a raincoat. Concerts will usually go on rain or shine, so be prepared.
But if you’re travelling to European countries, bear in mind that they have four seasons and it is really important to know which season you’ll be experiencing when you’re there. Bring proper clothing especially if the concert is during a chilly autumn or early winter.
This isn’t some concert in your air-conditioned bedroom, so you don’t want to end up freezing and not being able to enjoy the concert.
#4 PLAN OUT YOUR TRAVEL ROUTES
Travelling to somewhere foreign even though it’s just our neighbouring countries can make you anxious. Make sure you’ve devised your travel plans cohesively prior to travelling to that country. You do not want to get lost on your way to the concert, do you?
If you’re taking public transportations such as the subway or the bus, identify which stations you need to get on or alight at, and which bus or train line you’re taking. There’s plenty of information you can find on the internet and in some countries, they even have their own public transportation website to help you plan your journey and calculate your fare.
Want to skip the hassle and take a cab instead? Make sure you roughly know the route and estimated fare so you don’t get swindled.
If you feel unsure or lost, don’t be shy to ask the locals. Trust us, God will send you a saviour to help you.
#5 BE THERE ON TIME
We know we Malaysians have this Malaysian-timing habit, but that doesn’t mean you can apply it to concerts. Unless you don’t mind seating at the back or even worse, missing the starting bit of the concert.
If you’ve purchased free standing or seating tickets, be early! You’d want the best seats in the house to maximise your concert experience. And those early birds may sometimes be rewarded with cool stuff the concert organisers will give away such as the cool xylobands given out at Coldplay concerts.
Be early, it's worth the queue!
#6 CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THE INTERNET?
It’s very important to keep in touch with your family members at home as well as the people you’re going to the concert with. Check with your telco provider how much it will cost for international roaming and make sure the charges you’re getting for each call or text sent. But if you’re planning to extend your stay, opting for a local SIM card may be a cheaper option.
It’s very unlikely for concert halls to provide free Wi-Fi, so be smart! You definitely DO NOT want to get home to find out your phone bill has skyrocketed to thousands of Ringgit.
#7 CASH IS KING
Bring enough money! Our currency rate is plummeting by the day, so the earlier you exchange it, the more you’ll get out of it. Find money changers that offer a good rate, there are a few famous ones in Klang Valley where you can see a never-ending long queue (hint:Mid Valley).
Never exchange your money at the airport, unless you’re really desperate
. Airport exchange rates tend to be a lot higher than the actual rate in the market.
Make sure you’ve calculated your expenses in advance and bring an extra stash of cash in case of an emergency.
Don’t like walking around with a lot of cash with you? You can also use your credit or debit cards abroad. Call your bank before travelling to enable your card to make overseas withdrawals.
After you’ve done your research and prepared for this concert trip, there’s only one thing left to do… don’t forget to scream your lungs out and have fun!
Opportunities like this don’t come often, so enjoy and cherish every moment you have.