As most of you know the SXSW Music + Film + Interactive Festivals and Conferences are fast approaching. Over the next five days, I’ll provide you with 5 different daily tips in various areas (lodging, driving, getting around Austin, etc.) that will hopefully help you maximize your trip based on my own personal experiences.
As I said yesterday in my first 5 tips, my focus will mainly be on the Music and Media Conferences (March 17-21), but many of my tips and advice will be general enough that you can apply them towards any part of SXSW.
Todays 5 Tips are for those Driving to Austin
For some the drive to Texas has been planned for quite some time. Others may have procrastinated and may decide in the next few days that they are going to head down there without much of a game plan.
I think everyone should make the drive through Texas at least once. It should be a mandatory rite of passage necessary prior to being allowed to proceed with any further road trips. 80% percent of the drive you’ll have that “glazed over” look with no hope of distractions from your barren country route. However, Texas has some of the best cities (in my opinion) to make a quick getaway to at least once every few years, and Austin tops the list (I’ve always said that if I ever decided to move away from LA and Orange Counties, Austin would probably be my top choice of new city to reside in).
I’ve made this specific drive to Austin, specifically for SXSW twice as an adult (ok, ok …I’ll confess not by myself and one time I didn’t even drive but you get the point, right?), and a few other times on family trips as a child/teenager.
Don’t complain about the lack of scenery, instead take advantage of it. If you have co-pilots that will be sharing driving duties you can use this time to get some sleep, given the fact that you probably will not be getting any for the next 4 days (or however long you’re there for).
Anyhow before I start to ramble any more than I already have here are the 5 Tips for those you who have decided to drive (whether you are in a band or not)
1. Directions – If your car doesn’t have a navigation system (and even if it does) don’t forget to bring the directions, a Thomas Guide, or at least map (one that has (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas would probably be more helpful than that decorative one you have of Paris that hangs on your wall). Don’t count on your phones to bail you out as sometimes those 3Gs and 4Gs aren’t as reliable as the OGs at the gas stations that give you directions.
Common sense right? Well let me just tell you, that one year due to printing of misc. last minute items (Party RSVPs, directions to hotels and parties, lists of shows we wanted to check out, etc) we completely forgot to bring directions to Austin from Los Angeles with us and if my memory serves me correctly we did not have maps with us. So we had to call a friend and ask her to send us directions to Austin via text/email. She of course was more than amused, finding it to be the most hilarious thing she’d ever heard. I wasn’t worried for one, as I have a photographic memory and had taken a quick glance at the directions and knew that we had to jump on the 10 East and drive for about 12-15 hours through Arizona, New Mexico, and into Texas on it. So we had plenty of time to get someone to give us directions, but after the 10 we had no idea what to do. So don’t start your trip with this stress and remember to take the directions or a map with you. (more…)