Not even an international move could stop Beck Ducharme from seeing Taylor Swift in concert.
The 23-year-old bought tickets for the singer’s Eras Tour in her hometown of Pittsburgh in 2022, months before she moved to Suffolk, England, with her husband. But as the June concert approached, Swift hadn’t yet announced any dates across the pond.
“So, with the uncertainty of not even knowing if she was going to be touring through Europe, I was like, it was a no-brainer for me to go home,” said Ducharme, who has been a Swift fan since she was 8 and attended nearly all of her tours.
She was hardly alone. An August survey of more than 1,400 U.S. users of the travel app TripIt found that 1 in 5 respondents traveled for a pop culture event or other similar reasons such as a sporting event, a convention like Comic-Con, or others in the past year. Among those, 68% said they traveled to see an artist or a performer. Multiple U.S. cities also saw boosts in visitors from the Eras Tour.
In the wake of blockbuster tours from superstars like Swift and Beyoncé, some travelers spent the summer making lengthy treks to see live music. But even with added expenses like flights and lodging, the cost-benefit analysis of taking a trip for a concert is not always simple.
‘Two birds with one stone’
Tevaar Smith was about to book a short vacation to Toronto when he decided to go see Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour in Vancouver instead. The 33-year-old had gotten fear of missing out after seeing so many of his peers attend, and the trip earlier this month presented an opportunity.
“I was already gonna go to Toronto to visit because I’d never been to Canada,” said Smith, who lives in New York and works for a music distribution company. “And I was like, ‘I can reroute to Vancouver (instead) … and I can also see Beyoncé – so I can knock out two birds with one stone.’”
Smith spent three days exploring the city and met with a friend who traveled to see the show with him. While he was a self-described “moderate” Beyoncé fan before the concert, the roughly six-hour plane trip paid off. “It’s probably the best concert I’ve ever been to,” he said.
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Jayben Favila made a similar journey in reverse. The 24-year-old flew from Toronto to Houston for the Eras Tour in April, partly because limited Canadian tour dates often make getting tickets to local shows tougher, and he has relatives in the Texas city.
“It'd been a long time since I'd seen family in Houston,” said Favila, who works in information technology. “So, I wanted to see them and also enjoy the concert with my aunt.” Filipino-British musician Beabadoobee was also one of the openers for that date.
“I’m Filipino myself, and she's one of those artists that I really connect with, especially with my culture and my background,” said Favila. "It was kind of my own personal moment for me to see an artist like that open up for Taylor Swift.”
His trip was part family visit – he stayed with his aunt – and part Swiftie pilgrimage. Favila even visited a local shop to buy a copy of “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” during Record Store Day hours before the show.
Is it expensive to travel to a concert?
Smith estimated he spent around $2,200 in total for his tickets, flights and hotel in Vancouver to see Beyoncé. While he considered seeing the show in New Orleans near where he grew up, tickets he viewed to that show were about $500 more for worse seats. He also didn’t decide he wanted to go until it was too late to get reasonably-priced tickets to see Beyoncé near New York.
He realized that by combining the concert with a vacation he planned to take anyway, he could “come out on top.” He estimates he saved around $1,000 by not doing them as two separate trips.
The expenses were also steep for Ducharme, who works in marketing for a nonprofit.
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She had saved money and went to two Eras shows in a row, going by herself the first night “because I was determined to get a floor seat no matter what it cost.” The first night’s ticket ran her $850, while the next night's tickets “in the nosebleeds” cost Ducharme, her cousin and two friends $120 each. She also paid around $800 for round-trip flights, though she noted that price was “kind of standard” for fares from London and back, particularly during the busy summer travel season.
However, like Favila, she saved on lodging, staying with her parents during the three-week trip.
Favila’s flight cost him around $450. He declined to say how much his ticket to the Eras Tour cost but said he bought them at “face value.”
Is it worth it to travel to a concert?
Seeing the Renaissance World Tour in an unfamiliar city made the experience more special for Smith. “Being in Vancouver added kind of a unique element to it,” he said.
For Favila, the combination of artists playing and location made Swift's concert "kind of like a once-in-a-lifetime moment" that he was willing to spring for.
Ducharme noted that beyond the show itself, which “met every single one” of her expectations, the tour provided an excuse to visit home for the first time since she moved in February and see friends. “If it wasn't for Taylor, I probably would, for the foreseeable future, not have seen them,” she said.
On the way over, she wore her Taylor Swift cardigan – merchandise inspired by the singer’s “Folklore” album – and saw another flyer in a Taylor Swift sweatshirt as she exited the plane. It turned out she was also returning home for the show after moving to London for a job.
“So, we talked in line for customs about our traveling experience and just how excited we were for the show,” Ducharme said. “And I just think it's so cool how Taylor Swift and music and fandoms in general can really bring people together in a way that transcends borders and time zones.”
Have you traveled for a concert? How was your experience?
Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Taylor Swift, Beyoncé drew fans from afar: Is concert travel worth it?