'Gig-Tripping' Is The Latest Travel Trend You'll Probably Want To Try

“Travel dupes.”“Hush trips.”“Slow travel.” The list of buzzy new terms and trends in the travel industry is ever expanding. Lately another new concept is circulating the tourism media-sphere: gig-tripping.

As we approach summer 2024 and peak travel season picks up, expect to see more globetrotters reveal themselves as gig-trippers. But what exactly is gig-tripping and how does it work?

Below, travel experts break down the benefits and downsides of this trend.

What is gig-tripping?

“Gig-tripping is a new trend that sees fans planning travel ― often internationally ― around the tour stops of their favorite artists,” said Lisa Chen, CEO of ToursByLocals. “This might be because they can’t get tickets for their home show, to save money, or simply to combine their love of travel and music into one adventure.”

Although the concept of traveling around the country or world to see a musical act is hardly new, the gig-tripping experience is different from more familiar iterations ― like the Deadhead subculture of living on the road to watch the Grateful Dead perform as many times as possible. Gig-trippers, by contrast, are typically fans who plan a vacation (or workcation) around one or two concerts in a specific location.

“In some cases, it is cheaper to travel to a different location to see a popular artist,” explained Phil Dengler, a co-founder of the travel website The Vacationer. “For example, Taylor Swift tickets are often very expensive in some cities, so you could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars by flying to a city with cheaper prices. I personally flew from Philadelphia to Charleston a few years back to see the Black Keys. Concert prices were much lower in Charleston, and it gave me an excuse to explore the city for a few days.”

Summer promises to bring a slew of gig-tripping Swift fans from the U.S. to Europe, as many found better ticket prices and availability in cities like Lyon, France, and Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

A 2023 survey from the travel platform GetYourGuide showed that 45% of Americans have been inspired to choose a specific travel destination by an event or experience they heard would be happening there, such as a concert. Recent survey data from Skyscanner also found that 60% of Americans were open to traveling abroad to save money on music events, and 44% of U.S. travelers were willing to fly short haul to see their favorite artists.

This interest in music-related tourism is perhaps unsurprising in an age when pop culture travel trends like “set jetting” have taken hold. Chen noted that ToursByLocals has seen a lot of success with tours related to movies or TV shows that were filmed and/or take place in various travel destinations.

“Given the popularity of gig-tripping and continued excitement around the Eras tour internationally, we’ve actually recently launched a selection of London for Swifties Tours with Swift-inspired tours to some of London’s best neighborhoods,” she said.

Thousands of people will travel to different cities to see Taylor Swift in concert this summer.
Thousands of people will travel to different cities to see Taylor Swift in concert this summer. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

What are the benefits?

“Gig-tripping has a lot of perks,” said Madison Pietrowski, the director of brand for the U.S. at GetYourGuide. “Not only do you get to see your favorite artist live, but you’ll be immersed in a new city, likely a major tourist destination, and get to visit an iconic venue, like the local sports stadium hosting the concert.”

Indeed, Gelsenkirchen might not have been on many U.S. travelers’ radars before Taylor Swift announced her European tour dates, but this summer, more Americans will be filling the German football club Schalke 04′s impressive stadium.

“The benefits of traveling for a concert are that travelers are expanding their horizons of destinations they’re interested in visiting, whether they’re traveling internationally due to the cost of a domestic show, looking for a specific energy related to the venue or ‘surprise song,’ like we see with Taylor Swift’s Eras tour,” Chen said. “Additionally, travelers are more likely to meet and connect with those with similar interests.”

Fans often organize meet-ups, and local businesses plan events around major concerts, so there are opportunities for out-of-towners to maximize the experience. Many gig-trippers also plan unrelated cultural activities, such as guided tours, local restaurant meals, visits to historic sites and even more off-the-beaten-path opportunities.

“Gig-tripping is essentially traveling for music concerts, but now we’re seeing people turn these trips into full-fledged vacations to get the biggest bang for their buck,” Pietrowski said.

And that’s all on top of the benefit of potentially paying lower prices on concert tickets or getting to see an artist who didn’t schedule a tour stop in your hometown.

What are the downsides?

Despite the excitement and unique opportunities that come with gig-tripping, this approach is not without its challenges.

“One of the downsides to gig-tripping can be the large number of visitors the destination can experience during the time of the concerts,” Pietrowski noted.

As a result, the costs of accommodations and transportation to the area can skyrocket due to demand. The larger crowds, especially in destinations that aren’t accustomed to as many visitors, can be an issue as well.

“If you want to avoid the crowds, search for activities that bring you to major attractions during off-hours, or find small tours or classes with local guides that take you off the beaten path,” Pietrowski suggested.

Consider exploring beyond the immediate surroundings of the concert as well.

“When there is a rush of travelers to one destination for a specific event, the area can become overpopulated, and the destination as a whole can become overlooked, with travelers missing out on the local culture and history, and instead focusing on the specific event and mainstream tourist attractions,” Chen said.

The rise of gig-tripping might also affect unrelated travelers who wanted to visit a specific destination but unknowingly booked their trip during a time when the city would be overrun with an artist’s die-hard fans.

And, of course, gig-tripping is not always the best deal for the fans themselves.

“The downsides include higher overall costs,” Dengler said. “For example, it does not make sense to save a few hundred dollars on tickets if you are dropping thousands of dollars on the flight and accommodation. Before gig-tripping, take the concert price, airfare price and lodging price into consideration. Do the math to see if it really makes financial sense.”