Trying to Save Travel Time

When I travel I’m always looking for ways to save time in lines at the airport. Little things can make a huge difference. One of the things is to know the weight of your luggage and how heavy it can be without an additional charge before you get to the airport. This saves you having to move stuff from bag to bag while you’re checking in.

Something new I’m trying is an electronic bag tag. Mine is specifically for Alaska Airlines, which is the main airline that I use.

Alaska Airlines has allowed customers to print a bag tag for years, but you need a printer and I don’t always have access to one. The advantage of using the electronic bag tag is that I can update it with my phone. This lets me skip the line where you print your own bag tag and I can proceed direct to the bag drop.

I’ve taken this on two trips and it’s saved me a lot of time! I’m a fan…until it gets ripped off of my luggage. The strap seem secure, but I’m predicting the worst!


Take Your Show on the Road!

Tips for Travelling With Your Show!  

My “summer season” started early with a 10 day outdoor fair in Southern California in February.  Normally my outdoor season doesn’t start until March or April, so I’m out working on my tan early!

Amazon Lockers: Most cities have Amazon lockers and they can be a lifesaver if you’re flying to a gig or staying at an AirBnB.  Amazon Lockers are around town at things like gas stations and grocery stores.  You can order things to be delivered to them the day before you get into town and everything will be waiting for you. No more running around to stores to get things you don’t fly with.  For example, I’m at a 10 day gig, and will use probably 20 decks of cards.  I don’t want to fly with them, it’s too much weight, so I simply ordered two bricks of cards to an Amazon Locker and they were there waiting for me.

Cash: I always try to have $100 on me at all times for emergencies. That will get me to the next gas station and it’s handy just pay cash for your portion of dinner if you go out with other people. I also try to have five $20’s as it’s more versatile than a single one hundred dollar bill.

AirTags: These are GPS trackers that work with iPhones (there’s an Android equivalent).  It’s always nice to know that my show that’s checked luggage made it on the plane!
Roadside America:  This is an iPhone app and website that has all sorts of quirky and unusual things around the USA (and a little bit of Canada).  It’ll help you find cool things in to see or do in the area you’re performing in.

Magic Clubs: When I travel to cities I look up local magic clubs and try to visit them. You can find lists of them on the S.A.M and I.B.M. websites.

AreoPress: This is a small little gadget that makes great coffee and is easy to travel with!  All you need is ground coffee and hot water.  No more gross hotel coffee!

Hope there’s a tip in there that makes travelling with you show a little more fun!


Travelling with my Magic Show

When flying to gigs, I used to check my audio gear inside of my suitcase. Then one time TSA damages some stuff repacking it and I now always carry on my audio box. The box is kinda a pain to lug around, not just the airport, but hotel, or around the venue.

About a year ago I had an idea to put a strap on my audio case, so it can attach to the handle of my Pelican Air case. I finally got around putting a strap on it and it’s fantastic! I wish I would have done this a long time ago.

entertainer luggage

I simply riveted a piece of elastic onto it. Well, there’s a little bit more engineering than that. I put a rectangle piece of plastic under the roll of the elastic to even out force of the elastic being stretched. Without the plastic, the elastic would probably tear at the rivets.

entertainer luggage

It works great!

entertainer luggage

I’m glad I finally did this!


Final Kid Show of the Summer!

In the summers I do shows for kid’s summer camps. I just did my last one of the summer! My goal this year was to create a show that was something that I could set up and pack up in 10 minutes.

kid magic show

The case that the show fit into is the size that fits into the overhead bin of an airplane. I don’t fly with this show, but wanted it to take up minimal space in my car.

The tricks in this show don’t borrow props for any other show that I do, so what’s in the case stays in that case and it has it’s own audio gear. The only thing in that show that I use that’s in other shows is the speaker.

It’s super hand to just grab the case and go!


Leaving Your Magic Gear

When travelling on the road with my show, one of the biggest pains in the butt is when I’m at a hotel for one night just to sleep and having to completely unload my car. The full unpack was to make sure I don’t lose my show if my car get broken into.

This year I started locking my gear to my car and leaving it in the car.

Magic show cases

The theory is the person going through the parking lot of the hotel is looking for a quick smash and grab, not something involved. The longer they’re there, the more likely they’ll get caught breaking into cars.

All of my shows cases are locked shut and then the cases are all locked to my car. I then cover all of this with a black cloth, so it’s hard to see at night if you’re looking in the window of my car. Sure someone with bolt cutters could get this stuff, but I’m going to make them work for it, it’s not going to be easy!

I’ve been doing this since January and while I’m unaware of anyone trying to break into my car, I personally feel confident in this system!


Carry On Audio Box

The last time I flew, I had some of my audio equipment damaged that was in my checked luggage. What I think happed was when TSA screened my show case, they did a horrible job of repacking my stuff, which led to some stuff being damaged.

I’ve decided that I’m going to carry on my audio gear from now on…or until I get lazy. I went out to harbor freight and bought a Pelican Style hard sided case that has foam inside.

live show audio

I’ve used the “pick n’ pluck” style foam before and it has never really lasted for me. For this audio box, I cut cardboard to reenforce the foam walls, and hopefully this will add some durability to the foam.

I’ve just finished my first round trip flight with this case and it seems to be holding up…


Fair Magic Show Set Up

It’s always interesting to look into other magicians prop cases. Last week I did my first fair of the year and here’s what my set up look like.

First the bin that sits on my table:

And here’s the prop case that sits on the floor to my left:

That’s a 45 minute stage show and it all can pack down into the prop case. The fully loaded case is just under 50 pounds, so I can check it on the plane as luggage for no additional fees!


The Road Giveth and The Road Taketh

I started the tour on Monday and had to cancel all of Tuesday’s show because my radiator had a hole magically appear! I had to do some sweet talking to the mechanic in a small town to get him to fit me into his schedule. It helps that his grandchild was at my show, and liked the show.

travelling magician

I’ve often said that magic is problem solving, so is magic on the road. In my first show on this tour I use Phil Smith’s Quinta Force and did the very basic math incorrectly in my head and forced the wrong object. With some quick thinking and a solid foundation in magic and mentalism principles I was able to make the trick work and no one knew that I had majorly screwed up the trick!

The moral of today’s blog post is that you need to be flexible, not just in your magic show, but in life.


Simplifying Show Set Up

I’m trying to carry less stuff with me when I’m on the road with my show. I used to carry a powerbank, USB micro cord, lightning cord and a USB wall adapter. I use this to plug in the show’s iphone that I run my music off of.

Recently someone showed me a powerbank that has the wall adapter and cords built in!

The nice thing is everything folds into the power bank, so I’ve eliminated carrying two cord and a wall adapter. I’m a fan of this, simplifying what I carry to it’s more direct to set up and strike the show. Sure eliminating two cords and a wall adapter isn’t much…but it’s less to haul.


The Road to FISM

Yesterday was travel day to get to Quebec City for FISM. It’s been quite a journey, I bought tickets when they first when on sale, so I’ve had me ticket for around 4 years! This is a bucket list item for me, and I’m glad I get to attend!

There have been a lot of challenges just to physically get there. I was performing outside of Reno and booked a flight from Reno to Quebec City. That flight got cancelled and the airline moved my departure airport to Sacramento, about 3 hours drive. Then my flight got cancelled again and the only way to get to Quebec City was to drive almost 6 hours at night to San Francisco to get on a 6am flight yesterday!

I finished my shows Sunday and drove into the night and slept a few hours in my car at the airport. I got to the airport and I have a lounge pass, and when I went into the lounge for a cup of coffee, I noticed they had SHOWERS!

I was probably really stinky from doing three shows in the sun, then driving all night and sleeping in my my car. The shower refreshed me!

This is one of the little things that having a luxury like an airline’s lounge pass gets you. I was able to take a shower at the airport and now my travel day was way less depressing! If you travel by airplane frequently, I highly recommend getting a lounge pass. Do some research and figure out which one is best for you. I use the Alaska Plus lounge pass, as my home airport has three Alaska airlines lounges and I can usually use American Airlines lounges as well. they’re not cheap, but I get my value out of them with the amount I fly.

I missed the first day of FISM as it was my travel day, but I’m excited for today!