Just after successfully unifying an NFL stadium full of Swifties in scream-singing the bridge to "Cruel Summer" – and slightly before launching into a strummed version of "Lover" on her teal guitar – Taylor Alison Swift paused to pose a question to the crowd in Arlington, Texas.
“How many of you had to travel to be here?”
A roar erupted from the stadium.
“That was everybody,” Taylor joked to the sold-out AT&T stadium, normally home to the Dallas Cowboys football team. “Every single person here put in a large amount of effort to be in this room.”
While Visit Arlington told me figures on the full economic impact of “concert tourism” to see Taylor in Texas are not in, the city does know that it generated a record-breaking attendance weekend for the stadium. Three nights of sold-out shows brought more than 210,000 fans to the stadium, an average of 70,000 each night.
I’m one of those fans – having traveled two weekends hoping to see "Out of the Woods" performed live. My first choice when I entered the certified fan program for Taylor Swift tickets was the closest stadium to my home: Glendale, Arizona. I was lucky enough to receive a presale code…for Las Vegas, Nevada.
My reaction? 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... let’s go ... Taylor. (This is a family publication.)
Taylor herself recognizes all too well that her record-breaking crowds for The Eras Tour are made possible by her fans' willingness to travel. She made a similar announcement at her Las Vegas show, spending a few moments thanking fans not only for fighting through the great Ticketmaster debacle of 2022, but also for their dedication to follow her wherever their tickets might go.
So, if you’ve made several friendship bracelets and bedazzled a jean jacket, as well as planned your outfit to match your favorite era, this concert travel guide is dedicated to you (including and especially for those of you coming from outside the US).
I offer these credentials beyond being an editor at Lonely Planet. My Spotify wrapped once put me in the top 5% of Taylor Swift streams, and I’ve traveled to two concerts, sitting in both the worst seat (hi, obstructed view in Allegiant stadium thanks to the non-information on Ticketmaster’s website) and the poshest (thank you to Visit Arlington for the invite to sit in a box) in the stadium.
I can tell you no matter where you sit – the show is thrilling. It's a nonstop singalong for 3.5 hours, and even if you are a moderate fan, you’ll leave the show with the utmost respect for her performance and sheer athleticism, awed by how she can do that spectacular of a performance several nights in a row.
Here’s what I’ve learned from my experience to help you travel like a pro for this already-legendary tour. Are you ready for it?
How far in advance should you get there?
Having done both a 5-day visit to Vegas and a quick 36-hour turnaround to Arlington, I’d say the happy medium is getting there at least a day in advance. You’ll have time to hit up the merch truck (more on that later) before the show, but also you’ll have time to experience the city beyond Taylor.
Go out on the town and see what it has to offer. Make reservations at a local restaurant and check out the area's cultural offerings, nightlife and shopping. For me, that ranged from Mayfair Supper Club in Vegas to Tiki bars and speakeasies in Arlington.
Where to stay
Robust public transit is hard to find in American cities – especially that far west of the Mississippi. So, when 60-80,0000 people exit a stadium, be forewarned it is a massive traffic jam requiring patience, whether you drive yourself or use a ride-sharing service.
In Las Vegas, we stayed at Park MGM which is a 1.7-mile walk (2.7 km) from Allegiant Stadium. In Arlington, we stayed at Live by Loews which is .9 miles (1.4 km) from AT&T stadium. In both instances, the traffic was so bad after the concert that even though we had initially planned to grab a ride back, we decided instead to walk, and it was much faster.
Though walking in the US can sometimes be challenging safety-wise, in Las Vegas, the city closed the street to car traffic for the concert, making it easy for crowds of fans to make it back to their respective hotels. In Arlington, our accommodations were close enough to the stadium that we were able to weave our way through the parking lot and onto a pathway straight to the hotel.
How to get to the stadium
Some cities have shuttles and/or public transit to the stadium, but often people are arriving by car.
If you ride share, most of the stadiums limit pick-off and drop-off to one central location. There are TikTok videos of people at the Glendale, Arizona concert waiting at the Carl’s Jr fast food restaurant across the street from the stadium for hours waiting for an Uber or Lyft.
In short, it is a mess. That’s why I think it’s key if you can swing it, book a hotel close enough to walk.
What to pack (Taylor’s version)
Taylor performs 44 songs over a span of 3.5 hours and part of the time she is in custom Christian Louboutin crystal heels that some on TikTok speculated could cost upward of $10,000. To me, singing for that long while dancing the length of a football field in heels is further proof she is not mortal.
And, though I know you want your Eras fit to look perfect, let me encourage you to be sensible about your footwear.
I saw a parade of people struggling after the show. Some ditched their shoes and walked barefoot home along the Vegas strip. I think of them to this day. I hope they are ok and don’t have some weird, unidentifiable foot fungus.
My suggestion if you don’t want to go out of style: bring socks/flip flops in your clear bag so you can change into them when the show starts. Then change back at the end. Your feet are saved and you still look amazing.
Know the clear bag policy
And speaking of clear bags, if you’re traveling from outside the United States, let me flag this for you: read the stadium bag policy before you go in.
Most stadiums require bags to comply with the NFL clear bag policy. That means, your bag must be clear plastic or else an obscenely small size (typically a clutch measuring 4 x 6 inches (10 x 15 centimeters).
You can purchase one of these on Amazon (here’s the one I have) or box stores like Target and Walmart – just make sure it is clear and it is NFL stadium approved (meaning it falls under the approved dimensions of NFL stadiums which are typically 12 x 6 x 12 inches (30 x 15 x 30 centimeters).
Yes, I know these bags are ugly and there are (many) arguments to be made about the sexism/ableism involved with the policy. But no matter how much you want to – don’t decorate the bag either – or you may be headed back to the car or worse, dumping it in the trash.
Check the stadium policy for what you are allowed to bring in as well
Again, make sure you read your respective stadium policies. Some allow external charges for cell phones – some do not. Some will let you bring in a bottle of water, some will not. Check the policy on the website for the stadium you are attending.
Lots of people are making friendship bracelets to trade. That seems to be ok but I’d be careful how many you plan to take in (limit to the size of your clear bag). I saw this TikTok from a woman in Australia who planned to bring little stuffed koalas to hand out and my first thought was – super cute but I wonder if they’ll let her in the stadium with those?
Overall–less is more when it comes to packing your bag for the show.
Digital is king for this show – bring your phone and a credit card.
In order to prevent scammers, you have to download the Ticketmaster app and produce your ticket from there. Screenshots of your ticket will not work. If you’re traveling with a group of people – make sure everyone has the app on their phone and you transfer the ticket to them in case you get separated.
For those of you traveling from overseas, know that to pay for things in the stadium you’ll likely need to use a credit card. Cash is rarely accepted.
My advice on the lengthy merch line
The lines for merch before the concert are epic. In Las Vegas, the line snaked almost a mile long with people telling us they had been waiting since 6am when we showed up at 2pm.
I would say 90% of the merch I saw at the show was available online on Taylor’s website save a couple of unique hoodies (which of course was the one I wanted).
If you don’t have patience for this – wait until after the show, Taylor’s team sends out an online code for 15% off good for 24 hours. You can get what you want and have it shipped to your home.
Be a mastermind to score tickets while savoring a new city
While tickets were scooped up quickly when they went on sale, it's not impossible to get tickets on the second-hand market -- especially if you are willing to wait days, hours or even minutes before the show starts.
And don't rule out heading to a lesser-known city. It’s easy and exciting to go to a place like Chicago or Los Angeles for one of the shows, but I love some of the second-tier cities for a fun weekend getaway.
For instance, Taylor closes out her US tour with multiple concert dates at Los Angeles’ impressive SoFi stadium starting August 3, but I also love the idea of Minneapolis which is always a spectacular summer destination with June 23 & 24 concert dates. Cincinnati (June 30 & July 1), Detroit (June 9 & 10) and Pittsburgh (June 16 & 17) might also be some fun new places to check out where the visit of a big star like Taylor might set the city abuzz.
Start plotting for a European tour
The show is pure theater, filled with so much joy and energy between Taylor and her fans, and in my opinion, completely worth the steep price of admission. It's clear Taylor's team realizes that this is a memorable moment for her fans, and the show meets that moment.
With rumors swirling that Taylor could announce her European tour dates soon, I'm already mentally doing the budget to see if I could swing a hop across the pond. With a new excuse to travel and see Taylor with my European friends, I can't wait to see what cities and dates are announced.