Raving can be a great way to gain amazing friends, interesting people, hear some new tracks, and meet people from all over, but not all of us are lucky enough to just head down the street to a party and get home the same night. Some of us live outside of Toronto and have to travel quite a ways to get to a party.
We have done our fair share of these treks and have learned tricks to survive those long missions out and back home. Travelling from out of town can be scary and intense if you’re not use to it, but it can also be really fun! So here are some tips for SURVIVING A PARTY OUT OF TOWN. DUN DUN DAAAAA!
Getting there (and Back)
The first thing you need to think about is how you are gonna get there (and how your gonna get back). There are several different options, though not all of these will be available to everyone.
Travel by Car
If you have your license and your own vehicle you are super lucky and odds are you won’t need some of these tips. If its a longer ride you can always bring a friend (and hopefully they can chip on gas). Make sure you bring enough cash for parking (budget $10-$20 depending on where you plan to park). Look up directions ahead of time so you know when to leave and aren’t rushing on the drive there. Moderate your usage so that you are sober for the drive home.
If you don’t have a car maybe you can carpool with a friend but try to offer something whether its food, gas, money, or “good company”. This is often the easiest way there and the road trips can sometimes be as much fun, or even more memorable, than party!
Travel by Public Transit
Of course, many people don’t have a car, or know anyone in their area who they can carpool with. That’s okay, we were in the same boat when we started partying!
While it’s not as easy as driving there and back, public transit has its own upsides.
If you’re lucky, you can take a night bus that will connect to the TTC system if you’re in a neighboring city. If you don’t have a bus route like this nearby, not no worry, you still have GO Transit. They have both trains and buses that travel to Union Station (downtown Toronto) from most major cities in the surrounding GTA. The downside with GO Transit is that trains and buses aren’t always running, depending on where you’re travelling to and from. They do post their schedules online as well as on their app, so be sure to check beforehand. They tend to run on time (though there can sometimes be delays, usually with bad weather). One of the perks of public transit is you don’t need to worry about having a sober driver. Just show up on time, pay for your ticket, and get on. My favorite part about this is if you catch the evening train it’s often just you and your buddies getting pumped for the party. Once you get to Union there’s several TTC stops nearby (including buses, streetcars and the subway which connects to both sides of the Yonge/University line, which can take you up to Bloor). Also at Union Station is the Union Pearson Express (or the UP), which costs about $5.50 and also has stops at Bloor & Dundas and in Weston.
If it’s a longer trip you’re most likely going to use Greyhound or Via Rail. Prices can vary, and it can be cheaper to buy in advance.
For all of these options, remember that although tempting, riding without a ticket can cost you a heavy fine of $200+ if you’re caught by fare inspectors.
Another perk of public transit is meeting people doing the same thing, so you may even make friends bumping into people on your way to or from the party. The downside is that most of the trains and buses are not 24 hours, which leaves you with two options for getting home in the middle of the night:
- The first option is to leave the party early to catch the train home, (be sure to check when the last train is and leave plenty of time to get there).
- The second option is to SURVIVE THE NIGHT AND WAIT TIL DAWN! (Depending on the company, service usually starts back up before 8am on weekends, but we’ll get to some things about that in a bit.)
When You’re Almost There
So now your in the big city, (that’s not your own), which is exciting and fun but at some point you may end up saying “Where the fuck am I?”. Whether you’re in Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Detroit, Montreal or somewhere else, new cities can be confusing. If you’re traveling for a party it’s usually for one of three reasons:
- The party is bigger than the ones in your hometown.
- There’s a specific headliner or genre you want to see that you can’t at home.
- A friend dragged you out there.
If it’s the last one ask them to meet you at the bus stop where you will get off, let them show you around, and have some fun in the city before the event. If they can’t meet you, or the transit system is confusing and you get lost, don’t worry. Most cities have a phone line, a website, or a downtown terminal where you can get a map and some help. Most bus stops will have the number, or you can look it up online. Here’s the one for Toronto.
It’s okay if you don’t have data on your phone, since TTC stations, GO Terminals, McDonald’s, Timmies and Starbucks all have free wifi. These places are great for meeting up with people and double checking that GPS.
If you don’t have a phone, bring a notepad with the important phone numbers and directions you will need. You can head to anywhere like an Apple store or a library so you can use computers connected to the internet before the party, whether to message friends or check directions.
Don’t Forget to Bring:
Be sure to stay hydrated and make sure to grab a drink before you have to sit on a long bus ride.
- Other beverages
Sugary drinks or Energy drinks won’t keep you hydrated, but you may want something other than just water.
Keep your energy up, so you’re not tempted to splurge on takeout.
- Sweater or Coat, maybe even some pants (depending on your outfit)
It will be much colder at night and after the party, especially if you’ve been sweating from dancing.
- Some Cash
In case you need it, avoid ATM fees.
- Safe Pockets or Bag
You don’t want to lose your things while dancing.
- Phone Charger or battery pack.
If your phone dies and you’re lost, you will regret it.\
- Safer Partying Supplies
TRIP packs are great for this.
If there’s a coat check at the venue you and your friends put your stuff in it and check only one item (save that money).
Don’t bring anything you couldn’t stand to lose to the party because at some point you will lose something!
At the Party:
- It’s OK to say where you’re from, just don’t give out your address right away. I had some friends that it took us a year to realize we all lived in the same city, one even lived down my street!
- Learn about after-parties or venues that are open later if you’re planning on waiting til the morning to catch the train or bus home.
- See if there’s anyone at the party you know, and reconnect.
- Figure out what you’re going to do when the party ends and how you’re going to get home (if you haven’t already planned this).
- Know your funds. Be careful not to spend your transit money, store it in a seperate part of your wallet or bag. Presto and tokens can be great if your impulsive.
The party’s over now what?
(you don’t have to stay home but you can’t stay here)
- If the weather is nice enough, you can walk around and explore the city, or find a park to chill in with friends. Be aware that some parks have curfews, though as long as you’re respectful and not overtly intoxicated, you will usually be told to just keep it down or leave. If cops try to hassle you, explain that you missed the last train and you are just waiting for the TTC to start running again.
- If you have local friends, ask beforehand if you can crash at their place. Set something up before you leave if possible.
- There are often after-hour parties if you ask around.
- 24 hour fast food places like Timmies, A&W, and McDonalds, are warm and have free wifi and as long as you don’t try to sleep there you can chill for a bit. Usually you don’t even have to buy anything. If possible, check beforehand for some in the area near the party.
- Hotels or AirBnb can be good if you plan it out or have the cash, there are some websites that can help but you will usually need a credit card.
- Hostel (they are cheaper in advance and more affordable than hotels) though many have curfews.
If all else fails, you can wait in the Greyhound station or around the GO Train station – they’re usually open 24 hours or nearly 24 hours.