If planned correctly, a tour will help you expand your audience, make some money, and head out on an adventure. For maximum impact, however, determine whether your band is ready. Realistically assess the rooms you can fill in the town where you live. If you’re regularly getting 200-300 people out to watch you play, you’ve got the type of draw that will convince Talent Buyers to take a chance on you—even in cities where you’ve never played a show.
You should already have a solid, up-to-date band bio, website, and Soundcloud or Bandcamp page. You should also have a social presence across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with significant fan numbers and regular interaction. These assets will be your calling cards when contacting bookers in other cities.
Next, determine what kind of tour will benefit you the most. Depending on where you’re at in terms of audience reach, it might be best to start with a mini tour of college towns and major metropolitan areas within your state, before expanding to the surrounding states. Of course, if there’s a mid-sized city just over the state line, or if you live in a smaller state, you can always expand the range of your tour accordingly.
After that, you can start planning a tour within your immediate geographical region, such as a tour of the Midwestern states from say, Fargo to Cleveland. After touring this circuit a few times, chart a tour of a larger region, like a West Coast tour where you’ll drive from Portland to San Diego. Once you’ve successfully completed a few coastal and/or regional tours, then you can think about a nationwide tour.