7 Ways To Get Gigs While You’re On Holiday

Christian Yates
Read time: 5 mins
Last updated 25 March, 2018


Sun, surf, and sea – make your next trip to paradise even more pleasurable by throwing a DJ gig or two in the mix. We show you how in this piece…

In the last article of our 7 Ways To Get A Gig series, we talked about how you can maximise your online presence to get DJ bookings even when you are asleep. This time, we’ll cover seven different ways you can land gigs when you are on holiday.

Naturally, you’ll want to kick back and catch some rays. But why not take the chance to boost your experience and get a gig in unfamiliar settings, in a different country? At the very least you should always be prepared to play, whether it be for a bit of fun, or something a little bit more serious.

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7 Holiday Gig Ideas

1. Always take a USB stick with you

USB sticks are easily transported, can store a ton of tracks and by having one around, it means you are always ready to spin.

In order to get gigs on holiday in the past, you would have had to lug a crate of records around with you. Nowadays, there is little excuse for not being prepared, especially if you are serious about pushing your DJ career forwards. USB sticks are cheap, easy to carry and can hold thousands of tracks, meaning you can always be ready to connect to a sound system and play.

Get on it: Before you jet off into the sun, check your current playlists or create new ones on a USB stick. When you arrive at your hotel, have a look around the bar and pool areas and see what the deal is music-wise. The same goes for the local bar areas that you might wander into. If somewhere takes your fancy, speak to the manager about putting some tunes on and see what they say.

2. Work out some gig swaps with locals

Gig swapping is more prevalent than you might think, with lots of DJ / promoters booking other promoters in the hope that they will return the favour.

Residency and gig swapping goes on weekly in pretty much every city. It’s a great way to get more bookings with promoters returning each other the favour. Taking the idea a bit further and offering to do it when you’re abroad can improve your international DJ profile. You can then have the guys whose event you played at come over to visit you in your home town and put on an unusual event for the party goers in your city.

Get on it: In the weeks leading up to your holiday, have a look on sites that list local events such as Resident Advisor. If there is something going down that floats your boat, try and get hold of the promoters or resident DJs via social media. Send them a message telling them that you are coming, the dates that you will be there for, and ask them if they would be interested in having you play, with you allowing them to do the same in the future.

3. Throw parties in your hotel room

Lots of fun can be had in the confines of a hotel bedroom. Just make sure you keep the noise down for your neighbours.

Usually, people go on holiday to have a fun time and unwind. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough places open late enough to satisfy your thirst for fun. This is where hotel room parties come in. All you need is a music player and a mini speaker, something like the Minirig would be perfect. The main thing to bear in mind here is that you have to be respectful to the other guests or alternatively, invite them over. Quality music doesn’t have to be played loud to be enjoyed.

Get on it: It is more than likely that you will take some form of music player with you on holiday. That’s half of the bases already covered. If you pack yourself a portable speaker, then you will be all set to throw an impromptu room party come closing time.

Click here to get your copy of the “50 Ways To Get Gigs” PDF direct to your inbox to print & keep.

4. Take a dip into pool bar parties

Take advantage of the existing audio equipment at the poolside bar.

In most cases, there will be some kind of DJ equipment at the hotel bar by the pool. A lot of the time though, there is no DJ, just a CD mix or Spotify playlist streaming over the speakers. You can take advantage of this by speaking to the bar staff and putting forward your idea to spice up the night time festivities with a live DJ set.

Get on it: After the first full day and night hanging around the pool and bar area, you will have a solid idea of what can be done. You have nothing to lose by going up to the bar manager and offering your services. It will certainly boost your popularity around the hotel if you can successfully pull it off. Speak to the staff and other guests before you play and work out which genres and tracks they would like to hear.

5. Get onboard and become a cruise ship DJ

Get the right gig on the right ship and technically you will be permanently on holiday!

Every cruise ship has at least one nightclub and several bars where DJs play. If you are heading off on a cruise, there could well be an opportunity for you to kill two birds with one stone and get a gig, while you sail around in warmer climes. Another idea, if you fancy a career move, is you could set out with the aim to become the resident DJ on a cruise ship.

Get on it: This kind of gig will see you away from home (and land) for a while, so it requires some serious thought. If you are sure that you want to go down this road, then get some mixes made and get in touch with the relevant people. If you are already heading off on a cruise, make the most of it by contacting the ship’s head of entertainment. If that isn’t possible, have your USB sticks ready and mosey on down to the bars when you arrive aboard and ask. What is it like to be a cruise ship DJ? We previously covered this topic here, perhaps some food for thought.

6. Spin at the Kid’s Club at a resort

Think how grateful the parents will be if you can keep their kids busy for a few hours with some musical entertainment.

Perhaps the most unusual type of gig in this list and potentially the most draining. Putting on a children’s disco is not an easy endeavour, but freeing up a few hours for grateful parents to relax is always worthwhile. You’ll certainly be popular around the resort, at the very least!

Get on it: Every resort has some kind of kid’s club. Speak to the rep and see if they would be ok with you setting up a disco for the children staying in their hotel. Be sure to have the latest hits and party tunes in your playlists and be confident that your party games are up to scratch. It might be a good idea to pack a mic as well, just in case.

Click here to get your copy of the “50 Ways To Get Gigs” PDF direct to your inbox to print & keep.

7. Centre your gap year or extended travels around DJing

Constantly being on-the-move opens up a whole host of unique potential gig experiences.

If you are off on a coming of age gap year or just want an extended break from the daily grind, why not make DJing the focus of your trip? By chucking a small controller into your backpack, you will be ready to quickly set up at any bars that you come across that you feel are lacking musically. It could be a good way to supplement your trip with some extra cash, and could save you drinks money too.

The most beneficial thing here is that you will meet a ton of new people in each place quickly. This makes it easy to promote yourself, giving out links to your social media pages and so on. You will be on a “world tour”, something most DJs aspire to but never actually accomplish.

Get on it: Get yourself a small controller for your laptop software. Something like a Traktor Kontrol X1 would be perfect. Stock up on music and curate your library and you are good to go. You never know what new experiences this approach might unlock. You could end up staying somewhere permanently as a resident DJ.


As we have discussed in the previous articles in this series, you have to hustle to get gigs. By always being ready to play, you are maximising your chances of getting gigs. There are always times when you sit somewhere on holiday and think that the place could do with some quality music, and you are not alone! With that in mind, look no further than the Scout’s Motto: “Be prepared”, meaning you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.


Check out the other parts in this series:

Is there anything that we missed out from this list? Do you have any experiences of getting gigs when you were on holiday? Let us know in the comments below…

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