Travel Tips for Global Festivals
So you’re in need of a vacation and an awesome lineup across the world is calling you. It’s time to book and plan properly by keeping these useful festival travel tips in mind.
Traveling the world alone or stepping foot off the beaten path in a new country even with a friend can be intimidating. However, it seems no matter where you are in the world or what native language is being spoken amongst the crowd, our music festival community remains a community at all stretches of the earth. Festival grounds are like a comfort blanket: you are welcomed in with open arms and accepted as you are in a familiar space that feels like home.
You look around to see beautiful souls dancing to sunrise sets, groups of friends traveling together creating their own mini worlds, vendors selling relatable goodies and useful souvenirs, and new friends offering you some water in the heated crowd. It’s not such a scary world after all if you find your festival family home wherever you go.
If you’re like us, you want to see the world, so think about stopping by a local music festival on your next holiday to meet new local friends and feel a comforting sense of home while you’re away. It’ll be an experience you will never forget, and better experienced if you keep these helpful tips in mind:
You’re packing for a trip of a lifetime – half vacation, half festival experience! Remember to pack clothing that can work for all situations with some modest clothing items as an option. Read the locals to see how far you can push your usual festival look. It’s okay to stand out with your bright colors and glittered bodies, but to a point to not be a target. You’ll most likely be in some jungle or thirst quenching sun, so pack bug spray, suntan lotion (not aerosol), and a hat. Please wear strong shoes that are comfortable because who knows where you’ll be trekking. (Luckily, combat boots are in.) A solar powered phone charger is essential. Pack a reusable water canister for the free water always provided and to save the planet. Hand fans always come in handy. And of course, a camera to capture all the memories.
If you decide to camp, weigh the options of flying with all your gear or purchasing some of your items from a local shop.
Do your research. Festival websites are obviously an excellent source to plan your trip, giving you the address and local hotels they partner with. Don’t be a sucker and book a hotel they recommend right away. Explore the area to find a cheaper Airbnb or decide if you’ll be saving some dough and become a part of the full festival experience by camping. When booking your stay, ensure to think about the route to and from the festival… and how sober you will be to get there. Camping is always a safe backup option, yet traveling with all your camping gear can get annoying and expensive. (Tents, tarps, sleeping bags, etc. are considered checked bags or carry-ons.) Local Airbnbs with enough friends and proper transportation planning, can end up feeling like a mini vacation within the vacation for the ultimate holiday!
NO UBER?! Trust the festival websites when they offer bus shuttles that it’s for a good reason. Map it out if their routes are near your hotel/Airbnb and the times they stop running. If it’s not listed, don’t hesitate to email the festival email@example.com provided address asking! Learn the local language to ask “How much?” for taxis, and try to have exact change. You are a target, especially drunk you, for them to overcharge. Please never travel alone! Travel in pairs when going to and especially leaving the festival in the wee hours of the morning. If you are staying at an Airbnb nearby, think about renting a car and who in your group of friends will remain sober to drive it. (Eh, safer with a taxi now that you think about it?) Please don’t think you’re invincible and try to walk the 5 miles to your accommodations after a long day at the festival. I’ve seen it before – always a lose, lose situation.
Thank goodness for Facebook! Us festival-goers trust each other for a reason. We’re all in this together. Ask questions to the people who have traveled there before about the camping situation and local transportation. Also, this is a great place to make new friends who might be wanting to split their accommodation with you or carpool from the airport! This is my go-to source, in which I’ve made tons of festival friends!
FOOD & NECESSITIES SUPPLY
Depending on your accommodation, you can save some money and treat your body well if you grocery shop in town before the festival. Keeping in mind, most or all festivals do not let you bring your own food or drink on to the festival grounds or allow glass containers (think liquor bottles) in the camping area. Buy yourself a cooler and goodies if you’re camping. Relying on vendors can get tricky as usually many of them are only inside the festival grounds, not the camping areas, and close too early. Stock your local stay with pre-game fun and munchies for a hearty breakfast and late night snack your body will thank you for. Morning smoothies are seriously the answer to festival-ing right.
Festivals in other countries, (and thankfully more of the US now, too), are keen on recycling. Don’t be a jerk, and take the extra few seconds to properly discard of your stuff while frolicking on the grounds for days. Ensure to have your reusable water canteen ready. Properly pre-game in your safe zones rather than holding up the line with shenanigans at the festival gate. Be smart – festivals are fun magical lands, but some places take things seriously with security treating every situation as if you’re in the real world. (Sorry to be a Debbie Downer.)
INTERACT WITH LOCALS
Most likely, this is your first and last time at this festival in this part of the world! Don’t be stuck in the comfort of your friend bubble, and make it count by meeting local residents aka new friends. Ask what they recommend to do in the area. Be smart not to reveal where you’re staying; yes, that goes for you gentleman, too. The last thing you need is to be robbed on your vacation. That being said, partying with the locals outside the festival grounds in some of their favorite venues is also a great memory for the books. Who knows, maybe they’ll see you again at another festival local to you! The festival world is a small community once you become apart of it.
Pesos? Baht? Pounds? Make sure to exchange for the local money at the airport or in advance. Keep money in a safe, zipper enclosed place, hiding some extra money in your local Airbnb, rented car, or in socks hidden in your tent (like Mom always said). Many festivals have cashless options now where you connect your credit card to your chip in your festival wristband, which leads to overspending but also can provide some comfort during your experience. Sometimes paying via wristband is your only option, so double check on the festival site in advance.
EXTENDING YOUR TRIP BEFORE AND AFTER FESTIVAL
This is key. You flew all the way here and spent efficient hours planning all of the above. You deserve to take in the local flair and have time to decompress after you’ve been lost in a festival party world. Book your flight home with at least a day in-between the festivities so you’re, one) not a hungover mess, and two) taking in all the beauty of the more permanent parts of the country around you.
You can now say that you not only visited a new country, but that you became a part of their community… with a camera full of wild pictures to prove it.
Now that you know… where should you go?
Snowbombing | 2-8 April 2017 | Austria
Bilbao BBK Live | 6-8 July 2017 | Bilbao, Spain
Exit Festival | 6-9 July 2017 | Novi Sad, Serbia
Sea Dance Festival | 13-15 July 2017 | Jaz Beach, Budva, Montenegro
Positivus | 14th to 16th July | Salacgriv, Latvia
Lowlands | 18th – 20th August | Walibi Holland
Mysteryland | 26 – 27 August 2017 | Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
Welcome to the Future | 22 July | Het Twiske, Netherlands
OFF Festival | 4-6 August 2017 | Katowice, Poland
Sziget | 9-16 August 2017 | Budapest, Hungary
Oasis | 15-17 September 2017 | Marrakech, Morocco
Wonderfruit Festival | 14-17 December 2017 | Thailand