You’re in Thailand and the Full Moon Party was last weekend.
Tip 1: Do Research on Festivals Around the World
If you’re planning to travel a particular month, take advantage of Google to see what events may be happening in that window of time so you can include a festival in your travels. Seems obvious, but there’s nothing worse than booking your trip and finding out that you missed the most legendary event of the year.
Some of the best festivals are off the beaten path for Americans, but must-dos for people from other parts of the world. Instead of going for the “obvious” festivals, check out the local must-dos. For example, Sziget Festival in Budapest instead of Tomorrowland in Belgium.
You just love waking up at 8am everyday of the festival to switch accommodation. Everything was sold out for a consecutive stay, so you spend your festival mornings with additional public transport and lugging around your belongings.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead
If you’ve been to California’s Coachella or Miami’s Ultra, you probably know that tickets sell out quickly. This also applies to festivals overseas. You’ll have to set your alarm to purchase tickets on their time.
Your credit card company may reject a foreign transaction. Call your bank ahead of time to let them know you’ll be receiving a charge from a foreign country, or your transaction may not go through.
I say this from aching experience: book accommodation very far ahead of time. Think: transport in Europe and South America is easy and affordable so people come from all over the continent (or world) for this event. You can’t always wing it.
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Mean Girls told the world about Halloween, but totally left out the part that music festivals and all other costume parties are other exceptional days in the year.
Tip 3: Sexy Costumes are an American Thing, Not a Festival Thing
In America, 75% of festival attendee are half-naked, or in costumes (have you seen photos of EDC?). You’d be in for an uncomfortable shock if you were to attend, say, Roskilde in Denmark. Even the short shorts and tanks at Stereosonic in Sydney – another beach town with pretty liberal young guns- are moderately conservative in comparison to what some Americans wear to EDM festivals. Pack accordingly.
Looking like an ignorant American tourist. You mean Oktoberfest isn’t very German? The train drops me off somewhere where I can’t get a cab at 2am?
Tip 4: Get the Inside Scope
You may want to look up some general information about the culture and historical background of a festival, for, say, San Fermin Festival or Oktoberfest. Most locals are nice, so don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s a good way to make new friends.
Know how you’re going to get to your reserved accommodation before departing for the festival in case your phone dies (or is stolen). Save the address and know your route options.
100,000 people at a festival and you don’t know any of them.
Tip 5: The Power of a Wolf Pack
Try to coax your friends to come, or see if friends of friends are going. You’re better off meeting up with someone you kind of know than being alone at a music festival in a foreign country.
You can also post to the event’s wall to see if there are other solo travelers or small groups of locals who could show some travelers around. Websites such as couchsurfing.org also provide outlets to meet fellow travelers (you don’t have to stay with them to meet up). If you don’t like the people you meet up with, you can always leave them, but it’s worth a shot to have some company.
If you won’t be going with many of your friends, book the nearest hostel instead of a hotel – they’re more social.
Traveling in groups can become inconvenient but is ultimately safer, especially in the context of a giant festival packed with people and recreational substances.
You lost your friends at a festival in a foreign country. You don’t remember how to pronounce where you’re staying. Your wallet was stolen and you can’t get “home.” You didn’t know drinks are twice as strong abroad.
Tip 6: Stay Safe!
You may look more like a tourist than you think, making you a target for pickpockets and other petty criminals. You are also more likely to get lost, forget how to get back to your accommodation, or have a hard time navigating through the city. Check out 21 Tips for Safe Travel and 5 Mobile Apps for Safe Travel for more information on traveling like a pro!
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