Everyone likes festivals! Some people go for the music, and others go for the vibe. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to about preparing for a festival, and how to save money when attending a festival.
People don’t go to festivals to spend money yet many land up doing just that! The conditions might be grimy, yet even the basic things for sale cost upmarket prices… You can be a savvy festival goer though when you know what to pack. You will also feel more prepared and thus enjoy the weekend more. Use a good festival packing list which will ensure you bring all the festival camping essentials so you won’t need to buy them at festival prices. Read this article if you don’t want to wake up the morning after the festival needing not only painkillers but also a payday online loan.
- Festival Packing List [CHECKLIST]
- What are Festival Camping Essentials
- What to wear to a festival
- Why bin bags are THE festival camping essential
- What medical supplies to bring to a camping festival
- Which Toiletries to bring to a festival
- What food to take to a festival
- How to Save money when buying food at festivals
- How to spend less at Summer Festivals [BONUS TIPS]
Festival Packing List: A checklist of Festival Essentials
Here is a packing list we made for you of festival camping essentials. We tried to keep costs low, however buying it all yourself might require you to take out a wage day advance – a silly idea for short term joys like festivals. This is another reason why I recommend you go with friends. Going with friends mean you can divide the cost of the packing list and cut down your car costs
What to Take to a Festival to Save Money
If you’re new to weekend-long festivals, you might be unsure about what to take with you. We’ve compiled a list of the eleven most essential things to bring to a festival along with a lot of helpful tips and advice. Keep reading if you want festival coaching!
- Camping Equipment
You don’t have to spend a fortune on camping equipment. See if you can borrow it or buy it second-hand. You don’t need to bring everything, yet a tent and sleeping bag are essential. If you are purchasing a tent – the best day to buy a tent is on Monday as the price will be 8% more on Friday (Source: idealo, 2016). If the sleeping on hard ground will ruin your experience, we recommend bringing a self-inflating airbed or sleeping pads. Think about taking a primus stove too as you’ll save a lot of money when you bring your own pot and pan and prepare your own food and drinks. Join a group so you can divide the weight (both physical and financial) of camping equipment amongst yourselves. Going in a group is further recommended from a safety point of view.
- Warm Clothes, Wellies and Waterproofs
You’ll probably start your festival experience with the intention of looking your best. However, festivals and high fashion don’t always mix. Be grateful you are not a celebrity and enjoy going make up free (yet sunscreen heavy) and your most comfortable clothing. Although festivals usually take place in the summer, it can get chilly at night so take a warm jumper and thick socks. Bring double the amount of socks you expected to bring – socks get wet and cold easily! As for footwear, take some wellies with you. It’s the only way to keep your feet warm and dry in all that mud. In case it rains, bring a waterproof jacket.
Of course – no summer fun is complete without sunglasses – buy sunglasses on Monday to get the best savings!
- Large Plastic Bin Bags
Bin bags are essential at a festival. Not only for collecting up your rubbish but also to keep your belongings dry inside the tent if it starts to rain. They also double up rather nicely as waterproofs when worn poncho-style. If you are going to the Reading Festival or Leeds Festival, you might appreciate how this Reddit user uses bin bags at long-drops. The point is – make sure bin bags are on your festival packing list.
- First-Aid Kit
Bring the most important medical supplies in your first-aid kit such as plasters; cream for insect bites; tweezers and safety pins. Why let medical discomfort ruin your festival experience? You should also bring medicines you might need such iodine; painkillers and heartburn medicine. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
Forget taking a shower over the weekend, but bring some dry shampoo and wet wipes so you can at least feel fresh. You want to be prepared for every situation so bring some sunscreen, aftersun, antibacterial wipes and sprays. We cannot leave out the ultimate festival essential: toilet roll. Make sure you bag your toilet paper stash – you don’t want it getting wet.
- Food and snacks
Not only is food quite expensive at festivals but you’ll also spend a lot of your time queueing and missing out on some of the acts. Therefore, you should bring a generous supply of high-energy snacks such as dried fruit and nuts, cereal energy bars, fruit and so on.
What food to take to a festival:
- Bread (1-3 loaves)- This will give you a solid base to make your meals around.
- Spread for sandwiches: tuna, cheese, peanut butter or marmite
- A lot of Fruit – bananas, apples, nuts, dried fruit… No preparation required
- Ground beef and pre-cut veggies – when you add them to a pan on your camp stove – you get an easy and healthy meal
- Granola bars – small to pack yet packs it all in
Is it worth it bring your own food to the festival?
First of all, you can know your potential savings in advance when you find out what thing will cost at the festival. Some festivals might list their food prices online in advance as Reading did in 2017. Otherwise, a google search on food costs at your summer festival will reveal plenty of forums of people discussing what they paid for each item. Secondly, make sure you are saving money by bringing non-perishables and food with easy prep. Easy preparation is crucial as you don’t want to spend money at home on things you are too wasted to use.
How to Save money when buying food at festivals
- Buy food at the end of the day when vendors lower their prices
- See if you can get a vendor to give you a meal in exchange to washing the dishes
- Lunch meals are cheaper than dinner meals – so plan to buy your big meal lunchtime and have snacks for dinner
- If you are buying food, opt for a protein + vegetable combination as carbs like pizza and noodles won’t stay with you long.
Don’t get so parched that you need to buy a water bottle at a highly inflated cost. By bringing a reusable water bottle like a Camelbak, you can stay hydrated while having mercy on the environment and your pocket. If you only drink bottled water – make sure to bring bottled water from home as its double the price to buy bottled water at a festival. Bring spare bottle lids as some bottled water vendors at festivals have started selling unlidded water bottles unlidded water bottles to force people to buy more!
You don’t want to be lugging your rucksack around the festival. Instead, place your valuables in a smaller bag and leave your clothes, etc. in the tent. You can also remove the pillow from your festival packing list when you add clothes to a rucksack to double it as a pillow!
At night you’ll be amazed by how dark it gets without street lighting. If your mobile doesn’t include a torch, then you should bring one with you. Don’t forget to pack some replacement batteries too.
Being able to charge your phone means you can stay in touch with family and call your friends if you lose sight of them in the crowds at the festival. (You’d be amazed at how often this happens!) Consider putting your phone in airplane mode to conserve battery. Furthermore, if you are nervous about your portable phone charger losing battery too, you might want to get a solar-powered charger like a Freeloader.
Festival-goers can make a great deal of noise, especially at night when others are trying to nod off. If you find noise prevents you from sleeping, remember to pack some earplugs. This tip won’t save you money, but it will mean you can get your money’s worth.
How to Save Money at Summer Festivals – Bonus Tips
- Be smart with your valuables. Leave them at home. Those that you do bring store at the bottom of your sleeping bag while you sleep. Some say to bring a padlock, yet others hold that padlocking your tent is advertises that you have valuables- and they might slash your tent.
- Bring Cash – Paying for things with cash will help you stay on budget. Before you go, make a budget and also put some money aside as an emergency fund. When you pay for things with cash, you will think twice before spending. It might be a good idea to google what other people budget for per day.
- Don’t buy a programme – Programmes cost money so instead of buying one – come prepared. Before you leave home, go to the festival website and download and print a map as well as the festival line up. Some festivals also have apps you can download
- Don’t buy merchandise else wait for last day – Buying merchandise can be quite expensive, that is why most people say to avoid it. If you want to buy merchandise anyways, wait until the final day when the prices go down.
- Leave your credit card at home – Take a debit card for emergencies, yet a credit card is just a bad idea. You probably won’t have the headspace to make responsible purchases to leave it home.
We have just discussed what you need to include in your festival packing list. I guided you on festival essentials and threw in a lot of festival hacks and tips along the way. Now you can enjoy yourself at the festival knowing that you have taken all precautionary measures not to fall for traps vendors have laid for you. Party Safely!