If you are like us, we often find ourselves scrambling on a Thursday afternoon shoving clothes and gear into a carry on suitcase or duffle bag. Your ride to the airport or carpool to the festival 5-hours away is approaching fast. You need to minimize the amount of space you are taking up, but you want to bring everything! What do you do? We had the same questions when we started traveling a lot for events. With years of experience under our belts now, we have come up with 11 travel tips that will for sure help you out when packing and traveling to a festival.
1. Fill your shoes with socks and underwear
Shoes can a nuisance to pack. One pair will take up half a suitcase. Since there is plenty of room inside your shoes, utilize it! Shove as many pairs of socks or underwear into your shoes. I can usually fit 4 pairs of socks or 3 pairs of underwear. Granted, I have size 12 feet. This may sound trivial, but it will free up some space! You should also put your shoes around the outside of your suitcase to better protect your gear inside!
2. Roll your clothes and put them in a large ziplock
This always helps me when I travel, regardless of where I am going. If you are a real pro, try this great tip. Put your clothes in a ziplock and close the bag until its almost all the way closed. Now put your lips around the small opening and suck out all the air in the bag. Congrats, you just vacuum sealed your clothes and now have another 2 inches of space in your bag!
3. Don’t plan to arrive right before the festival starts
I cannot tell you how many times I plan to fly out/drive to a festival on the morning of. At least half the times I have done this, I ended up arriving late. This causes unneeded angst and stress. Now, I just plan to spend more time traveling. Plan to fly out the night before the festival and arrive with plenty of time to get camp set-up, find the hotel, or link up with the rest of your squad.
4. Don’t put drink cans/bottles in your luggage bag
Last year traveling to Electric Forest I put 2 cans of cold brew coffee into my bag with my clothes. This was an awful idea. One can had exploded/got crunched because it was on the bottom a bag pile. Needless to say, I was able to dry my clothes out in the Michigan summer heat, but I smelled like a Starbucks Barista all weekend. Not exactly a great look.
5. Keep your toiletries and glitter in individual ziplock bags
Nothing worse than opening your suitcase to a giant glitter bomb….. Or to find all your clothes in need of a shampoo and rinse upon arrival to your event. The cabin where your luggage is kept isn’t pressurized, which means anything in a bottle can potentially ‘explode’ in your bag.
6. Look up reviews of the festival you are attending
Festivals often have many hidden gems that very few people are aware of. Especially a festival like Electric Forest or EDC, the production company will but serious detail into their festival layout. To some extent, the detail is so great that it becomes hard to find. Look for articles on personal blogs or threads on Reddit to learn about peoples different travel experiences or best practices. Usually, they have the answers!
7. Coordinate Your Travel Plans
Traveling alone is boring and sad, don’t do that to yourself. If you do find yourself traveling solo, look for other people in the airport that may look like they are going to a festival. I know this may be the definition of “profiling,” but I always found it great to connect with other festival-goers. You can even try posting in the festivals Facebook page, the app Radiate, or even on EDM Twitter to see if there’s anyone who would want to be travel buddies! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there- but always be safe and make smart choices.
8. Pack Light
When you go to a festival you have to go well equipped. There is a ton of stuff you will need and it may seem like you are packing your entire closet or pantry. Lighten the load by planning on making a stop close to the festival. This way you can carry the least amount of items possible or free up space for extra stuff. Protein bars, wipes, water, etc. can all be picked up once you are close to arriving. Not to mention, if you’re overweight with your bag, you have to buy another. So this is also going to help you with saving money where it counts.
9. If you are flying, buy your plane tickets as early as possible
Last year I bought my EDC ticket in January. I looked at flights at the same time and found them to be around $300 round trip. I told myself I’ll worry about this later, and didn’t end up buying a ticket until April. I paid $480. Since then, I’ve found some awesome apps that will let you track your flights until they’re the optimal time to buy, such as Hopper or Skyscanner. You can even purchase travel insurance on your tickets if you run the risk of not being able to go for some reason or another.
10. Start racking up all the good Karma you can the minute you leave your house.
It’s never bad to have good Karma coming your way while at a festival. There is an opportunity for tons of things to go wrong. Lost phone, stolen stuff at your campsite, flights canceled, etc. I tend to go out of my way and do little things like throughout tiny straw wrappers at the airport or hold the door open for people every chance I get. Even if this doesn’t actually work, it still becomes a good gesture.
11. Don’t take a red-eye home immediately after the festival ends.
This may have been one of the worst experiences of my life. Before Diplo’s set even ended, I left the festival and got an Uber right to the airport. Waking up after 4 hours of sleep on the plane and going to work the next day was a horrible decision. I should have just taken the day off and enjoyed getting back without any rush.
There it is! The 11 festival travel tips that have saved us time and time again. With trial and error, you learn a lot. So take the guessing game out of festival travel. Don’t forget to plan your trip, pack your gear with space-saving in mind, and make sure you send out those positive vibes.