The U.S. has over 800 music festivals every year. And while they’re lots of fun, there’s something about international festivals that makes them even better.
Maybe it’s the location, maybe it’s the people, or maybe it’s just because they’re so different from what you’re used to. Whatever the reason may be, going to a festival abroad is one of the best ways to get a different perspective on the world.
Preparation is the key to having a good time at the best overseas festivals. If you’ve never been to one before, here are a few things you need to know.
You don’t want to be stuck with empty pockets in an expensive country. Before you leave home, decide how much money you would like to spend during your trip. If you’re on a budget, you’ll likely pick the least-expensive option for travel so there’s more money left over to spend during your trip.
Buy Tickets Early
It’s best to buy your tickets early. Most overseas festivals sell out quickly. The earlier you book, the more chance you will have of getting the festival experience you want.
The best way to get tickets is online through the festival’s official website or ticketing service. This will ensure that the tickets are legitimate.
Book Your Hotel
It’s important that the hotel is close enough for you to get back and forth from the festival without having to take a cab each time.
You should also make sure that the hotel’s shuttle service is reliable. Ideally, this means that they’ll collect guests at an agreed-upon time and place on a regular basis.
When looking at hotels online, try checking out their reviews on TripAdvisor or other travel websites. This will give you an idea of what other people have experienced in the hotel.
Have a Transportation Plan
If your hotel doesn’t offer shuttle services, plan your route to the festival. You’ll need to include strict departure times in your plan. Be sure to leave plenty of time for traffic and setting up before the festival starts.
Consider Food Options
Many music festivals in Europe have food available on the festival grounds. But not every overseas festival is like this. Look at the restaurants near the festival, and plan to eat before you go.
You can save money by bringing your own food and drinks to the festival grounds. Before you do this, check the rules of the event to make sure this is allowed.
Have a Packing Checklist
You’ll be doing a lot of walking and exploring, so it’s best to pack comfortable shoes and clothes that can withstand the elements. If you plan on doing a lot of shopping, bring an extra bag or two with you to store all your purchases.
To make sure you pack everything you need, keep a list of all your must-have items. Check them off one by one as you put them in your bag.
Prepare for Sundown
A lot of festivals have their official start times at dusk or later. So if you want to take advantage of all the fun stuff that comes with dancing under the stars, make sure your campsite is ready before darkness falls.
It’s not always easy to find what you need in other countries. Besides the possibility of foreign language barriers, certain toiletries can be more difficult to find overseas. It’s best to pack the following items before heading to the festival:
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
If you’re attending an outdoor festival, bring a hairbrush so it’s easier for you to keep your hair neat during the day. A lip balm is another essential item because it protects from chapping in cold weather.
Bring the Right Documentation
Aside from your passport, you may need other documentation. Bring an emergency contact list, including the numbers of your health insurance and travel insurance providers.
You may also want to bring a copy of your prescriptions or any other medications you need.
Having a copy of the photo page in your passport is also a good idea. It provides important ID information in case something happens to your actual passport.
Copies of all credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and driver’s licenses should be packed in a separate place from your wallet or purse. You never know when someone might need this information.
Pack for All Weather Conditions
If you’re staying at a multi-day festival, it’s important to know what type of weather you might deal with. The best way to do this is by checking the forecast before heading out. You don’t want to arrive in beach clothes when there’s a rain shower coming.
If rain is in the forecast, be sure to pack a jacket and an umbrella. If overnight temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, bring a warm sleeping bag along with some thick socks and gloves.
Consider a Pre-trip Medical Check-up
You need to be healthy to enjoy a festival. Before you travel abroad, check with your doctor about your immunization records. Foreign countries have different diseases than the US, so it’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date on your shots.
You should also get a check-up from your doctor if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or another chronic condition. Seek advice from them on how to manage your condition while you’re abroad.
Carry Your Bank Card
If you don’t want to carry large sums of money with you, bring your debit card. A lot of festivals have ATMs. However, they usually charge high fees.
You should also be aware that some banks charge fees when withdrawing money from ATMs overseas. Make sure these fees won’t add up to more than your daily limit.
It’s important to remember that debit cards have their drawbacks. You may get your card stolen or lost. If you don’t have a backup, this could be a major problem.
Also, remember that carrying bank cards doesn’t necessarily mean being able to use them. The country you’re in may have different rules about banking and you might not be able to use your bank card as easily as you think.
You should also consider that many festivals are cash-only events, so having a debit card won’t help you much if you run out of money.
Learn About Local Laws & Customs
If you’re traveling to a new country, it’s important to know the local laws and customs. The drinking age is 21 in the United States, but it’s 18 in most European countries. Don’t expect to be able to buy or drink alcohol if you’re under 18 at festivals abroad.
Smoking cigarettes is also different depending on where you are. Some countries allow smoking indoors. Others have designated smoking areas outside of public buildings.
Make sure you know where and when it’s appropriate to smoke so that you don’t offend anyone or get into trouble with security guards.
Avoid Dark Areas
It may seem like a good idea to go back to your hotel late at night, but it’s best not to walk alone in the dark. There should be plenty of lights along the side streets and roads.
Avoid going to places where there aren’t many people around. If you have to go somewhere that’s dark, make sure you’re with a group of people.
Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can cover any medical emergencies and lost luggage. In some cases, it also covers canceled flight tickets.
It’s worth investing in this type of insurance because it will give you more peace of mind when traveling abroad. You can buy travel insurance at the airport and online. Travel agents will also sell it, as well as your hotel.
Travel With Friends
Traveling with friends is one of the best ways to make sure you have a good time at an overseas festival. It’s much more fun to experience a new place with someone you know than by yourself. Plus, traveling with friends means that you can keep each other safe so no one gets lost.
Have a Meeting Point
It’s easy to get caught up in the event’s excitement and forget about your friends. That’s why you should have a designated place where everyone meets up after each day. This will help ensure that no one gets left behind.
The meeting spot should be easily accessible and visible. Pick somewhere close to where many people gather during their breaks in between shows.
Bring a Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re at the event. The heat can get intense. And if you forget your water bottle, it’s easy to get dehydrated quickly.
So make sure you bring a water bottle with you. You can buy one at the event, but it’s better to have your own. There’s no way of knowing the quality of the water bottles at the festival.
Have a Signal Booster
Your cell phone can be a lifesaver if you need to connect with someone. But it’s not always easy to get a signal at the festival. A signal booster can help you stay connected with your friends and family.
You can buy them at most electronic stores.
Wear Pants With Zippers
Zipped pockets are best for keeping your valuables safe. If you’re wearing shorts, make sure they have zippers on the pockets. This will help prevent pickpockets from stealing your wallet or phone.
Sunscreen is important at any festival, but it’s especially important for music festivals. There are lots of stages and tents that offer shade. But there aren’t many places to get out of the sun completely.
A good sunscreen will help protect your skin from burns and prevent wrinkles in the future.
Sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. They also add a touch of style to your outfit.
Carry Portable Chargers
Power is a precious commodity at festivals. You will often find yourself with a dead phone. This is frustrating and dangerous.
Portable chargers are the answer to this problem. They allow you to charge your devices on the go without having to sit near an outlet.
At festivals, you shouldn’t accept things from strangers. You should be wary of people who approach you, especially if they’re trying to sell you something or get your personal information.
If someone offers you illicit drugs or alcohol, don’t take them. You may regret it later on.
Get a Map
If you’re at an enormous festival, it’s easy to get lost. You don’t want to be wandering around aimlessly, so make sure you have a map of the grounds. This will help you find your way back to your campsite or car when necessary.
Never Leave Valuables in Your Tent
You should keep your wallet and phone with you at all times. Your tent is a target for thieves, so don’t leave your valuables in there. Keep important items in your pocket, even when you’re sleeping.
Watch Out for Your Drink
Don’t leave your drink unattended. Someone may drop something into it or spike it with drugs. If you have to go to the bathroom, take your drink with you and keep an eye on it while inside.
Enjoy the Best Overseas Festivals
With the right knowledge and preparation, you can experience the best of what overseas festivals have to offer. Keep your phone safe, watch out for your drink and pack for unexpected weather changes. These tips can help you avoid trouble and have fun at the best overseas festivals in the world.
If you’re looking for more fun, be sure to read some of our lifestyle articles.