Heading off to a festival this summer? Read our guide for tips to stay safe, keep your valuables protected and have a great time on a budget.
Did you know that people spend an average of £350 at a festival? While letting your hair down and seeing your favourite acts is a part of summer many of us love, the cost can creep up.
On top of all the splurging, lots of festival-goers also experience theft or losing their valuables whilst on the go. This can certainly put a dampener on all the fun and can add another expense to an already costly time.
From what you need to pack with you to how to stay safe, take a look at our handy guide below.
What to pack?
Whether it’s your first festival or you simply need a reminder of what to bring, don’t forget to pack these essential festival items:
A sturdy tent
A bumbag or safe zipped bag to store phone and money
A card with enough cash for the weekend
Clothes for a range of weather
Sleeping bag, pillow and roll mat
Portable phone charger
Non-perishable snacks and meals
Wellies and waterproofs
A reusable water bottle
Toiletries like toothpaste and deodorant
First aid kit and painkillers
Take a safe wearable bag
When you’re busy dancing to your favourite songs, the last thing you want is to have your phone or cash snatched while you’re not looking. Many festival-goers store theirs in a sealed bumbag and conceal it under their clothes to deter any pick-pocketers.
Never leave any valuables unattended
It’s important to never leave anything important or expensive unattended in your tent. To reduce the risk, it could be wise to not pack anything valuable unless you absolutely have to.
Those things that are important - like your credit card, ID or phone - should be kept with you at all times, sealed in a closed bag.
Invest in a good tent
It might be tempting to simply purchase the cheapest possible pop-up tent available, but this might not actually be cost-effective once you arrive.
If you have a cheap tent, bad weather or rampant festival-goers could easily tear it apart. And if you need to replace your tent when you arrive, the stores flogging tents onsite certainly won’t be cheap!
...and lock it up safely
To prevent theft, it could be a good idea to purchase a tent lock. While this might not make theft completely impossible, it could make it more difficult and act as an obstacle to make any potential thieves think twice.
A card can be safer than cash
If you withdraw all of your festival spends in cash, you could risk losing it all or having it stolen. To avoid this, it could be a wise idea to bring a credit or debit card instead.
That way, if you notice it’s missing, you can quickly cancel the card before anyone gets the chance to spend it. If you’re left in the lurch after your card has been cancelled, friends and family could consider lending the cash to tide you over until you get home.
Separate your festival finances
One way to avoid overspending is to use a set festival budget. To do this, you could load your dedicated festival budget onto a prepaid card or a different bank account and leave the rest of your finances at home.
This way, there’s no risk of your festival spending accidentally eating away at your outgoings - once it’s gone, it’s gone. Plus, you won’t be putting your main bank account at risk of theft, which is likely to have a higher amount of money.
Get gadget insurance
To save yourself forking out for any repairs or replacements, it could be worth insuring your gadgets. You can find reasonably cheap cover that pays out for cracked screens, accidental damage and any loss; and it could turn out to be a savvy decision.
Look out for perks
Companies such as Barclaycard or Vodafone often sponsor festivals and can provide perks for existing customers, such as free phone-charging or VIP viewing platforms.
You’ll usually need to bring your card or proof that you’re a customer, so look out for any sponsorships or promotional offers before you leave.
Bring food that lasts
Food like popcorn and cereal bars are life-savers while you’re at a festival. And if you have access to a power plug and kettle, packing Pot Noodles and instant pasta meals could save you a fortune instead of splashing out on pricey meals every night you’re there.
Can’t afford a ticket? Volunteer
If there’s an irresistible line-up on the horizon but your finances just can’t stretch to it, why not see if you can volunteer?
Charities like Oxfam let you attend for free if you work a couple of shifts while you’re there. From checking peoples tickets to patrolling campsites, the work is varied and can be a fun way of meeting new people. Depending on where the shifts fall, you could end up seeing your favourite bands without paying for a ticket!
Plus, volunteer staff often receive perks like on-site showers and electricity, which could make your festival experience more enjoyable.
See if you can BYOB
If you like a drink or two at a festival, see if you can bring your own alcohol in advance. Check online before you go to save having your drinks confiscated at the gates.
Having your own supply of alcohol and/or soft drinks can dramatically reduce the amount you spend at a festival, so it’s definitely worth checking before you go.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.