Travel Girl Tips: Festival 411

It’s a popular trend for spring and summer travel: planning a vacation around a big event – such as a road race, a music festival or a food and wine extravaganza, with a few days to relax afterwards.

Here are some smart ways to celebrate and keep your problems at bay at an outdoor event.

First, do your homework.  Advance tickets are often available at a discount and even with transaction fees.  Buying them online could save you a lot of money. It also means less hassle when you arrive, so that your fun can start sooner.

Look for online festival discussion boards for insider tips about parking or which local chefs, musicians or artists should be on your “must-see” list.

When it comes time to book a room, ask about package deals, no matter where you are planning to stay. Higher rates usually happen during a festival.  But, there are some hotels and home rentals that will give you a break if you extend your stay past the date of the event. So, you may pay for three nights, but get the fourth for free.

That’s another reason to check tourism board websites.  Many of them will provide a list of hotels offering special rates where tickets come with the room reservation.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be crashing with friends, turn to the tourism board or the event website for other valuable information, such as directions, detailed schedules, and maps, easy to print so you can be better prepared.

You may look like a tourist, but you’ll also want to bring a fanny pack or another easy-to-carry tote – and a water bottle holder.  Even if the rules say you can’t bring water in with you, bring the holder.

Other necessities: tickets, cash, lip balm, cell phone, sunglasses, and sunscreen or a hat.  No matter how old you look, bring your ID if you plan on drinking alcohol.

Don’t bother with a bulky charger.  These days, most big events have free charging stations for when your phone runs out of juice.

Once you’re on festival grounds, choose one obvious, permanent location and make it the “in case of emergency” meeting point.

Finally, when you find a favorite festival, consider a splurge. Some of the perks associated with higher-priced packages–such as prime seating, nicer bathrooms and better than average food–can be well worth the cost involved.

That’s your Festival 411.  Now let the fun begin!

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