The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 30, 2016
So you’ve decided to spend your precious vacation time at raves and EDM festivals. You are undoubtedly in for a blast of epic proportions. Still, it’ll be helpful to employ a few strategies in advance of your trip in order to ensure that things go smoothly—i.e. sans epic meltdowns, lost friends, or bodily discomfort. Whether you’re heading to Electric Daisy Carnival in Tokyo or Electric Zoo in NYC, here’s how to prep for the ultimate EDM vacation so that you can enjoy it drama-free.
1. Read up on the venue in advance.
Once you’ve purchased tickets to a festival or rave, check out the venue’s website to learn if any items are prohibited from the grounds as well as what amenities will be on offer. (For example, some festivals have started going “cashless”—meaning festival goers can load money onto a wristband and leave the credit cards at home.) While you’re at it, print out the show lineup and a map of the festival grounds so you canplan your route in advance.
2. Pack layers.
EDM festivals involve lots of dancing and require being on your feet all day. Do your body a favor and pack layers that are comfortable, breathable, and appropriate for the weather. Even if the day starts out warm, it’s a good idea to bring along a hoodie or light jacket in case the night turns cool. If you have room in your backpack or fanny pack, it’s also a good idea to bring an extra pair of socks in case yours get wet or dirty during the show. Perhaps most importantly? Remember to wear comfortable footwear.
3. Eat and drink well.
Dancing for hours under the beating sun—it’s a blast, but it’s also tough on your body. Give your body the best chance at feeling okay by the end of the night by eating a nutritious meal before raves, packing healthy snacks, and staying hydrated while you dance the night away.
4. Bring the right toiletries.
While you simply won’t be able to maintain everyday hygiene at a show or festival, you can approximate cleanliness with a few key toiletries. Consider packing baby wipesfor tackling grime on your neck, armpits, arms, and feet in addition to dry shampoo, sunblock (an absolute must for summer shows), and hand sanitizer for post-porta-potty cleanup.
If you’ll be camping at a festival, pay-per-use showers may be available—bring along flip flops, a bathing suit, and cash if you want to take advantage of these facilities. Also be sure to bring your standard toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, etc. And don’t forget to pack a basic first aid kit—stashing one of these in your pack can save many a headache (literally) in the event of minor cuts and bruises.
5. Accessorize smartly.
A few items tossed into a backpack or fanny pack can make a huge difference in your rave-going experience:
- Once night falls, a headlamp is tremendously useful if you drop something on the grass or need to review a festival map in the dark.
- Sunglasses will help protect your eyes from summer rays or the flashing lights that are common during nighttime raves.
- Ear plugs will help protect your hearing so you can enjoy EDM for years into the future.
- Plastic trash bags can serve as a poncho, a seat, or protection for your belongings in the case of rain.
- A waterproof phone case will help spare you from the devastation of ruining your phone
6. Make sure your phone has juice.
Before heading to a rave, make sure your phone is fully charged so you can take pictures and stay in touch with your group in case you get separated. It’s a good idea to put your phone on airplane mode while you’re at the show in order to conserve its battery. If the venue offers a charging station, then bring along your charger. You could also opt to bring an extra battery.
7. Secure your belongings.
Although it’s impossible to guarantee with 100% certainty that your stuff won’t get lost or stolen at a rave, a little vigilance can go a long way. Some festivals offer rental lockers, which can be a great idea if you’re willing to pony up the cash. If you want to keep your belongings with you, you can help secure your things by hiding valuables in unappealing packaging (such as a cleaned-out sunscreen bottle), keeping your items on your body at all times (i.e. dancing while wearing your backpack, fanny pack, or Camelbak), and making a pact with your friends to help look out for each other’s stuff.
8. Coordinate with your group.
Communicating in advance of a rave can do a lot to keep everyone in your friend group safe and in the loop. Before arriving:
- Select a designated driver when applicable.
- If you’re going to a festival where multiple artists will be performing, reach a consensus regarding which shows you’ll all see together and when you might split up.
- Write your friends’ numbers down on a piece of paper and keep it with you at all times (in case your phone dies).
- If you’re up for it, choose an identifier that can help you all spot each other in a large crowd—for example, you could all wear matching T-shirts or bring along a flag or a balloon tied to a pole so that people can find the group again when returning from food or bathroom runs.
Upon arriving at the venue:
- Note where you all parked, where the bus station is, or where your taxi will pick you up (depending on your chosen mode of transportation). This is especially important for festivals that are held in remote areas where it’s easy to get lost.
- Select a meet-up spot for the group so that if anyone gets separated, you all know where to find each other at the end of the night.
A little advance planning, packing some key toiletries and accessories, and coordinating with your group both ahead of time and at the rave will help ensure that your EDM vacation goes off without a hitch.