If you were all out of luck with Glastonbury tickets this year, or want to find a guaranteed mud-free experience, you might be thinking of heading to a festival abroad this summer.
Why not? It’s a great idea and with cheap flights, not that much more expensive. Plenty of sunshine, potentially cheaper drinks, boutique camping and accommodation (no lugging that tent through customs).
We’re sold. Let’s start planning…
Taking out travel insurance is always a good plan (we would say that, wouldn’t we?) But first and foremost, before you think about your packing list of festival essentials make sure you take a few hassle-free steps to make sure you’ll be able to handle things if it all goes wrong.
We all travel light at a festival, but let’s think beyond ponchos and baby wipes. What do you need to have on you if for example, you need medical treatment?
Helpfully, the British Government website gov.uk has produced this comprehensive checklist specifically for festival goers that can help you stay safe.
Here's a quick summary:
Before you go
- Take out travel insurance. (This is where we can help!) Leave a copy of your documents with a friend or family member back home. And if you’re wondering ‘what is travel insurance anyway, and why do I need it?’ check out our FAQs here.
- If the festival is in Europe, take an EHIC card. They’re free, guaranteed to be valid till Brexit, and can reduce your medical costs. EHIC doesn’t replace insurance but it can work in conjunction with it to make things a whole lot easier.
- Don’t forget to fill in the emergency contact details page of your passport. The first place emergency services may look.
- While we’re talking passports, take a photo of the personal details page of your passport and send it to a friend or family member (make sure the passport number is legible).
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re staying – write it down or text it to them.
- Make a note of the local emergency services number in the country you’re going to and write down the details of the nearest embassy or consulate.
- Check Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice for the country you are travelling to. Is it dangerous to travel there?
At the festival
- If you’re camping and the festival provide lockers – use them. Travel insurance won’t cover your belongings if you leave them unattended in a tent (because it’s so easy for thieves find them) so make use of a locked safe place.
- Keep valuable items on you at all times – preferably in a zipped inside pocket. Although it’s safest to leave them at home.
- Keep a copy or photo of your passport on you at all times.
- Split your cash so it’s not all in one place. But keep it on your person.
- Stick with your mates and avoid walking back to your tent or accommodation by yourself.
- Be respectful of local laws and customs. Be aware that penalties for drug possession can be severe – anything from heavy fines to the death penalty. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also invalidate your travel insurance claim – for instance, if you fall over and break your leg.
If you need help
- Make use of the festival’s help or information points
- If it’s an emergency, call the local emergency service. For instance, dial 911 in the US or 112 in Europe.
- If you lose your passport you can apply for an emergency travel document to get back home. You’ll need to obtain a police report for this, then go to the local embassy or consulate and pay a £100 admin fee. Cover for this cost is usually included on most travel insurance policies so you should be able to claim this back through your insurer, less an excess fee.
This list might look daunting, but taking a quick photo of your passport and WhatsApping it to a mate takes seconds. So you can crack on with planning what bands to see and your ‘unique festival look’ (may we suggest ‘glitterball eagle’?)