Okay, so you’ve waited patiently like a sniper to snap up those tickets the moment they go online. Good job! But did you even consider how to get to the festival and where to stay? We don’t blame you if in the excitement of bagging a few tickets you forgot about festival travel arrangements.
But fear not, because we’re here to help out with that little oversight and give you all the facts and advice you’ll need to make sure you arrive at a festival in one piece and before the first band takes to the stage!
Unless you plan on taking a mighty quest to walk to the festival, you’ll probably be taking some mode of transport to get to your festival of choice. This could be a coach, train, plane or maybe even a car. You need to choose one that’s relevant to the location of the festival, your budget and what’s available to you. This should the first thing to consider, before you even buy your tickets.
If Traveling By Train…
Trains are by far one of the most reliable, quickest and sometimes cheapest way of getting around the country, especially to festivals. If you’re a student or young adult you can get a 16-25 railcard which gets you up to a 1/3 off rail fares, saving you plenty of extra cash for more important things (like food and drink). Booking online well in advance can also save you more money. Making separate journeys from different stations can also spare you a little bit of extra dough, instead of taking the default route.
However, taking the train isn’t perfect. Trains can only take you so far and stations don’t exactly stop right outside the festival campsites. Fests like Glastonbury and the Isle Of Wight, for example, are way out in the sticks and you’ll still have to make up the rest of the journey.
If Traveling By Coach…
Coaches are probably the cheapest way to get to a festival, especially if you can find a great deal online for tickets. Services like Megabus, Greyhound & National Express offer long distance travel all over the country for very affordable prices. If you visit festival sites you’ll also find that some offer special coach services too.
Bear in mind though that coach journeys can be very long for those with itchy feet and often leave very early in the morning. Booking in advance will also save you money, so act fast!
If Going By Car…
The easiest way to get to a festival is by personal transport, but it’s not necessarily the simplest to plan. If travelling in a group, it’s best to designate one friend or family member as the driver, as parking spaces are limited and traffic can be extremely heavy on route. It’s also eco friendly, if you care about doing the Earth a favour! If none of your friends can drive, sign up to a car share scheme and hitch a ride with someone else.
Plan Your Journey!
Especially if you’re driving to a festival, you and your friends need to create a journey plan. Use Google Maps or an old fashioned road map to pick a route from your door to the festival campsite. Keep alternative routes in mind in case one is blocked or traffic is extremely heavy. A GPS or using 3G on your phone can help you keep up to date with the latest traffic news, but local radio stations may also offer essential travel updates for festival goers. Many festival websites also kindly offer travel updates for its attendees to check up on.
Find A Place To Park
Getting there is the easy part, once you arrive at a festival, parking is a whole other beast. Many festivals will require drivers to obtain a parking permit in advance, ensuring they have a spot on site. This is especially important if you have caravan.
However, if this is not the case, then its best to find somewhere local where its safe to park without getting a ticket. Research the local area beforehand for the best parking spots, free or otherwise. Many local businesses also offer parking services especially for festival goers, so its wise to find out where these parking havens are.
Taking The Bus…
The final lap of the journey to a festival is often by bus for many festival goers – especially those coming by train. Like you would plan for a train journey, it’s best to research the local bus services. Think about which bus you need to get as close as possible to the campsite and check the times they’re running. Buses also get extremely packed in summer time, so grab the earliest possible one running.
We know nobody really wants to leave a festival and go back to boring reality, but unfortunately you have to plan to leave as much as you do arriving. This is especially important when on the final day you might be nursing an awful hangover or feeling tired and extremely dirty.
Book return journey tickets and revise the public transport running times. We recommend giving yourself plenty of extra time for your return journey in case of traffic, there’s a mad rush to get out of the festival or there are delays for any other reason.
The Early Bird Catches The Worm…
It might be in your nature to leave everything to the last minute (hey, we’re all guilty of that sometimes) but trust us when we say you need to be on time or early for everything festival related. Leave early and plan to arrive up to a couple of days before the festival starts.
Many festivals allow campers to set up days before the music starts and there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied until then. If using public transport, arrive early to the station or bus stop so you never miss a crucial leg of your journey. A festival is one of few things in life you really can’t afford to be late for!
Hopefully with these tops tips, planning to travel to a festival will be a less stressful experience. Thinking about how to get to a festival is just as important as nailing those tickets, so plan, plan, plan, well in advance!
If you still need more info about festivals, don’t forget to check out our other festival survival guides!