Traveling far and wide to attend a festival can be exiting and also very stressful. You experience new places, new people, and a whole new culture. So what are some tips for jumping into the adventure of attending a destination festival? One of our bloggers puts in their two cents:
1. DO Pack lightly, but efficiently.
This is a point I can’t stress enough. You’re traveling across the world to attend a festival, as much as you want to bring three outfits for everyday, two wigs, six hats, three different pairs of cat ears, and those super awesome platform boots, you just can’t. To get to a destination festival, you will most likely be flying, taking buses, cabs, and maybe even more foreign modes of transportation. You will be doing a lot of walking, and you’re not going to want to carry/drag massive pieces of luggage everywhere you go. I would advise investing in a large backpack, that way you can easily carry all of your belongings, and it slightly limits how much you can pack. I would suggest packing clothes that go with everything. That way you can mix and match and create awesome new outfits every day. Pack for practicality, you’re at a festival at a foreign location. Pack comfortable shoes, comfortable clothing, SUNSCREEN, and A WATER BOTTLE! Also, be sure you check out the weather for the area you will be traveling to and pack so you are prepared for rain or shine, smoldering heat or blistering cold.
2. DO get familiar with the native language and culture
Something that you may not think about when traveling to a festival in a foreign location is adjusting to the native culture. Envision Festival is nestled on the outskirts of the small Costa Rican town called Uvita. The natives of Uvita speak Spanish (as everyone does in Costa Rica) and are very devout Catholics. Preparing for the festival, I brushed up on some common Spanish phrases such as “Where is the bathroom?” “I need a cab” “Do you speak English” and “What time is it?” these phrases were easy to pick up and helped immensely when it came to navigating my way around and getting to and from the festival.
Since you are in a foreign country in a foreign town, you must respect the native customs. In America and Canada, nudity at festivals is very common. In Costa Rica, it is highly frowned upon by the locals. Women are also expected to be more covered up than men are. Be aware of that, or any other customs that may be different in your travel destination then what you’re used to at home.
3. DO push your comfort zones and try new things!
When in Rome right?! Well, when at a destination festival be sure to push yourself out of your comfort zone! After all, trying things unique to the destination is one of the best parts about being in a foreign location for a festival! Envision was an incredible learning experience for me, it is a very eco-concious festival, which is very fitting because Costa Rica is extremely eco-conscious as a country, arguably one of the leaders in the world for conservation and environmental efforts. Another thing was completely diving into the local cuisine. Beans, rice, and fresh off-the-tree fruit. I ate meals that I would never dream of eating back home in the states, and loved it. I tried things I would never otherwise think of experiencing, and it helped me grow and round out my experience. When you’re surrounded by the walls of a festival, sometimes it is easy to forget you are in a foreign country, but I challenge you to challenge yourself to experience as much as the local culture as possible!
4. DO spend some time traveling around the country outside of the festival!
Traveling far and wide to attend a festival is great, even one of the best things you could ever do, but don’t forget to see the rest of the country while you’re there! Festivals can be pretty Americanized, especially if they’re run by American companies. Which is definitely not a bad thing, it allows destination festivals to be foreign feeling, but also comfortable enough that you feel safe and are able to enjoy your experience. However, you can’t really experience the destination without getting outside of the festival. Travel to local hotspots, eat at local restaurants, talk to the local people! After Envision ended, I travelled around Costa Rica hitting some world renowned surf spots and beaches, explored the jungle, and walked the streets of San Jose, allowing me to feel like I got the full Costa Rican experience!
5. DON’T Spend the entire time on your cell phone or searching for a local cafe with wifi.
I know, we live in a world where we are constantly digitally connected to each other. I mean, we post nearly every detail of our lives on social media. And I know, you definitely wanna share that awesome photo of you jumping from a waterfall, or a picture of you sitting down to a meal of epic local cuisine. I promise, your friends will be just as excited to see all of that when you’re home. So hold off on the social media until you’re back in the states, and be completely present and in the moment when you’re not. You’re on vacation, so enjoy it! Besides, social media can often act as more of a stressor than anything else. So keep your phone off, and stop hounding the locals to see if you can use their wifi.
6. DON’T Come without a plan
If you like to go to festivals you probably like a certain dose of spontaneity and chaos in your life. However, attending a destination festival is NOT the time to not have a plan. It is extremely important that you have every last detail planned, everything from getting to and from the airport, where you will stay, and most importantly, how much it will all cost. Also, it is important to keep in mind that cell service, internet, and LTE are far more difficult to come by in a foreign location, which makes planning on the fly nearly impossible. The last few years I have attended Envision I have watched too many friends come without a plan, and without sufficient funds only to be left stranded without rides, without money, and without places to stay. DO NOT BE THOSE PEOPLE!!! PLAN AHEAD! That way instead of spending your entire trip stressing about where you’re going to sleep that night, or how you are going to make it back to the airport in time to catch your flight, or whether you need to spend your money on lunch or your cab home, you can enjoy yourself and have fun!
7. DON’T be afraid to make new friends!
Out of all of the things that I have listed, this is hands down the most important point I have made. Don’t be afraid to make new friends! Destinations festivals are so cool and unique because they literally draw people from all over the world. At Envision I made friends with people from Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, and all over the United States. It was incredible hearing their stories and listening to how festivals were different in each of their home countries. It’s awesome to connect with people from all different walks of life that have the same interests as you do, its even better being able to dance the night away with them to incredible music surrounded by great friends, new and old.
Written By Madi Lawton
Photos By Madi Lawton