Maybe you’ve got tickets to Coachella, or perhaps you’re planning to see the Monaco Grand Prix, or you’ve booked a Ducati Dream Weekend. You might be off to Comic Con San Diego or you’ve won the jackpot and managed to get in to see Hamilton on Broadway. Trips built around events can be incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They also come with their own special considerations to make sure those experiences are every bit as incredible as you hoped.
Splurge on a good ticket
If an event is the centrepiece of your trip, think carefully about the kinds of tickets you want to purchase. The chances are it’ll be a small proportion of your overall holiday expenses, and it would be so disappointing to travel over oceans and spend thousands of dollars to wind up in nosebleed seats. If you can afford it, spend the extra money to make sure you have the best seats you can get for the event.
Think carefully about all the possibilities for your trip: maybe the summer rain will hit early, maybe there’ll be a special event you’ll want to go to that requires cocktail attire. Brainstorm possibilities before you go and try to pack items that can double up. Don’t forget gumboots if you’re likely to be walking through muddy fields, and comfortable shoes if you’ll be waiting in long lines. Water bottles, rain ponchos and snacks can all be really overpriced when you get to an event venue, so if possible, purchase ahead of time and bring them with you.
Consider renting a camper van
If you’re going to a festival or other event with camping, consider renting a van locally rather than packing camping gear for your trip. It will free up luggage space and be far less of a hassle. Plus, you won’t spend precious holiday time preparing your campsite, and will mean you can stay warm and dry even in the rain. Make sure you have the right travel insurance, though: some policies don’t cover the excess for camper vans. Vans in local areas can book up very quickly ahead of big events, so book early!
Plan for jetlag
If you possibly can, arrive in the time-zone of your special event with enough time that to adjust well before it kicks off. The last thing you want is to be fading fast just as the headline act comes on, or to nod off before the encore. Time to acclimatise will help you be bright eyed for your holiday highlight, so take that into account when you’re scheduling your trip.
Rest the day before
It’s tempting to try to make the most out of every single day of your trip, but sometimes going hard every day means that you do more, but enjoy it less. Being well-rested and energetic for the capstone of your trip will make sure you’re more likely to get the most out of it. Consider staying somewhere restful and simple, close to the venue, the day before your event begins.
Make new friends
One of the best things about going to a special event is meeting people who share your passions. Consider checking out event pages on Facebook, or hashtags on Twitter, to find fellow travellers who will be good company at the event. But if you’re travelling along, make sure you tell someone where you’re going to be and meet up with any new friends in a public place.
Budget for extras
The t-shirt, the souvenir program, the one-in-a-lifetime backstage photo: you never know what you might want to come home with to remember your incredible experience. Don’t forget to budget for these extras when you’re planning your trip: it’s not like you can go back later and buy another. Concert t-shirts from shows I’ve been to around the world are some of my favorite pieces of clothing.
Be strategic with photos
It’s tempting to take a thousand photos of the event to show exactly how close you were, but resist the temptation to spend most of the time taking pictures. You didn’t travel all that way to watch the show from behind a screen! Take a few photos that show where you were, and take plenty of you and your travel companions, but nobody needs to see seventeen shaky YouTube videos of your favourite songs. Live in the moment and trust that the pros will get it on camera.
Make sure you’re got the right travel insurance
Before you go, make sure you have the right international travel insurance lined up, so that if anything happens during your once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you’re prepared. Check your policy carefully before you purchase it to make sure it covers everything you need.