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The ultimate money saving festival guide

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
17/06/2016
As well as a feast of sporting events, this summer sees T in the Park and Bestival in the Isle of Wight take place. Here’s the ultimate festival finance guide.

Millions of people will be heading to festivals around the country to hear their favourite artists perform live. Such experiences don’t come cheap when you have to consider the cost of the ticket, food, travel and accommodation.

There’s not much you can do about the price of the festival ticket – for Glastonbury it was over £200 – but there are other ways to save on your way there and at the actual festival too.

It’s best to plan ahead when it comes to saving money at a festival so here are the top tips to make sure you have the time of your life on a budget:

Book in advance: Book your travel as soon as you can. Advance train tickets are on general sale about 12 weeks ahead of the departure time, and they tend to be the cheapest tickets available.

Share a ride: If there’s a group of you going, and it works out cheaper to take a car, do it. This way you share the cost, cut the congestion and reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re heading to Glastonbury, it’s running a car sharing programme. Visit the site for more information.

The camping gear: You don’t need to buy the most expensive camping gear with all the mod cons as you’ll actually spend very little time under canvas. All you need is a cheap tent, a sleeping bag and a rolling mat. You definitely don’t need a state-of-the-art gas BBQ and an inflatable kingsize bed.

Make sure you check your tent a few days before you head to the festival for holes etc and so you know how to set it up.

Cash or credit? Although festivals are getting better at providing festivalgoers with card payment methods, with some accepting mobile payments, it’s still a good idea to budget and take cash so that you know how much you’ve spent and how much you have left. You may find that ATMs on site charge you for withdrawing your cash.

Sunscreen: Sharing one bottle of (pricey) sunscreen between a group makes more sense than taking a bottle each when you’re only going to a two-day festival.

Take your own provisions: Festivals are notoriously expensive when it comes to food and drink. While there is a limit on alcohol –the amount must not be beyond reasonable personal use – it’s likely there isn’t one on food. If you are going to a two-day festival, taking along your own snacks will save you a small fortune.

Make a few ice-packs, or better still – take along frozen meat. Over a two-day festival, the meat will slowly thaw, so will be ready to eat when you’re ready and fancy throwing a BBQ party with your disposable BBQ.

Bring your own bottle: a plastic bottle. This way, you save money on those over-priced bottles of water and can top up with onsite water fountains.

Sleep with your phone: The average festival-goer will take £368 worth of gadgets with them, according to mobile phone insurer Protect Your Bubble. There is nothing worse than having your valuables stolen especially when you’re miles from home. Don’t leave it in your tent or keep it in your back pocket and it’s best to sleep with it at night.

Download the app: As if festivals aren’t pricey enough, a lot of them charge you for a copy of the festival map. Just download the app or image on to your phone before you head out.

Merchandise: Leave buying all the festival merchandise until the last day. Often the vendors tend to drop the price of t-shirts etc because they want to get rid of them before they leave the festival.

Save the planet: Festivals may offer a recycling scheme for empty cups where you can get money back for. At Glastonbury you can also volunteer to help tidy up the site in exchange for attending for free (you have to put down a refundable deposit to make sure you do your shifts).

And finally, check the weather.

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