Festival Season Travel Tips

By James Joiner | May 1, 2017


It’s basically summer, and that means it’s festival season.  Whether you’re heading to Tennessee for the annual Millennial mating ritual of Bonnaroo or prepping for a few months on the road following your favorite jam band, here are some pro tips to keep you from looking like an amateur.

  1. Sleeping Situation. Just because you’re on a road trip and camping doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable. Get a good sleeping bag, and I personally try to start every epic journey with a new hooded sweatshirt for maximum plushness as a pillow, warmth on cool evenings, and lurk-ability for when you need to get a little me-time in close quarters.
  2. Pack Light, Pack Right. No matter how big your land yacht, space will become a premium as you gather accomplices and stuff. Pack light – I try to keep it to two bags, one for life and one for work (I’m a photographer). Usually I just have basic toiletries, enough underwear for a week (Patagonia’s Capilene boxers are amazing and can be washed in a water fountain and quickly dried out the window if need be), a couple t shirts, a pair of pants, a pair of shorts, a flannel, and a hat. It’s summer, so just do sandals (KEEN Newports are all-terrain, waterproof, and beyond comfy) and you won’t need to deal with crusty socks.
  3. Sunglasses. Good for blocking those harmful UV rays, and also for hiding your eyes after you smoke so much legal weed the world becomes a hazy rainbow of tacos and Cap’n Crunch.
  4. Water Bottle. With climate change and pollution looming over us, using plastic is as whack as using the word whack. Get a great, insulated metal water bottle, like YETI’s Rambler, and you’ll be keeping it cool – or hot – and as an added bonus you can use it to fight your way out of a bar.
  5. Lighter. Because you never know when you’re gonna have to set something on fire. Also good for waving in appreciation during those face-melting super jams, just remember not to put it back in your pocket right away or you’ll wind up with a weird happy-face shaped burn on your thigh.
  6. Battery Pack. Gotta keep that phone juiced so you can stay up on social media and never miss a call, right?
  7. Swiss Army Knife. They even have a toothpick! But, more importantly, they also have a bottle opener.
  8. Cooler. Something small enough to fit easily in the car, but also able to keep your perishables from becoming a toxic waste dump overnight. YETI shines here with their soft Hopper series, since when not in use they can be crammed down into a smaller size. 
  9. Ibuprofen. Because sometimes mornings are hard.
  10. First Aid Kit. Just a basic one, but be sure to have bandages, antiseptic, aspirin, gauze, etc. Oh, and condoms. Duh.
  11. Headphones. Good ones, not the BS that comes with your phone. Drop some change on the noise cancelling over-ear Bose or Sony kits, and you’ll be able to space out into your own world whenever you want. Worth every penny and then some after a few weeks in a confined space with the same smelly group of hung over people.
  12. Baby Wipes. Seriously. Do you even want to know what passes as toilet paper in a festival porta-potty or middle-of-nowhere truck stop? Get the anti-bacterial ones if you can, and give that seat a solid swabbing.
  13. Earplugs. Even if you’re the kind of super-fried, acid-eating bass maniac who makes love to the speakers all night, sometimes it’s important to remember that the inside of your ears are delicate sonic instruments, so cushion the audio ass kicking when you can.
  14. Good Vibes. This is the most important one, and negates any and all of the above if forgotten. Remember, you’re on vacation and having an adventure, so chill the fuck out and take it as it comes.