With festival season upon us, you’re likely planning your upcoming adventures or preparing to leave for one that’s right around the corner–Coachella, anyone? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or it’s your first festival, figuring out where you’re going to be staying for the weekend can make or break your experience.
You’ve probably heard of countless stories of festival goers camping, while others prefer the luxury of staying in a hotel. Both have their own pros and cons, which can make the decision tough. Luckily for you, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of camping at a festival vs. booking a hotel (and helping you book one, even for the most sold-out events).
Pros of Camping at a Festival
When you’re camping at a festival, you are in the heart of all of the excitement. Not only is your bed only a short walk away (which you will be very thankful for after a long day of watching music under the sun), but you’ll be able to wake up and head immediately to see your favorite acts without worrying about parking or catching an Uber. This can save you a lot of money and allows you to partake in a few drinks without worrying about finding a designated driver.
There’s something about being surrounded by thousands of people who enjoy the artists as you do. And there’s a sense of community that you can find at a festival that can’t be found anywhere else. When camping, you’re surrounded by that love nonstop from sun up to sun down. Whether you’re met with less-than-ideal weather conditions, group breakfasts, or just bonding over a performance, it’s like a sleepover for adults.
You Can Take Breaks
There’s no denying that festivals are exhausting. Sometimes you just need a moment to kick your feet up and freshen up. This is especially helpful when there aren’t any acts that you want to see. You can change clothes, take a quick shower, charge your phone, or grab any necessities you may need for the rest of the evening.
Camping at a festival allows you to experience nature in a unique way. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful scenery, fresh air, and a sense of freedom that can only be found in the great outdoors. This can be a refreshing change from the concrete jungle that many of us are used to. Plus, camping can help you disconnect from technology and truly immerse yourself in the festival experience.
Camping at a festival can be a budget-friendly option compared to staying in a hotel or vacation rental. Festival camping tickets are typically less expensive than other lodging options, and you won’t have to worry about additional costs like parking or transportation. Plus, you can save money on food by bringing your own snacks and meals to cook at your campsite.
Freedom and Flexibility
Camping at a festival offers a level of freedom and flexibility that other lodging options may not provide. You can come and go as you please, without worrying about check-in or check-out times. You can also customize your camping experience by bringing your own tent, camping gear, and decor to create a personalized space that feels like home. Plus, you’ll have the flexibility to explore the festival grounds and catch acts on a whim without worrying about travel time, transportation or other logistics.
Cons of Camping at a Festival
As we mentioned earlier, weather can be rather unpredictable depending on the time of year and the location of the festival. During the day it can be quite warm and sticky while nights can get windy and chilly. Not to mention rain or dust storms. Of course, this is manageable if you come prepared, it can cause quite the wrench in your plans.
Although music acts may stop, the party doesn’t. That means it can be loud until late into the evening, which makes sleeping difficult if you’re not used to the noise. Chances are you won’t get a full eight hours, and you won’t feel well-rested. With the help of earplugs, a sleep mask, and sleep medicine, you can minimize the effects of your surroundings–though this isn’t the perfect solution.
Festivals offer showers, though they’re probably not what you’re used to. They also tend to accrue very long lines, especially when it’s hot outside. And three or four days without a decent shower can be a deal breaker for many. If you’re someone who enjoys a hot shower every day and a place to get ready, a hotel may be more your speed.
One con of camping at a festival is the lack of privacy. Most camping areas are open fields or designated areas with little to no privacy. You will be sharing your space with other festival goers, which can make it difficult to relax and unwind. You also may be subjected to unwanted noise or light from neighboring campsites. This lack of privacy can make it difficult to feel comfortable and secure, especially if you are a solo traveler.
While festivals often have security measures in place, such as lockers and bag checks, there is still a risk of theft when camping. This is particularly true if you bring valuable items such as expensive camping gear, electronics, or jewelry. Thieves may target festival camping areas due to the large number of people and the general chaos that can ensue.
Festival camping can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you’re used to a comfortable bed at home. Most festival campsites offer little in the way of amenities, and you’ll likely be sleeping in a tent or RV. This means you’ll need to bring your own camping gear, including a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. You may also need to set up your tent, which can be a hassle if you’re not used to it.
Pros of Booking a Hotel
Peace and Quiet
Staying at a hotel is by far the easiest way to ensure that you will get peace and quiet during a festival weekend. Even if the hotel is completely booked up by festival goers, once the sun goes down, you will be met with silence and a comfortable bed. Getting that rest that you wouldn’t typically get while camping can make a world of a difference when you’re expected to be outside and on your feet for over 12 hours.
Showers and Beds
Of course, our last point goes hand in hand with the fact that you will have a comfortable bed and a shower that is solely yours. This means no waiting in line for hours at a time in hopes to rinse off. Plus, the vanity in your bathroom gives you plenty of space to get festival-ready with your hair and makeup.
Because camping can be a bit isolating, it’s harder to leave the campsite to get food or other necessities from the store. When staying in a hotel, you’re typically closer to town, which means easier access to local restaurants and stores. Festival food isn’t cheap, so this can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Cons of Booking a Hotel
Everything about a festival is expensive. From planning out transportation to lodging to outfits and food, it can add up quickly. Staying in a hotel can be far more costly than camping if you don’t book it fast enough. Trying to book a sold-out hotel room? It can feel nearly impossible and cost you an arm and a leg (not with Hoken–though we’ll get to that later).
Lack of Community
When you have your own room, you’re not spending time getting to know your neighbors as you do when camping. Though this is not a big deal for most, meeting new friends along the way can be the highlight of a festival.
Driving into a festival can be headache-inducing, to say the least. When there are thousands of people trying to get to one location at one time, it makes for some serious traffic. It also makes for surged pricing when ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. This means giving yourself ample time to get into the festival and budgeting for these high fees.
Ready to Book a Hotel? Let Hoken Help
Whether you’re jetting off to Coachella, Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, Hoken is here to help you find a place to stay. We know that hotels sell out quickly, which is why our hotel marketplace was created. We help you find out sold out hotel rooms near some of the hottest events around the world. Ready to get started? Just scroll down to the Events tab, find your event, and book the hotel of your dream.