Thinking of going to a music festival this summer? If so, you’re in great festive company: A Nielsen report found that nearly a quarter of Americans attended a music festival last year … wow! And if there’s anything that screams “road trip,” we’re going to say it’s this. Here are 8 tips to make driving to a music festival surprisingly painless.

1. Find something local (ish)

Sure, everyone talks about Coachella or Bonnaroo. But those are only 2 possibilities in a sea of music festival options. In fact, you might get more bang for your buck going somewhere local, as you’ll shell out crazy bucks at the big festivals. A local festival means you can drive there easier, and you’ll likely be supporting local, up-and-coming musicians. Win-win! 

2. Get your car serviced before you leave

There’s nothing worse than sitting on the side of the road, especially in the dead of summer—and it can be risky. So make sure that you’ve had your oil, coolant, and other fluids checked, along with your tires. As for cleaning your car? Don’t bother … there’ll be plenty to clean when you’re home (glitter and dirt, anyone?).

3. Bring a co-pilot

Of course you’re probably not planning to rock out alone, but your best bet is to have your friends travel with you, rather than meeting you there. Sometimes that can be hard if a group of far-flung pals has agreed to meet at a certain festival, but it’s always safer to have someone with you, just in case something goes awry. A companion can also help keep you inspired during the long — and sometimes boring — miles.

4. Get your car road-trip ready

We’re talking snacks, drinks, and playlist, of course … but also make sure you’ve refreshed your emergency kit. Map your route and stops so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to check your phone. If you’ll be driving for more than one day, have a plan for where you’ll stay to rest and refresh. Remember, a drowsy driver is as bad as a drunk driver!

Also, Fuelcaster® can help you get the most bang for your fill-up buck (put your co-pilot in charge). Our online tool helps you determine whether you should fuel up today or wait for tomorrow. It’s basically a secret blend of digital herbs and mathematical spices that combine to tell you when you could save money at the pump (thanks to our friends at GasBuddy). The best part? It’s free for anyone to use! 

5. Get your gear festival ready

Before you go, pack your car with all the essentials you’ll need when you arrive. A backpack is the best way to make sure you can wave those hands in the air like you don’t care. Stuff it full of items like a bandanna (could be dusty), hand sanitizer, aspirin. and sunscreen. Some emergency toilet paper isn’t a bad idea. Add water and healthy snacks—assuming the festival allows outside supplies to be brought in. If not, bring an empty water bottle for use at the filling stations so that you’re hydrated throughout the day. It’ll be hot out there!

6. Plan to camp

The best thing about driving to a music festival is you can bring pretty much everything you need. Money magazine estimates that a hotel at a festival like Coachella can run $400+ a night. Meaning that tent and sleeping bag might sound like a great alternative. However, if you’re at a smaller venue, a hotel might be much more reasonable — and the festival is likely to offer a shuttle.

7. Have a plan for your keys

Many festivals offer lockers, which is the perfect place to stow keys and your drivers license. You also could consider a zippered pocket, your purse, or a clip-style keychain that attaches to your clothing. And, you might attach a magnetic box with a spare key to your car, but make sure you hide it well as a stolen car is clearly worse than a lost key.

8. Download your insurance app

You know, just in case. With Esurance Mobile, you could grab your digital ID cards, call for a tow truck, or even file a claim. Rock on. 

Travel hacks | Car safety


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.