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10 hacks to save you money at a European festival this summer

Booking European Festivals with your friends can become very expensive if you're not organised. However… there are ways around this if you are savvy. Here at Thomas Cook Money, we have written some top tips we hope will save you money.

Tags: travel, destination, accommodation, advance travel, budget

1. Get yourself early-bird tickets
Get your tickets booked as soon as you have decided on the festival. Let this be your first cost. Many early-bird tickets will be up to 25% cheaper than the second wave tickets.

2. Book your travel in advance
After festival tickets, travel should be second priority. Flight prices are demand sensitive and as soon as lots of people book, prices will soar. It can be a challenge for friends to book the same flight, but try and be organised with it, as this can easily be the biggest cost of your holiday. Also, be careful on extra luggage charges. You’ll be living in your swimming stuff and shorts – so can you share a case with your pals?

3. Be travel savvy
It’s one thing booking your flights early, but it’s another to shop around. Don’t go for the most obvious travel route that is advertised on the festival’s website. Research other local airports that you could fly to and either sort a transfer or rent a car. Another tip is lengthen your stay. Arriving a couple of days early and leaving after the festival* will not be as popular, so you’re likely to get slightly cheaper flights. *subject to accommodation being off site.

4. Join an Ambassador scheme
Many festivals offer schemes by which if you sell tickets to a certain number of friends you are eligible for a free ticket. If you have a group of friends who are all heading to the same festival, then maximising this opportunity could be a great way to save money.

5. If camping isn’t for you, book accommodation close to the festival
Camping isn’t everyone’s bag, especially when a tent represents a boiling hot greenhouse. Many will opt for apartments, which of course are an added cost – but for comfort, some would say it’s worth it. The catch here is, if you are not clever with where you book, you could end up spending far more than planned on taxis back and forth from the festival every day. Do your research, ask the hotel/apartment how close it is to the festival. Walking distance is crucial here.

6. Set a daily budget
When abroad with friends, it’s easy to spend a small fortune. Before you go, work out how much spending money you have and set a realistic daily budget. Even if you struggle to stick to it, the guilt will make you more frugal. Suddenly, the second burger in one night doesn’t seem so appealing.

sunglasses, open wallet with money in, on a scarf laid on a wooden table in the sun with a blurred palm leaf leaning over.

7. Bring your own food
Any room going in your case? Fill it with food. The non-perishable type! Pasta, sauces, instant noodles, biscuits, cereal etc. These will be great staples, and at 4am in the morning, you will be happy you packed them. Food at festivals is known for being overpriced (although delicious) and so, if you are aware you have cheap food at home, you will hopefully save on pricey food.

8. Locate the nearest supermarket and stock up on day one
Plan group meals for the week and head to the local supermarket. It’s amazing how cheap a supermarket shop can be for one week between the four of you.

9. Don’t buy the programme, download the app
Lots of festivals will try and sting you when entering with an extremely overpriced programme – which will only annoy you as the days go on, and which you will likely lose on day two anyway! Instead, check out if they have a festival app. These often have interactive maps that will help you locate the one friend who always seems to get lost.

10. Avoid the expensive merchandise until the last day
We all want to remember the festival of our lifetime with an oversized t-shirt that we will probably wear to bed or at the gym. However, these can be incredibly pricey. Don’t be too eager. Wait until the last day, stores are usually trying to flog them – and you may even bag yourself a 50% off hoodie.

19 Jul 2019