The Afar Guide to
Global Festivals

Festivals allow us to express ourselves, bond with our social circle over a communal experience, or witness something completely new. So whether you're looking to lose yourself in a pulsating sea of humanity at a summer music festival, want to laugh with friends over pints of beers during Oktoberfest, or hope to experience something sacred to another culture, festivals can provide this experiential travel outlet. But how do you choose where to go from the thousands of options out there? This guide lays it out for you.

Festivals Worth Traveling For
From legendary events like Art Basel Miami, Paris Fashion Week, and Pamplona's Running of the Bulls, to a festival devoted to watching monkeys eat and another to tossing fruitcakes, these are the festivals worth traveling for.
Cultural Festivals around the World
Wine, food, film, and dance, the world is packed with thousands of culturally focused festivals. Here are some of our favorites.
The World Festival Guide
Australia throws a giant winter music festival each June, while Germany's biggest party takes place in October. Here are the best festivals around the world, broken down by region.
Ten Top Tips for a Successful Festival Experience
Being prepared before heading to a festival is imperative. If you show up at a 12-hour summer music festival wearing the wrong shoes or without sunscreen, for example, the entire experience can be ruined. Follow these 10 tips for a successful festival experience.
Stay hydrated—It may seem obvious, but drinking plenty of water is so important when attending a festival, especially in hot weather. Don't worry too much about having to use the bathroom after downing a glass or two: You'll be sweating it out, especially if you're dancing. Consider bringing a Camelbak for easy access.
Read the rules—Head to the festival website a few days before the event so you'll know what you can and can't bring in, and pack accordingly. Some venues won't allow you to bring in liquids; others ban large backpacks. And there's nothing more annoying than waiting in a security line only to have to return to the car to dump the bags.
Be weather ready—If all the photos you've seen of an event involve people covered in mud, there's a good chance it will rain the year you attend, too. You'll want to check the weather report before heading out and dress accordingly. Bringing a small packable poncho for sudden downpours is a good idea, and if you're heading somewhere with lots of mud, rain boots are a plus.
Bring a portable battery—With all the selfie snapping and video shooing, festivals are terrible for draining your phone's battery. And there's nothing worse than your only camera dying just as your favorite band is about to play. Avoid this by bringing along a portable battery charger. These are small and lightweight, and some brands can recharge a smartphone completely in less than an hour.
Take enough cash—Not all festival venues will take credit cards, and even if they do, it's usually easier to pay in cash. This way you can also keep track of your spending (drinks can add up quickly). It's best to bring the amount you want to spend. While most festivals will have portable ATMs, these are best used in emergencies only as they often have staggeringly high withdrawal fees.
Make a plan—This is especially important if checking out a day-long festival with multiple bands playing on different stages. Many festivals create interactive online calendars of who is playing where at what time. Map out which bands you want to see the most so you don't accidentally miss your favorite. Also check if the festival has an app; if they do then download it on your phone for easy access.
Consider shoes—That stylish pair of wedges you just picked up might look really cute walking down a city street, but may be much less comfortable when walking across muddy grass. When choosing a festival outfit, make sure to wear a pair of shoes you've had for a while, so you know just how comfortable they really are. Plus no one is going to be looking at your feat anyway.
Photograph the car—Remembering where you've parked after a long day in the sun can be a nightmare, especially if it's a giant field lot. Take a photo of your car from a distance, so you can see the other cars around it and also the layout of the land, so if you misplace your car it can help you find it.
Eat light—Don't have a giant meal before heading to a festival, you'll just feel full and uncomfortable. Instead eat light the morning before and if food is allowed bring some fruit and protein bars to sustain you throughout the day.
Don't forget the sunscreen—Even if it's cloudy out, you can still burn. And when you're having fun outside with friends, especially if you're drinking, you are less likely to realize how red you're turning. Slather up before the show and midway through.
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Becca Blond, Global Festivals Curator

Becca Blond is an award winning freelance travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of more than 30 Lonely Planet guides across five continents and contributes content to publications like USA Today, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, AFKTravel, Cadillac Magazine and Jetsetter. She is also a Personal Travel Planner for Jetsetter. When not on the road she lives with her three dogs, Duke, Bobbi and Poppy, who assist with pet friendly hotel reviews. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PlanetBlond or check out her blog at Totally True Adventures in Travel Writing.