Packing for festivals can be difficult, especially when you’re going to a festival abroad. You don’t want to over pack, but you also don’t want to under-pack and be unprepared.
Here’s a handy list of the essentials that you’ll need for the festival, as well as some items that will just make your experience at Benicassim more enjoyable. I haven’t included the obvious toiletries like shampoo, or the the basics such as clothes. I’ve made a list of things you wouldn’t necessarily think of, or you might think are easy to just buy when you get there but in fact aren’t.
There were a few items that I didn’t pack on my way over, but ended up having to get when I was over there, and others which I didn’t bring and found tough to get over in Benicassim. The best way to learn the ideal amount to pack for a festival is through trial and error – and luckily you’ll get to learn from my mistakes.
1). A Tent.
While most festivals sell tents, you’re probably better off not taking a chance, just in case. While it will save you weight in your suitcase if you’re travelling by plane, you may end up struggling to find a tent. If you get to Beni early there are plenty of spots around the festival selling tents. However, should they sell out, you’ll be hard pressed finding a store in the town who sells a tent, and if you do, they won’t be cheap.
2). A good torch.
I didn’t bring a torch and I was stuck trying to assemble my tent in the dark with nothing but my crappy phone light. Also drinks in the dark can be fairly awkward – and creepy, and because the charging facilities aren’t the best (you can read about that here), you won’t be able to use your phone for this as you’ll be saving every bit of battery that you can.
3). Power bank(s).
Speaking of phone battery, I’d recommend you bring about three power banks depending on how long your phone battery lasts. If you get an opportunity to charge your phone when in a restaurant then take it, but otherwise, power banks will be your best friends.
Save yourself a fortune at the festival “charging stations” by bringing fully charged powerbanks. Trust me, you’ll be so happy you did.
Unless you want to do some serious damage to your skin and look like a lobster for the duration of FIB, I recommend you bring a lot of suncream. If you’re not checking on a bag for your flight then I would recommend you buy some suncream over there as a small 100ml bottle will not do you for the duration of the festival.
5). After Sun.
Whether you get burned or not, aftersun is essential for keeping your skin hydrated and to stop it from peeling and aging. Also if for some reason you do get burned, you will be so happy that you brought this along.
6). Make-up wipes.
Packing make-up wipes doesn’t mean you can get away without showering. In FIB showering at least twice a day is essential. Trust me, you’ll be so happy to get some escape from the heat under the cold showers.
Make-up wipes are great for staying fresh in between showers, as well as wiping away any dirt that you pick up from the campsite- which believe me, about two seconds after drying yourself off from your shower, you’ll be covered in the red dust from the camp that gets everywhere.
7). A first aid kit.
This is so important. I was the only one in my group to bring a first aid kit, and I think everyone was glad that I did. My first aid kit consisted on anti-septic wipes, waterproof plasters, bandages and tape, Berocca (which was used to cure many a hangover), and dioralytes – they’re usually used when one has diarrhoea or is vomiting as they help to replenish the salts and water in your body. There are perfect for making you feel better after a day in the sun, or a night of heavy drinking.
I would make one of these up and leave it in a bottle beside my bed, I’d drink most of it before going to sleep if I remembered, but if not, then when I woke up in need for a drink in the middle of the night this is what I would reach for, meaning I was helping to cure my hangover before it happened…or at least in my mind.
I also brought plenty of paracetamol for any headaches or pains we might have had. Just the basics are all you really need. I had a few extra bits as I had injured my foot in work prior to the festival so I had to make sure that I had plenty of bandages and also little foot pads, (I’m not sure what you call them), to create a cushion under my foot so that I wouldn’t feel the hard ground so much.
8). A bottle opener with a corkscrew.
You would have thought that we’d have remembered that we’d need something to open up our beers and our wine, but we didn’t. We weren’t the only ones who had to get creative in order to open up our drinks – from using the wire fences to me shameless cracking open my bottle of wine with a rock (yes I looked desperate, and yes I cleaned up the glass properly).
I tried to buy a corkscrew in the local shops but I had no luck. I would recommend you either buy beers with screw off tops and wine with a screw cap, or make sure you’ve got some way of opening your drinks – it gets frustrating trying to pry open bottles after a while, especially when you’re thirsty, tired, and just want to enjoy a nice drink.
9). A cooler for your drinks
I don’t actually recommend you buy this before you head over if you’re going by plane, but I do suggest you get one there. However, the ones sold on the campsite aren’t great, what we did was, we went to LIDL and bought a deep enough bin for about €8 and filled this with ice and added our drinks to this. This meant we could fit more drinks than in the coolers sold at the campsite, plus it also kept the drinks colder for longer, ad was sturdy enough to be an extra seat.
10). A loofa
Trust me. You are going to feel sweaty and gross and nothing will feel better than a lovely scrub in a cold shower. You’ll feel so much better using a loofa.
11). Plenty of Swimsuits.
Bring plenty of swimsuits. You’ll need them for showering, the beach, and the water park should you decide to go. You may even find your self wearing your nice bikini tops as actual tops into the festival because it’s so warm out.
Obviously you need to bring towels with you, but one isn’t enough. I’d suggest one face towel, one beach towel, and then one shower towel. Ideally two shower towels would be better, however towels do take up a lot of space in luggage so if you’re tight for space then one will do. Just make sure you take care of the towel and leave it out to dry some place it won’t get too dirty, or get a microfibre towel that dries super quick.
You’ll need these mainly for the showers. While the showers aren’t too bad, I still wouldn’t go into them in my bare feet.
14). Dry Shampoo.
The sun is already going to be drying out your hair. The last thing you want to do is to wash it everyday, which you will have to do if you don’t bring some dry shampoo. This was such a lifesaver for me as I had just dyed my hair so it was very fragile.
15). Sleeping bag or sheet.
Despite going to sleep sweating and waking up sweating, there were points in the night when I would wake up and I was freezing so I would recommend that you bring a sleeping bag.
You could unzip it so you can easily throw it on and off you. I found that in the morning I would wake up sticking to my plastic lilo cause it was so warm, and it was very uncomfortable. If I had have brought a sleeping bag, and left it unzipped, I could have had this underneath me to stop this, as well as being able to throw the rest of it around me when I felt cold during the night.
16). Toilet roll.
The toilets on the first few days will be equipped with toilet roll, but once the majority of people arrive on Thursday, you’ll rarely find that there’s any toilet roll available. It doesn’t take up much space, and is really…well…essential.
17). A small hand sanitiser.
Soap is hard to come by at the festival. As is toilet roll. So you may be seeing a trend…hygiene isn’t the best. Take an extra step and give your hands a further clean with some sanitiser gel. There are germs everywhere and this will help you to avoid some of them.
18). A fanny pack/bum bag.
I scoffed at the idea of wearing one of these, but regretted not having one when I got there. I was lucky that the little shops in the town sold them for around €5, and they sold some pretty nice ones too.
This was so handy for holding any of my drink tokens, my cash, a lighter, and my lippy. It meant I wasn’t held up getting my bag searched each evening going into the arena as it wasn’t big enough to require me to join the ‘bag queue’.
The little bum bag meant I had my arms and shoulder completely free to dance, and I wasn’t afraid of something being robbed as I could see it at all times.
19). Plastic bin bags.
These are great for separating your clothes. I’d suggest bringing a roll of them. Use one bag for dirty clothes and one for wet clothes.
These come in so handy for your rubbish. Many people just left any food/papers thrown on the ground outside their tent, which is not only really disrespectful, but it also attracted ants – which are not nice when you’re trying to chill and have a drink and they’re crawling up your legs…
We dumped our rubbish into the plastic bags and each day on the way to the arena we would throw the bag in the big bins provided.
20).Plenty of cash.
I mentioned in my previous post that ATM’s often ran out of money, or that queues were ridiculously long. Not only that, but there were also no ATM’s on site at the festival.
Bring plenty of cash, but don’t be stupid, pay for a locker and keep it safe.
21). Bring any documents in printed form.
Your boarding pass for your flight home is on your phone? As is your train/bus ticket? Print them out and store them in the locker with your cash, your passport and any other valuables.
It’s not only likely that your phone will be completely out of battery by the time the festival is over, but there’s a high chance you may have lost it when drunk, or that it has been stolen or even damaged. In case you’re unfortunate for any of the above to happen, have a back up of any digital documents that you need for getting home safe.
I never did this and was lucky enough that I had brought enough power banks so I could save one for going home.
There’s many other items that you could pack for your time away, but for me these were the ones that weren’t necessarily really obvious, but that really helped.
(P.S Sorry for the lack of photos but as stated in the article, it was difficult to charge my phone at the festival and so the photos taken were limited, and have already been used in previous articles).