By Ruth Cawley

Summertime marks the beginning of a season filled with sunny days at beaches, holidays abroad, and seasonal events. Festivals are some of the most anticipated summer events and are held annually all over the world. As festival dates approach with promises of unforgettable music and vibrant atmospheres, preparing for them can make all the difference between a fantastically fun experience and a logistical nightmare. To make the best of your festival experience, you need to ensure you have all the essentials for your comfort and convenience.

This article is sponsored by International Student Identity Card (ISIC) which has been available to secondary and third-level students in Ireland for almost fifty years. The card is recognised worldwide by governments, universities, entertainment providers, and retail chains. Students can avail of virtual or physical cards on the ISIC website to unlock benefits and discounts from brands like, Urban Outfitters, Eason, Interrail, Hostel World, and Europcar. All these brands can supply you with accommodation, travel methods, and other bits and bobs to enjoy your trip away.

The following list outlines all the essentials and extras to ensure your enjoyment at any festival throughout the year.

Camping Gear (if applicable)

Camping out on the premises is often one of the most attractive immersive experiences for summer festivals. If you’re not inclined to use your ISIC card on or Hostel World Accommodations, then you might prefer to spend it at shops that can provide you with the following equipment and accessories.

Tent: Ireland is what we can refer to as ‘meteorologically challenging’ in that we get far less sunshine than other countries in Europe. So, when camping, it is always advisable to bring a tent in case the heavens open and rain down upon the festivalgoers. It will keep your sleeping area warm and dry as well as provide a place to keep all your packed gear. A decent-sized tent can shelter you and at least three of your friends. It will also give you a place to regroup over the weekend. Ensure you have all the necessary stakes and ropes to pitch the tent(s) and your friends can help you out.

Sleeping Bags: Festival campgrounds are not the most comfortable of accommodations. However, sleeping bags and sleeping mats offer an additional softer surface to sleep on at night. By making your space comfortable, you are likely to sleep better and get your energy back at the end of the day.

Lanterns: Once it gets dark, lanterns and torches are handy to keep nearby as they offer a light source for when you need to find something in your tent or outside. They can guide you through the crowds and campsites. Just remember to bring batteries!


Tickets & ID: Without your tickets and passes, you’ll miss out on everything! Waterproof pouches are usually a good investment for festivals since they keep your ID and tickets safe from water damage. They also provide a handy place to keep all your bits and bobs together.

Money: Since some places refuse card payments, it is recommended for festivalgoers to keep cash on hand. Make sure you keep them in a convenient, but safe place. Cards are ideal for larger payments, but cash is an alternative for the next round of drinks and buying merchandise.

Portable Phone Charger: Don’t lose that Instagram clout by losing power on your phone! You’ll want to bring a portable charger so you can keep on taking snaps and videos of your festival experience. You’ll enjoy looking back on those memories in years to come and sharing them with your friends and family online.

Earplugs: Ever stand way too close to a speaker? Or have a friend who snores like a freight train when you’re sharing the same tent? Earplugs are a great solution to protect your ears from too much noise and help you get some sleep at the end of a great weekend.

Bin Bags: What to do with all the beer cans and wrappers and the rest of the rubbish on your fun weekend away? Keeping bin bags in your tent or accommodation helps keep your own space clean and makes it easier to dump on your way out. Another bin bag should also be used for laundry so you can easily find all your clean clothes for quick changes.

Map & Schedule: To make sure you hit all the highlights, take a festival schedule and a map of the grounds. Knowing where and when all the best music performances are scheduled and where the best bar spots and bathrooms are located makes it easier to plan your days. It also shows you the ideal spots for setting up camp.

Clothes & Accessories

Clothing: You need to look fabulous and be flexible with your clothing at a festival! Before you set off, make sure you packed all your best fitted and colourful garments to show off your own styles. It is also important to ensure you have lightweight, breathable fabrics for the daytime and warmer layers for the evening. Always include extra socks and underwear and a raincoat, just in case!

Accessories: Some of the best accessories for festivals include bandanas or scarves to act as protection from sun or dust if you are going to a drier climate. Hairclips, hairbands, and bangles are always eye-popping additions to any outfit. The cheaper alternatives for accessories are usually best for festivals since it is easy to lose expensive items in the crowds or grounds. 

Footwear: Since you’ll be out dancing and walking through the festival grounds, it is advisable to bring stylish and comfortable shoes that can persevere through all kinds of weather. This can be anything from sandals to boots to sneakers. Browse through the stores with your ISIC card and see what’s on offer! 

Sun-wear: Since summer is here, it’s only natural to bring a pair of your most stylish sunglasses and a matching hat. You can look hotter than the sun while protecting yourself from it!

Small purse/bag: Keeping your money, phone and any other daily essentials on your person is important. So, it is recommended to get a small purse or bag that you can attach to your shoulder or waist so you can grab them when needed. Watch out for pickpockets in large crowds!

Health & Hygiene

Toiletries: Never leave home without the following essentials for your daily hygiene and skincare routines. This includes, but is not limited to, your toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, hand sanitizer, make-up removing wipes, and menstrual hygiene products. A hairbrush is also a must-have item on the festival scene as well as dry shampoo and a lightweight towel.

Suncream: Ensure you have packed enough suncream with SPF protection until the end of the festival. This will help you get tanned but prevent painful sunburn or sunstroke.

Cosmetics: You don’t need to bring your entire cosmetic arsenal with you on festival trips, but the general items are good to have on hand. This includes foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, lip balm, mist, and primer.

First-Aid Kit: In case of minor emergencies, bring along a small bag of plasters, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, or insect repellent spray. Personal medications should be included, e.g. inhaler, supplements, etc. There are always a medical team on hand at the grounds to help if you do not have any of these items.

Food & Drink

Water Bottle: A reusable water bottle is always a good shout for festivals. You can stay hydrated and keep it in your bag during the day. There should be hydration stations somewhere onsite. It’s also eco-friendly to use the reusable bottle instead of purchasing several plastic bottles.

Snacks: Non-perishable snacks like nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, or chocolates are a nice treat to have in between gigs and events.

Cooler: If you plan on brining extra food and drinks, then a cooler can be a great investment. It will keep all the perishables on the fresh side and all the drinks cool during the hotter days.

Entertainment & Extras

Camera: Take as many photos and videos as you can! Some people prefer not to rely solely on their phones for decent pictures. Cameras can take detailed images from a further distance and capture all those snapshot memories that you want to look back on.  

Blanket: For sitting outside or keeping warm at night.

Upon review, all these items seem like a lot to pack for a few days away at a festival. However, many of these items are smaller than expected. You can also leave your bags elsewhere when you traipse off to explore with your friends. While the list is somewhat extensive, it prepares you for anything and packing can be divided between the group you are attending with. The ISIC card can help you obtain many packing essentials at reduced rates.

Apply for your ISIC card today!

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