Tips for Coachella Music Festival

Coachella is just around the corner… actually it’s HERE for all you Weekend 1 festival goers! Here are just a few tips and reminders to make your experience a more pleasant one:

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1. Stay hydrated!
Water is essential for life. Make sure you drink lots of it because the sun and the dancing can take a lot out of you. Bring a CamelBak or water bottles to fill up, there are several free water stations spread throughout the festival grounds.
Bonus: Tip a chill bartender and ask if you could fill your water pouch with ice (YMMV).

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2. Be shady!
No, I don’t mean be untrustworthy, sneaky, or backstabbing. What I mean is bring a hat to shield yourself from the sun and sunglasses so you can see when it’s bright outside.

3. Keep your body temperature low
The temperature will increase during the peak hours, you can seek refuge and free air conditioning at the tents such as Heineken House (21+) or the Antarctic Dome. Also, bring your own fan or spray bottle to keep yourself from overheating, especially if you are day drinking.

4. Sunblock is your best friend
It gets hot in the desert (obviously) and you want to enjoy the weekend without burning and peeling of your skin because that’s not cute.

5. Bring a bandana to cover your mouth and face
Winds in the high desert can pick up an abundance of dust. Bring a bandana to cover your mouth and face from it, you don’t want to end up getting sick with black snot.

6. Wear comfortable shoes
You will be on your feet most of the time, dancing and walking from stage to stage. Make sure you wear shoes that you can walk all day in and don’t mind getting dirty.

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7. Pack a blanket
The Polo Fields is an actual field (surprise!) and is great for a picnic or laying down on the grass. It is relaxing to sit down and gaze up at the clouds while your favorite music artist is playing live music in the background. This part was a highlight of my Coachella experience. Weekend 1 typically will have grass but come Weekend 2, there is only dirt. Regardless, having a blanket to set on the floor and claim as your little area is nice to have. You can lay down or sit with friends without having to worry about bugs and dirt.

8. Keep an eye on your belongings
Phone thieves are at large. Make sure you store everything safely and tightly. It is best to keep your items in your front pockets if you don’t have a fanny pack or a bag. You don’t want your stolen items to ruin your experience.

9. Locate the flush restrooms
One thing I hate about festivals is the dreadful porta potties. Luckily, there are actual restrooms on site with many stalls and flushable toilets. HALLELUJAH! The bathroom facility is next to the Do Lab.

10. Germs and hygiene are a real thing
Nothing is worse than getting sick. When there are a lot of people congregating together, it is inevitable for germs to spread rapidly. Bring wipes and hand sanitizers because it can and will get dirty out there, especially if you are using the porta potties and sitting on the ground.

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11.Set a meetup spot and time stamp your texts
If you lose your friends or part ways, set meeting spots and times to catch up with them later. The reception will be spotty so make sure you time stamp your texts when checking where they are.

12. Purchase a battery pack and a cellphone charger
Your phone will drain battery life quickly with all of the photo taking and video recording. Make sure you have back up battery juice to meet up with friends and post your photos on Instagram (if you can get reception). If you don’t have a power bank, purchase one, it is a good investment. There are also outlets placed throughout the festival for you to recharge your electronics, but make sure you bring your wire.

13. Don’t forget to recharge
Often times you can get carried away at events that you forget to eat. This is important to keep yourself from fainting and feeling weak. Remember, Coachella is a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, the food at Coachella is actually pretty tasty (shout out to Crab Fries!).

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14. Let yourself be flexible
Don’t get too caught up with your schedules on who you want to see that you end up missing things that are happening around you. There are small surprises (such as special guests) that are sprinkled throughout the festival.

15. Be mindful of others
If you see someone in trouble, help get medical attention. After all, we are all human and we should look out for one another.
16. Most importantly, HAVE FUN and GET HOME SAFELY!

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Tomorrowland Experience

It’s been 4 years since I embarked on my incredible journey to Tomorrowland. It was an amazing experience that I never truly got to share with everyone! Since Tomorrowland 2018 is right around the corner, what better time is there to share that than now? Hopefully, I could shine some last minute light on what to expect for the festival goers and help those that couldn’t snag tickets this year imagine what it’s like to embark on this journey to the Holy Grail of festivals.

Camping at Dreamville

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Gather up your crew and pitch a tent at DreamVille. This is the best way to make new friends with other people from all around the world.

There are different accommodations available in DreamVille suitable for all budgets, group sizes, and packing needs. There are packages anywhere from Magnificent Greens, where you need to bring your own tent and sleeping bags, to the Cabana and Mansion Packages that come equipped with beds and shelter.

My friends and I were lucky enough to score a Friendship Garden Package which consists of a reserved camping area large enough for 10 people with 10 wristband tickets. This would be the best option to camp together and be a little more secluded from the Magnificent Greens since it was a clusterfuck there.

At the Friendship Garden, they have secluded bathrooms where the toilet paper is always stocked and the porta potties are cleaned multiple times of the day. There are showers but you do need to pay for them! Don’t worry about food, there is a marketplace where you can buy your necessities with tokens as well as ready to eat food.

You are able to leave Tomorrowland whenever you like to go back to the campsite when you are tired and need to replenish your energy. But be warned that it is a pretty long walk from the entrance to camping! Sometimes they leave bikes around for you to take from place to place.

Pre-party at DreamVille

Being in DreamVille, you are allowed to start your party on Thursday with “The Gathering” which is only available with a camping wristband. The Gathering was a lot of fun and it gets you pumped up for what’s to come!

Go crazy, go wild, go out of your mind! But not too crazy that you can’t attend the rest of the festival.

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Make Friends with Your Neighbors and Everyone Around You

After my crew and I got settled in, pitched our tents, and relaxed for a bit, we were ready to start our long, fun day ahead of us. Remember to not be too consumed with your plans, and let the magic of Tomorrowland take you on a spontaneous ride. Make friends and talk to everybody you can, they are generally really welcoming and can surprise you. We made friends with our Belgium neighbors and hung out with them during one of the days at Tomorrowland! The campsite on the other side of us are from London and ’til this day I still keep in touch with them. Tomorrowland is a great place to make connections and start new friendships.

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Represent Your Country

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Bring your flag and rep it proudly! It’s awesome taking a look around and seeing where everyone is from. The world may seem like an enormous place but at Tomorrowland, it felt like it’s a small world, after all. (Maybe Sherman Brothers were right all along.) You also instantly click with those from the United States of America since you have a common similarity!

Although I repped being American and Californian, I have learned that people respond better to being a Californian rather than an American (I don’t blame them). They are also great conversation starters and it’s so funny to see what the world thinks of where you are from. From everyone that approached me, they refer to America as “McDonalds” and “cheeseburgers”, whereas California is known for “Los Angeles” and “Hollywood”.

Make Memories and Take Photographs

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Remember to take a lot of photos, after all, it is a once in a lifetime experience! You will be so glad that there are photos and memories to look back on! Remember to embrace everything around you and enjoy the moment.

Do Not Let the Weather Ruin Your Fun

 

Remember to dance in the rain! During our time at Tomorrowland, it rained on and off! The booths gave out free ponchos to protect you from the rain so you can keep on dancing!

The sun doesn’t really set in Boom, Belgium until basically 11 PM and at night it is FREEZING cold. Make sure to pack for every type of weather.

Admire the Art, Details, and Surprises

The backgrounds for each stage changes every day! It’s amazing and so beautiful the work they put into making Tomorrowland so magical. The sets that you may be looking for will not be the same the next day. It is so fun to see what surprises they bring. At first, I was so confused until I realized what was going on. The presentation and attention to detail at Tomorrowland is top notch. There are also many surprises embedded in the program and lineup, as well.

Other Miscellaneous Information

 

At the end of the night, Tomorrowland is TRASHED. But everything is lit up so magically. Remember to pick up after yourself! After all, there is just one Earth and we need to take care of it as much as we can.

Be mindful of your belongings! Do not be too carried away with your fun that you are not looking after your stuff. Even though there are good people out there, there are also bad people to balance out the good. Lock up important things (such as your passport) and other items when you don’t need it. Someone from our group had his backpack slashed at the top and bottom, losing his camera and other items.

Bring a lock if you are camping to lock up your tents because there are thieves that go around when people are at Tomorrowland to see what they can get their hands on.

Have questions about Tomorrowland and my experience? Don’t be shy! Leave them in the comments below.

 

Vans Warped Tour: The Final Farewell

Growing up, I listened to bands such as Blink 182, AFI, Taking Back Sunday, Sum 41 (we can go all day) religiously on Winamp while I locked myself in my room chatting on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). I remember burning CDs, making playlists for my friends, and discovering new bands on Myspace.

I also remember my first Warped Tour like it was just yesterday. I was still in my teenage years going to local shows to support small bands. While most kids my age were spending money on food, I had to save my lunch money in order to afford concert tickets. Warped Tour was no different. I collected tickets like hoarders collecting used floss. Making memories and seeing my favorite bands live in front of me was what pumped blood into my veins. Like an addict, I lived for the thrill, for experiences.

My first Warped Tour was filled with a few firsts, while it was very fun, it was also really hot. I only had 2 goals, one was to crowd surf and the other was to be in a mosh pit. Since I was young with no responsibilities, I went prior to the start time. I recalled being in the excruciatingly long line we had to stand in before being able to walk through the gates to Warped Tour.

Remember the 2 items I had on my bucket list? I checked them both off my list! I crowd surfed during Forever the Sickest Kids and got pretty quick to the front and carried out by security guards. My friend crowd surfed right behind me. It was a memory I will never forget. Since I am a smaller stature, being in a rowdy mosh pit can be a little dangerous. My friend that is as petite as I, decided to enter a mosh pit for a Skaa band. We needed something tamer, but it was still a fun and funny experience inside the circle.

Anyway, enough about my 10-year old memories. Here is a recap of my Warped Tour 2018 experience, tips, and highlights for those who are going to later dates!

Tips and Information

First things first, got my Vans on but they look like sneakers!  Put your Vans on! After all, it is called Vans Warped Tour and emo kids wear Vans. Make sure to break them in since Vans aren’t very comfortable when they are brand new. Otherwise, just wear comfortable shoes because you have a long day ahead of you!

Vans on for Vans Warped Tour!

It is no surprise that Warped Tour is during the Summertime, so it’s going to be HOT HOT HEAT! Make sure you bring water and sunblock! You are allowed to bring a water bottle into Warped Tour, so find the biggest bottle available. Water inside is priced at $4 each, beer is $11-15, and soda is $5 for a small can.

Make sure you wear sunblock and apply it regularly or you will end up like this guy! People tend to go to Warped Tour from the time it opens to when it closes so stay protected! Bring a hat and sunglasses as well.

Put on sunblock!

Food is a necessity and there are food trucks to satisfy your hunger. Keep in mind that the prices are inflated so try to eat as much as you can prior to entering to save some money. But by all means, eat when you need to!

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Warped Tour takes it back old school style by not posting any set times online before the day of. It is a tradition to run to the inflatable schedule to see when and where each band is playing.

Infamous inflatable schedule

Warped Tour 101

1. Buy merch and support your bands!

Don’t forget to grab your merch! If you specifically like a band, you can go to their individual booth to get a shirt or other apparel, CDs (and get it signed by them) and other items. Since it is the last Warped Tour, I just had to buy the 2018 Warped Tour shirt to keep a little piece of my teenage years with me. It is definitely a bittersweet experience.

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2. Meet and Greet with Your Favorite Artists

At Warped Tour, there are rows of booths set up to meet and greet with bands. This year, Simple Plan had their own canopy and the line for their signing was the longest I’ve ever seen. You know you’re old when Simple Plan all look like grown dads with kids (and they probably are!).

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One thing that sets Warped Tour apart from other festivals is that you are able to meet  your favorite bands, get them to autograph your stuff, and take photos with them. This is one of the things I admire most about rock music and bands. You don’t really see other artists from other genres do this with their fans (ahem DJs).

I took a photo with Senses Fail, I could hardly recognize them anymore! This Warped Tour felt like a reunion rather than a farewell due to the maturity of the crowds. It felt like everyone was feeling nostalgic and felt more like a high school reunion to see how everyone has grown.

Senses Fail at Warped Tour

3. Admire the art that surrounds you

Art and music go hand and hand. Not only is the community so appreciative, it is also very compassionate. There are several organizations or groups of people to care about other things such as animals (PETA) and suicide prevention (To Write Love on Her Arms).

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5. Rock out to some dope music

Well, what else are you at Warped Tour for? To listen to some amazing talent and live music of course! Sing your heart out and recite those lyrics engrained your memory forever. I sang all of the songs to Simple Plan, The Used, etc. And sometimes bands like Mayday Parade will do fun things such as cover the song “The Rock Show” by Blink 182.

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6. HAVE FUN, MAKE FRIENDS, and DANCE!

Despite it being called “emo”, the community is very welcoming and friendly. Everyone is out to have a good time and people actually do look after each other here. You can easily talk to people and make friends throughout your day. Just take the initiative and be respectful of others and the same respect will be reciprocated!

Hear a song you like? Dance! There are a handful of pop-punk bands where you can dance and sing along to!

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HAVE FUN AND ENJOY!

Mouthful of Air + Style

I had the opportunity to hang out at Air + Style this past weekend in Los Angeles, California. Air + Style is a two-day festival for skate, snowboard, music, art, and food hosted by Shaun White, the Olympic gold medalist. Tickets run for about $80-90 one day and $180 for the weekend. When it was closer to the date, there were tickets sold on Groupon for about half the price.

Although I was unable to go for both days, I was finally able to experience it on Sunday since the annual event first started in 2014. Here’s a recap of my day:

From Orange County, we left at around 3 PM and grabbed a bite on the way at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. We got the half chicken with mac and cheese and french fries. Also got fried pickles as an appetizer. The employees at Gus’s are SO NICE!

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After picking up the fried chicken and eating it in the car, we were on our way to Exposition Park in Los Angeles. We drove around to look for parking in the neighborhood but we had no luck. Parking was $25 per car, ouch.

Pro tip: Do not will call your tickets for this event if you can help it. You will be in line for 1 hour!

Food

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When you first enter, you are greeted with a few sponsors, one of which is Clif Bar. They were giving out baked Clif Bars! It smelled really nice with the blueberries. After getting our bars, we moved onto other things. There are a LOT of food stalls available to find food. Of course, the food is at festival pricing. Along with food booths, there are food trucks. Some of which are prominent in Los Angeles and Orange County, such as Ridges and Kogi.

In the alcohol department, there weren’t that many interesting choices. You can choose from shots of Smirnoff ($12), Don Julio ($14) and High West ($12). That will be three shots of Don Julio, please.

Music

There were 2 sides, Winter and Summer, where each side lies either the Winter Stage or the Summer Stage at the end of it. The atmosphere felt like a chill beach event with a lot of space to roam around. Although the venue was small, there were a few things I found to occupy my time.

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I was mostly there for the music and the snowboarding. I mainly wanted to just see Phantogram and Phoenix but sadly, I wasn’t able to stay that long to catch Phoenix. I also got to catch Tinashe, Washed Out, Griz and Gucci Mane. Tinashe wasn’t a very good performer, in my honest opinion. Washed Out was pretty good, this is the music I like. Griz was too trashy but I do enjoy the live saxophone. Last but not least, Gucci Mane… which I thought was just a bunch of mumbling. It sounded like he put his music in the background and tried to sing to it like how I would sing his song in the car. I wasn’t impressed.

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Other than the music, we went around to the booths to see what they were about. Every booth either had some freebies or some merchandise for purchase. There were some cool things you could do such as try to throw a cap on a bear for a free insulated water bottle or create your own tote bag.

Snowboarding & Skating

This year, there wasn’t big air which was lame. It was more of a skate style/freestyle type thing which I feel like you can just go to a skate park and watch. The area was so cramped that it was hindering their abilities and skill because I know the snowboarders are capable of so much more.

Art

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Art was happening all over the place at Air + Style. Artists were spray painting murals on walls and even cars. It made the place a lot livelier and we can appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. After all, earth without art is ‘eh’.

Overall, Air + Style is a nice event to have a feel for a little bit of everything. However, it feels a bit disorganized and I hope they step up their game if they would like to continue on with the event.

Splash House

Every year, there is a music event in Palm Springs, California called Splash House. The event takes place on a weekend in June and August for two days (Saturday and Sunday). Splash House is hosted between The Saguaro, The Riveria, and The Renaissance. To get from place to place you need to take a shuttle, which is included in your ticket. On Friday night, there is a pre-party at the Air Museum nearby.

Last year, I didn’t stay at one of the three hotels that were one of the stops for Splash House, however, I would recommend it (maybe next time). I stayed at Stardust Hotel near the Saguaro Hotel. It was cheap and good enough for what we needed it for. My friends and I got a 1 bedroom with 2 queens for about ~$300 total for 2 nights. It was decent but there were bugs EVERYWHERE, so you get what you pay for.

On Saturday morning we headed to get brunch in downtown. You can assume that every brunch place will have a MASSIVE line. We ended up at Pinocchio In The Desert and it was SO HOT that it was unbearable. The service was really bad and we waited about 45 minutes – 1 hour for our food. We ordered a burrito and a waffle, it shouldn’t have taken that long. The food was also mediocre at best, I would not recommend it. The only thing that brought everyone swarming to Pinocchio In the Desert is their bottomless mimosas for only $5! It was honestly too hot for us to drink and be okay with it so we opted out of it.

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After our disappointing brunch, we headed over to Great Shakes to get some shakes, where I got a Blueberry Hill (Blueberry, Lemon, Lavender). Make sure you check in on Yelp to get $1 off! There are many milkshakes to choose from so there’s bound to be one that you like.

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After we were fed and happy, it was time to get to Splash House and groove to some music. One thing you should expect when going to Splash house is the SEA of people that you will be among. There are all sorts of things in the pool that you aren’t aware of. We found empty beer cans, stilettos, pads, etc. Pretty disgusting if you ask me, so do not put your head down in the pool or drink any of the pool water.

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There are nearby bars where you can get your drink on. Mainly the reason why you want to get one of the rooms affiliated with Splash House is because you can go back to your room, refresh, and come back down to dance the day away again. My friend was hunting down one of these slushy drinks all day and we finally found them at The Saguaro.

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If you decide to get into the pool, which is difficult not to since it’s over 100 degrees, they have floaties available! No lifeguards on duty so try not to drown. If you had a little too much to drink, try to go on the shallow end. It would be embarrassing otherwise.

Pro tip: Invest in one of the waterproof bags to store your phone in. Those are a lifesaver because you really don’t have anywhere to put your phone and money that is safe from thieves.

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Splash House ends when the sun sets which is pretty early if you are still in the mood to party. My friends and I ended up heading back to our hotel at around 8 PM and got food instead. Keep in mind that in Palm Springs, everything closes super early. We made a to-go order at Smoke Tree BBQ to be picked up and my friend made it just in time before they closed at 9 PM. We got the family platter #2 (1 Rack Baby Back Ribs, 1 lb. Brisket, 1 lb. Pork, 2 Links, 1 lg. BBQ Beans, 1 lg. Greens, 1 lg. Okra) which was supposed to feed 4-6 people (there were only 4 of us) for $79.  I highly recommend eating here for lunch or dinner.

We decided 1 day was enough for us so we left on Sunday after brunch. From a recommendation from a co-worker, we headed over to The Tropicale. We were one of the first people here since it opens at 11 AM. At The Tropicale, you will get your daily dose of grumpy old people and complimentary coffee cake to start your day. A dish that was recommended here was the chicken and waffles. The chicken was dry and the waffles were nothing special. It is your typical, bland white people food. I would not recommend The Tropicale to have brunch, however, I heard their dinner is better. Who knows?

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After Splash House, we were on our way back home. We stopped by Cabazon to shop and rest. Well, there you have it! My experience at Splash House August 2017. Although Splash House was fun, I think it’s something I would only like to experience once in a lifetime.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions!

Steps to Purchasing Tomorrowland Tickets

So you want to go to Tomorrowland and don’t know where to start? Here is a guide of how I got to enjoy Tomorrowland 2014!

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Disclaimer: I’m unsure of how it all works nowadays. If things changed from 2014 until now, then I’m sorry I provided old information and tips.

Step 1: Register for the ticket sale. Have all of your friends register, even your friends that aren’t going register. Make sure you register a Tomorrowland Account during pre-registration, they DO close the registration, so make sure you do this ASAP! You won’t be able to register if you miss the pre-registration!

*The first 20 people that register from your country has the opportunity to get the guaranteed tickets (Good luck to the people in the USA!)

Step 2: Look at all of your options and determine which is best for you. Make sure you figure out how many people are going with you, how much you’re planning to spend (your budget), how you would like to be accommodated (hotel/hostel? camping? glamping?), and how would you like to spend your time traveling in Europe. All of these things are necessary to consider before any of the tickets and packages goes on sale.

You can choose to purchase a festival ticket OR go on the Global Journey. Global Journey packages are more expensive but they have accommodations such as plane/train/bus tickets, hotels, etc. Make sure to look at their website to see which packages they offer and if they are within your budget. Global Journey is a more likely way for you to get to Tomorrowland, as every package INCLUDES a Tomorrowland Ticket. If you do not wish to get the Global Journey packages or miss it and they sold out, your only option will be to purchase the Tomorrowland festival only tickets.

I was lucky enough to be included with a pretty big group full of friends of friends so we had a total of 10 people (and then some). We were trying to go straight for the Dreamville Friendship Camping, which is an area designated for only group camping (10 people in each spot).

Personally, I would REALLY recommend Dreamville camping because it’s where I met a majority of new international friends and it’s very convenient to be able to walk back and forth to the campsite to freshen up. I really did enjoy Dreamville Friendship Camping because it was a lot more organized than the regular Magnificent Greens (where you pick your own spot to pitch your tent). It seemed like there was a lot of people getting their tents and campsites trashed, broken into, and peed on with the regular one. It just really looked like a huge clusterfuck, tbh. If you do opt-in for this, make sure to choose your spot wisely (away from any walkways).

Step 3: Create your battle plan and know when the Tomorrowland ticket sale date is. After you confirm how many people are interested in going with you to Tomorrowland, decide which package or tickets you want to go for and make sure you set a reminder for the dates that it goes on sale. Be at your computer at LEAST 10 minutes prior to the ticket release time (I was sitting on standby at least an hour ahead of time but you don’t need to do this). I believe ticket sales start at the beginning of February (at least that’s when mine was).

Make sure you have a credit card with a high enough credit limit to purchase your package or tickets. Also, notify your bank if needed, that you will be purchasing something out of the country and they do not block the sale.

Step 4: Gather all of your friends. Increase your chances of getting Tomorrowland tickets, as it’s almost like winning the lottery (except you have to give money instead of getting money). You need to increase your chances by opening many different browsers (Chrome and Firefox are recommended) on your computer and having as many people help you purchase tickets as possible. We had all 10 of us plus other friends help us buy tickets. Everybody was on a 10-way phone call so we were able to update everybody on real-time who got in.

Every second counts! Make sure you are using a fast internet connection (nosmartphoness!) and you could increase your chances by going on multiple devices (other computers and laptops). My friends went for the Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi since we wanted to be extra careful and secure.

Step 5: Once someone gets in, make sure all of the information is inputted correctly. Once you’re in, be as concise and quick as possible. After the sale is confirmed, CONGRATULATIONS!! you can celebrate and then start planning for your trip to Tomorrowland. If you do not get a ticket, there are several of other options you can do – buy from a third party, go on the unofficial ticket exchange, or wait to try again next year! I would not recommend the first two as there is a possibility you could get scammed but if you’re desperate, I guess give it a shot? Be careful though!

Tomorrowland was a pretty life changing event and I was glad to be a part of the journey and experience. More about my experience in a later post! Stay tuned!

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Yesterday is History, Today is a Gift, Tomorrow is Mystery.

Have questions? Leave them down below in the comment box.