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The First-Timer's Guide to Enjoying Burning Man to the Fullest

The First-Timer's Guide to Enjoying Burning Man to the Fullest

Burning Man is a unique gathering in Black Rock, Nevada, for the purposes of inviting people to experience a setting of freedom through expression, art, and community. It’s an undeniably different environment than what most newcomers are used to, so it’s good to get an idea of what you’re in for and prepare in advance before you head out. Take a look at these handy tips to help you enjoy your first Burning Man experience to the fullest.

Get There Early

One key thing to remember is that tons of other people will be on their way to enjoy Burning Man at the same time you are. If you don’t plan ahead, this can seriously put a damper on the beginnings of your first-time experience by getting things off to a slow and frustrating start. Your best bet is to get an early start in order to avoid traffic, and that means you need to leave very early. The weekends preceding and following the festival experience heavy traffic on the highways surrounding the Reno-Sparks and Lake Tahoe area. In fact, it's not unusual for traffic to come to a complete standstill. Make sure you keep up with traffic reports and be prepared to adapt.

Bring Your Own Supplies

One of the ten core principles of Burning Man is decommodification. That means a complete absence of stores, vendors and traditional purchases. Bartering is acceptable at Burning Man, allowing you to potentially trade for something if you have to, but it’s even better to bring things that you and others might need instead. You should bring your own food, shelter, tons of water and other basic supplies to Burning Man in order to uphold the principle of radical self-reliance. It’s ideal for you to bring extras, when feasible, to share with others in the spirit of community too. In the midst of packing all your necessities, don’t forget to bring supplies for creating and giving gifts. Gift-giving is a signature part of the Burning Man experience and is completely different from bartering. Never expect a gift in return, and give without expectations.

Prepare for the Sun

Burning Man takes place on a desert playa, which means that there is absolutely zero natural shade. Take care not to forget this during your first time there. Sunscreen is a must as is that hefty supply of water mentioned earlier. Some other essentials to bring for sun protection are a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses. You’ll also want to bring some airy, comfortable clothing to keep the sun off your skin. Bringing a pop-up shade structure is an excellent idea too. Not only will the refreshing shade of your tent provide you with a much-needed break from the hot sun, but it’ll welcome others to relax with you and enable you to reach out to the community around you.

Burning Man is described by many as the experience of a lifetime, offering an amazing opportunity to enjoy a sense of community and participate in living art. In order to enjoy Burning Man to the fullest, plan ahead to get there early and avoid the traffic that can put a damper on your spirits. Bring plenty of supplies so that you can remain self-reliant. And don’t forget to prepare for the sun!

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