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Free yourself from the hassle of cash at festivals

One of the joys of summer are the many music festivals playing across the globe. If you’re hitting the festival circuit overseas, managing your money can be a headache.

A prepaid, multi-currency money card could be the easy answer. If you pack our Travel Money Card, for instance, you won’t have to worry about keeping an eagle eye on your cash.

two women smiling and laughing

All the fun of the festival

As soon as the temperature rises and the summer sun makes an appearance, you know it’s time to dig out the trusty tent and head off to a music festival.

As well as packing all the usual essentials, consider taking a prepaid currency card with you too. It’s an easy and safe way to carry your spending money, without the worry of watching your wallet.

Research by Tappit in 2021 found almost three-quarters (73%) of those attending festivals preferred to go cashless because of the speed and security of the transactions. And, as more and more of us opt for convenient ways to pay, that proportion’s likely to grow.

Here we’ll look at why using a prepaid currency card could be a great option for you, whether you’re heading to a festival in the UK or abroad.

A different way to pay at music festivals

Constantly checking your wallet or purse, or pockets full of loose change are no longer a worry if you use a card for payments at festivals.

The advantage of a prepaid card over a regular debit or credit card is you can store several currencies on it at any one time. Ideal if you’re planning on extending the festival season to overseas gigs.

The Post Office Travel Money Card, for instance, holds up to 22 currencies. It can be used to pay in euros in popular destinations like Spain, Portugal and Croatia, or in local currencies in places such as Norway and Sweden, which it also supports.

Some prepaid currency cards also offer the convenience of contactless payments. You can even add the Post Office Travel Money Card to Apple Pay and Google Pay™ – perfect if you’re budgeting through third party payment platforms. And, depending on your card provider, you may also be able to top up your card on the go online or through a mobile app.

Benefits of using prepaid currency cards at music festivals

So, how could a prepaid currency card help you at festivals this year?

  • Budgeting: a prepaid card can be loaded up with a specific amount of money, which can help you stick to a budget during the festival. Especially useful if you're trying to avoid overspending or only have a limited amount of cash.
  • Security: using a card can be safer than carrying cash, especially when the festival is crowded. Some cards aren’t linked to your bank account or credit line (though some are, so choose carefully). And some enable you to block them easily if they’re lost or stolen – reassuring when you’re in a foreign country. You can then transfer any remaining balance to a new card and carry on spending.
  • Flexibility: if you’d rather not take the physical card, many prepaid currency cards can now be added to your mobile device so that you can use them to make contactless payments. You’ll still benefit from the security of not carrying cash and have the safety net of the budget you’ve set when you preloaded your card.

Using a prepaid currency card at overseas festivals

Taking a prepaid currency card to music festivals abroad can offer a host of added benefits.

  • Currency flexibility: with a prepaid currency card, you can load different currencies onto the same card. This means you can use the card in multiple countries if you're attending festivals in different locations. You can also move funds between currencies, ideal if you’re hopping between different festivals in different countries.
  • Practicality: a prepaid currency card allows you to make purchases in the local currency without having to worry about exchanging cash. This can save time and hassle, as you won't need to look for currency exchange offices or cashpoints.
  • Cost-effective: if you choose your card carefully and only pay with it in countries whose currencies it supports, you can avoid foreign transaction fees you might face using a debit or credit card. But check the fees upfront, as some prepaid cards can work out more expensive. Being card smart may help you save on those festival buys.

Go cashless with our Travel Money Card

Looking after your money at music festivals

Although it’s easy to budget for the initial cost of tickets to a festival, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’re spending once you’re there.

Food and drinks can soon add up, and that’s before you’ve even looked at souvenirs and merch. And, in the excitement, your eye might stray from any cards or cash you’ve brought along, giving opportune thieves a chance to strike.

Here are a few tips to help you look after your money at music festivals:

  • Plan ahead and budget - It pays to plan your budget before you head off to your festival. Decide how much you're willing to spend on peripherals beyond the ticket price – food, drinks and memorabilia can all add up. Setting your spending limits before you go will help you stay on track financially during the festival.
  • Bring a little cash - Although a multi-currency card is a great way to manage your money, it’s also a good idea to carry a little cash with you too. That way, if your card’s declined or a vendor’s card reader can’t get a signal to connect, you can still pay for the essentials. Just keep cash to the barest minimum amount and safe in a hidden pocket or pouch.
  • Avoid cash machines - ATMs at music festivals are often have expensive extra charges. If you do need to withdraw some cash, do it before you go to the festival or at a cashpoint in a nearby town.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle - Water is expensive at music festivals. Bring a refillable water bottle so you can stay hydrated without breaking the bank.
  • Bring plenty of snacks - The cost of eating from onsite food stalls can really rack up. If you pack plenty of snacks, you may only need one big meal a day, cutting down on your spending.
  • Pace yourself - It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a music festival and drink too much. But drinking too much can lead to dehydration, hangovers, and other problems. Pace yourself and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Be aware of your surroundings - Pickpockets are common at music festivals. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close to you.
  • Most important of all - have fun - Music festivals are supposed to be fun, so don't let money issues ruin your experience. Spend wisely and enjoy the whole experience.

Key takeaways

How to get the most out of your festival experience:

  • Consider taking a multi-currency money card to cover your spending.
  • Always have a little cash to hand for emergencies.
  • Try to set your spending budget before you go.
  • Keep to your budget wherever possible, and avoid on-site ATMs.

Enjoy every minute without worrying about your cash

Common questions

  • You may have heard of prepaid currency cards referred to by another name. Others include prepaid travel cards, multi-currency cards, travel money cards, foreign currency cards or even forex cards.

    They’re all similar things: types of payment card you can load multiple currencies onto for use on your travels or for online purchases. You can pay in shops, restaurants and more anywhere the card is accepted. They’re a convenient and secure way to manage your foreign currency and spending needs without having to carry lots of cash.

    Read more about prepaid currency cards and how to use them

  • Here are a few things to do or keep in mind if you’re hitting the festival trail:

    • Decide on a plan of action
      Make sure you know when the festival starts and ends, when and where your favourite acts are performing, and the all-important weather forecast. Pack appropriately for the weather and the activities you'll be doing during the festival.
    • Stay hydrated
      Always drink plenty of water, especially if it's hot. Try to minimise alcohol and sugary drinks, as these can dehydrate you further.
    • Pack the essentials
      Comfy shoes, because you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet. Sunscreen and a hat to keep you protected. A portable charger to keep your phone powered up to capture all the excitement. And wet wipes are a necessity for those times when getting a shower is just not an option.
    • Bring snacks
      Food can be expensive at music festivals, so it's a good idea to pack your own snacks. Also bring along a water bottle so you can refill it throughout the day.
    • Be prepared for crowds
      Even the most boutique of festivals tend to draw big crowds, so be prepared for queues for everything from food stalls to toilets.
  • Packing for a music festival can be a bit tricky, as you want to make sure you have everything you need without being weighed down. Here are some essential items you should consider packing:

    • Practical clothing: British festivalgoers are seasoned practitioners in any-weather partying. Glastonbury is a prime example of how unpredictable the situation can be, with glorious sunshine followed by an unexpected downpour.

    Depending on the festival location and time of year, you may need to pack warm or cool clothing. Be sure to pack comfortable and lightweight clothes that you can move around in and won't weigh you down.

    If you’re going somewhere warm, you might only need a cagoule or foldable anorak. If you’re doing one on the Scandinavian circuit, something a bit warmer might not go amiss.

    • Sensible shoes: You’re going to be on your feet a lot, most likely dancing. Investing in a decent pair of shoes can save you a lot of pain. You won’t need full-blown hiking boots (especially as these won’t go with your festival outfits) but it’s better to have one pair of shoes you can wear throughout than use packing space on more. Lots of festivals have long walks between stages, so you don’t want to be in discomfort.

    Consider getting a cheap pair of decent trainers that you can chuck away when you get home. They might not have the best odour at this point, and festivals are famous for being a bit muddy. You don’t want to ruin your favourite shoes, after all.

    And think about whether you need to take wellies – they may prove your most valuable possession. You can buy pairs that can be hung from your backpack.

    • Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses: You could well be spending most of the daylight hours in more-or-less direct sunlight. A SPF30+ sunscreen, hat and sunglasses can help protect you all day long. Be sure to stay hydrated too – drinking in the heat and not staying hydrated with plenty of water can lead to one mighty hangover. Bring along a reusable bottle that you can refill with water throughout the day.
    • Power bank and phone: Your phone can be a lifeline at music festivals, so make sure to pack a portable charger to keep your phone charged. That way, you can keep track of schedules, communicate with friends, and take pictures.

    If you’re heading abroad, it’s also a good idea to pack a travel adaptor.

    • Head torch: There are few things more annoying than trying to navigate your way to a portaloo by moonlight or trying to fish that one clean pair of socks from the bottom of your bag blind. As well as the light on your phone, a head torch frees up your hands.
    • The right money mix: While you can use a multi-currency card to make purchases, it's still a good idea to bring some cash for small purchases and emergencies.
    • Ghic for all European festivals: A Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic) is a vital addition to good travel insurance and entitles you to necessary healthcare in all state hospitals in the EU. If you have an Ehic instead, check yours is still valid before you travel – they only last 5 years.
    • Tent and sleeping bag: If you plan on camping at the festival, be sure to pack a tent and sleeping bag. You can also consider bringing an air mattress or camping pad for added comfort.
    • Travel documents: If you’re heading overseas for your music festival, don’t forget important documents like a valid passport and copies of a travel insurance policy that covers the activities you’ll be doing.

    Overall, packing for a music festival requires some careful consideration of your needs and the festival's environment. Pack smart, stay comfortable, and have fun.

  • You don’t have to have travel insurance to attend music festivals, but it’s recommended if you’re attending them on your travels abroad. You may also need travel insurance for a UK break, during which you attend a music event.

    Travel insurance provides financial protection if unexpected events cause disruption to your plans and/or cause you financial loss.

    Music festivals often involve paying out for travel, accommodation and tickets, and unexpected events like flight cancellations, lost luggage and medical emergencies can cause headaches or worse.

    Taking out travel insurance can give you peace of mind these eventualities are covered. If you’re taking out a policy, check it provides adequate cover for trip curtailment, interruption and cancellation, medical expenses, lost, stolen or damaged belongings, and any activities you’ll be doing. Check your gadget insurance policy, if you have one, to see if it covers devices you’re taking with you. If not, you may be able to add gadget cover to your travel insurance to protect them. Then relax and enjoy the festival experience.

Get more out of your travels

  • Travel app

    Manage your travel money and insurance policy in one place.

  • Travel money

    Order your holiday money online for delivery or pick up in branch.

  • Travel insurance

    Insurance policies to suit your needs, from single-trip to annual cover.

Post Office Travel Money Card is an electronic money product issued by First Rate Exchange Services Ltd pursuant to license by Mastercard International. First Rate Exchange Services Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales with number 4287490 whose registered office is Great West House, Great West Road, Brentford, TW8 9DF, (Financial Services Register No. 900412). Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.