If you don’t know what the Burning Man is, it’s an annual week long art festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert (also known as the ‘playa’). Tens of thousands of people gather to create Black Rock City, a temporary community dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.  If you’re thinking of going to this unique event, here is a survival guide to help make sure you are prepared and know what to expect.

burning man

What to expect

Attending the Burning Man festival is like going to a different planet. You will be in a hot dusty desert surrounded by peaceful, unique, friendly people who all have a culture of their own. The desert will be filled with incredible art, including art cars, people dressed as characters, art installations, techno music and much more. As this festival encourages self-expression you will meet and see a lot of out-there people, you must also be prepared to see quite a lot of nudity. People either camp out in tents or caravans and most people ride decorated bikes to get around. You must also leave no mess behind. They have a “leave no trace’ mantra, which means once everyone leaves there is not a trace you were there. 

What to pack  

You’re going into the desert so you will need to make sure you pack lots of water, sunscreen, a hat, loose clothing and plenty of costumes (literally anything goes). The nights can get a bit cooler so make sure you take some jackets. You’ll also need to take food, toiletries (pack wet wipes/baby wipes - the festival version of a shower), goggles (to protect your eyes from the dust storms), garbage bags, flash lights and spare batteries, a tent or other shelter , first aid kit and of course your ticket! Some things you don’t need to pack are: cash, mobile phone and good clothes.

burning man

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do come prepared- you don’t have to get it all right but make sure you have done your research and got your basic necessities. Don’t rely on the generosity of others.
  • Do participate - this is a weeklong event full of experiences. Make sure you soak up as many as you can while there. Embrace the culture and challenge yourself.
  • Do put the camera down - don’t try and document everything you see. Enjoy it for what it is and immerse yourself in the culture. Set aside sometime during the day, maybe 20 minutes to capture the moments. But make sure if you are going to take pictures of anyone you ask first.
  • Do get some sleep - it is tempting to stay up and party the night away but your body does need a break. Figure out what you really want to do and plan time to sleep. 
  • Do give and receive - generosity is a big thing at Burning Man. It can be hard to decide what to gift but it can be anything from free hugs, a compliment, massages, alcohol or whatever else you want.

burning man

Key dates for 2017

  • March 22 – Ticket sale registrations open
  • March 29 – Tickets on sale
  • August 27 to September 4 - Burning Man Festival

One last thing to remember when going to the Burning Man festival, keep an open mind and positive attitude. Make sure you are prepared and don’t forget about your travel insurance! 


Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only. We do not provide any advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the Policy Wording (available before deciding about this insurance.