We’ve talked a lot about what to do in this guide, now let’s spend some time addressing what not to do. These are some especially tough lessons many of us have learned from previous burns. We pass them on to you in the hopes that you can avoid some of our mistakes.
Waiting Until the Last Minute
Procrastination. We’re all guilty of it from time to time. That said, we can’t urge you enough to see planning for Burning Man as a several month process. Don’t save everything until August. You’re already on the right path by reading this guide.
Not Asking for Help
Whether before or during the burn, we can all get embarrassed about asking for help. We all started somewhere, and we all had a first trip to Burning Man, many of us with lots of people supporting our efforts to prepare. We’re here to help, especially our Ambassadors. All you need to do is ask, and no question is dumb.
Not Getting to Know Campmates in Advance
Many camps have a series of meetings before heading off to Burning Man. Many also have projects they’re working on as a group in the months leading up to Burning Man. Don’t skip these! Get to know your campmates. Help out with the projects. You’ll have a much more enriching experience if you do.
Not Paying Attention to Federal Laws
Sure marijuana is legal for recreational purposes in Nevada, but Burning Man takes place on federal land where this isn’t the case. Spend some time learning about what is and is not legal at Burning Man. Learn the best ways to interact with law enforcement on the playa and prepare yourself in advance.
Giving Up on Tickets After the Main Sale
Getting tickets to Burning Man is a process, sometimes with many steps. Too often, folks strike out in the Main Sale and punt going to next year. But, as you can see in our Tickets article, there are many ways to get tickets. Perseverance is key. As a group, we don’t know anyone who really wanted to go to Burning Man, worked at it, and didn’t eventually get a ticket.
Bringing Moopy Costumes
Glitter. Feathers. Fur. Paper mache. We’ve all spent time on our hands and knees picking up tiny pieces of moop in our camps as we’re trying to get packed up to leave. Please leave these things at home. It’s just too much work to clean up after them.
Not Helping Enough
Burning Man is a pretty magical place, and it’s impossible to see it all. But don’t forget about your camp. Don’t be the person helping out the least. Be the person helping out the most. This is the best way to get invited back over and over again (and have a much easier time getting tickets).
Being a Burden on Others
Bring more food, water, and gear than you need. Overdo it on sleep and taking care of yourself. Take half first. Leave a margin for error and safety. Everyone goes out to Burning Man for vacation…to have a good time. Don’t make others have to spend their vacation taking care of you. Be ready to take care of others instead.
Underestimating the Desert
The desert is no joke, and at least one person dies at Burning Man almost every year. Don’t ignore the elements, but plan for them instead. Alway take water and sun protection with you. Know that art pieces and mutant vehicles that people like to climb on aren’t always built for safety. Know your limits. We want you to come home in one piece with a bunch of great stories to tell.
So you’ve almost made it all the way through this guide. You’re excited about going to Burning Man. What are the Next Steps? Our final article answers this question.
(Background photo by Sean Gabriel)