If you’re even slightly into festivals, chances are you’ll have heard of Burning Man.
The festival of all festivals. I can confirm this is true.
Before I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2017, I vividly remember being absolutely clueless with what to expect from my time there. I headed into the Nevada desert with friends that had been going for years, yet nothing they said or told me prepared me for what I experienced.
I genuinely don’t think anything can ever prepare you for the Burning Man experience, which is what makes it the absolute adventure of a lifetime.
Going to Burning Man though, as i’m sure you’ve gathered, isn’t a straight forward festival. It’s not cheap, it’s in the middle of the Nevada desert and it’s not something (unless you’ve been before or have friends in the know) that you can just whip together last minute. For Burning Man, you need a plan.
I created a Complete guide to attending Burning Man and The ultimate packing and shopping list after my first Burn in 2017 but now that I’ve been again, I’m ready to share some more specifics and some new guides with you.
See my reaction to Burning Man 2017 in a video here.
So let’s get stuck into the first big question.
Honestly, it depends on so many different factors and there’s certainly no ‘one shoe fits all’. How much you’ll spend depends on things like:
What I’m going to do in this blog post is take you through all the costs I incurred on my adventure from London to Burning Man 2019. Then, you can adjust and use your imagination to apply it to yourself and your circumstances!
Here we go…
If you’re travelling internationally to the Burning Man Project, the first thing you’ll need to consider is flights into the USA. The closest airport to the festival is Reno but often (like I do) people fly into LA or San Francisco and then catch a ride with friends / hire a car to drive out to the festival. It’s worth considering your accommodation options before booking a flight as, if you hire an RV for the week, you may need to pick it up from one of the major cities and drive it out. However if you’re just joining friends at the festival and they’ve got it all sorted, it would make more sense to fly to Reno.
I flew out from London to SFO a week before the Burning Man (20th August) and then returned 10 days after on the 10th September.
My flights cost me £540 return ($700USD ish).
General sale ticket price this year was $425 per person, that’s if you can get one! There are other sale options to consider including: low-income ticket sale, FOMO sale, OMG sale. See all ticket options and release dates here.
On top of that every vehicle / camper van / RV that enters Burning Man needs a vehicle pass which will cost you $100USD and is available to purchase when purchasing your ticket. Great news here, you’ll probably be splitting that with the people in your car / RV. So let’s say $25 USD.
Total = $450
Okay this where it gets juicy, and really hard to give you an exact figure.
The main accommodation options you have for Burning Man are:
Honestly, I speak from experience. Having AC is actually LIFE at Burning Man. The place comes alive at night and so you’ll most likely be needing at least a few sleeps in the day and if you have a tent / van with no AC in the midday desert heat… it’s painful. It’s doable but I certainly had a much better experience actually getting some solid zzz’s this year.
The cheapest, best option is of course if you have friends that will let you borrow their van / car / RV. That’s what you want to aim for as rental companies charge a premium on top of standard hire charges during the weeks of Burning Man. Honestly, you won’t be able to hide the fact you’ve taken it there. The dust gets EVERYWHERE. RV / car rental companies also charge a high deposit and you will have to forfeit that if you don’t bring it back in the same condition. Be careful!
The prices for RV’s / vans / cars will depend upon when you make the booking. The earlier you plan and book it the better. If you leave it until closer to the time, availability will be low and prices will be high. You’re getting the jist now – Burning Man requires planning.
– A HEXAYURT WITH AC AND A GENERATOR
Our set up was pretty legit this year. We borrowed a friends HexaYurt, bought an AC, plugged into our friends generator and filled it with blankets, sleeping bags and fold upmattresses.
No idea what a HexaYurt is? There’s a great article on all your options here.
– A UHAUL
If going for a HexaYurt / tent, you’ll still need to factor in the costs of transport out to Black Rock City. You’ll need a vehicle that can carry you, your friends and your yurt / tent equipment.
– COSTS AFTER BURNING MAN
My total costs for accommodation and transport = $518 dollars
Note: This excludes the cost of a Hexayurt as we didn’t actually have to buy one. Your costs here could be significantly different depending on your choices.
Total = $900
Other costs to consider when going to Burning Man:
This is based on all details above and on a guest that is coming from London. I had the fortunate advantage of having friends out in SF that could lend favours to save costs and that put me up for the days before and after Burning Man. Of course this cost could vary hugely to yours depending on your choices but it gives you a guide and structure to cost your trip out!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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