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Avoid Music-Festival FOMO; Learn from This Year's Lessons

Definition of music festival FOMO: Seeing all of your friends enjoy sunshine, music, and fun—without you.

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As music festival season comes to a close, we can all take a look back and reflect on the festival-planning mistakes we made: missing out on presale ticket prices, not booking a campsite or Airbnb in time; or perhaps you made the biggest mistake—not going to a music festival at all. You may have thought you weren't going to do another year of music festivals, but when your friends started posting hype statuses about Coachella, you start to (inevitably) feel left out.

Next season, avoid festival FOMO by reflecting on this year's mistakes and planning ahead. Here are five steps everyone who has experienced festival FOMO should consider before summer 2016.

Step 1: Identify Your "Must See" Festival

So, you really wanted to go to Burning Man this year, but by the time you wrangled a group together it was too late, and you got stuck hitting up Outside Lands (again). Outside Lands may be close to home and involve minimal planning, but Burning Man 2015 has some super-cool art structures, and you can feel some serious FOMO coming on.

Don't forget; part of the beauty of festival season is experiencing new scenes, subcultures, and vibes. So, don't get stuck attending the same festivals every year. Take the initiative, and pick your festival of choice now. It may seem early, but planning ahead will help make sure your summer is fun and completely new.

Step 2: Don't Miss Presale

If you're already planning nearly a year ahead, you need to take advantage of presale tickets. They're discounted, so if you're operating on a tight budget, it will ease the sting of how expensive festivals are. Check off major expensive items (like the tickets) early so you can refocus your savings on transportation, clothes, and other festival essentials. Once you've made the purchase, there's no turning back. You've successfully avoided FOMO, but you're not done yet.

Step 3: Don't Hesitate on Lodging

The most imperative part about being at a festival is knowing where you'll sleep at night. After a long day of music (and partaking in adult beverages), fighting a crowd for a ridiculously overpriced Uber is never fun. Find out if the festival you are attending offers camping. A tent is a perfect place to stumble back to after a long day and to get geared up for the next. If camping isn't your style, track down an Airbnb within walking distance, but act fast! Rooms near the festival grounds will fill up quickly.

Step 4: Preplan Your Outfit

When you're suffering from musical-festival FOMO, there's nothing worse than an Instagram feed full of well-dressed festivalgoers having way more fun than you are. If you're planning your festival season a year in advance, you have ample time to save for tickets, lodging, and fabulous festival outfits. And this year, you won't be scrambling to complete your outfits at the last minute! Start picking fun and unusual pieces throughout the year for a fully stacked festival-season closet. Then, when your Instagram opportunity presents itself, you'll be ready.

Step 5: Be a Music Guru

To impress your friends with your music-festival savvy, do some extra music sessions before the big week to really get to know the bands listed on the lineup. Everyone likes finding a hidden gem buried in the long list of acts, and a little research could turn you into the music superhero you've always wanted to be. That way, you'll know the stages you'd like to hit and the acts you have to see, including a few hidden gems your friends won't even recognize.

These five steps will make you a music festival pro, and the festival FOMO we've all experienced at one time, will be a feeling of the past.

Megan Wells

Megan Wells is data journalist and digital content editor based in San Francisco, California. Wells currently focuses on personal finance, mortgage, and lifestyle content. Wells' work has appeared in publications like Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, and Motley Fool. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women in Publishing conference.

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