Hello dear burner-to-be,
Before reading this article, I definitely recommend that you read our article Burning Man – What’s It Like, What’s Happening, because in order to understand the preparations mentioned here, you first need to know how it works. We will base the preparations we describe here on the information we share on the other side.
Let’s start with the most basic question: How do we find tickets?
1. Burning Man Tickets
Our first job for Burning Man preparations was to follow the sales schedule of the tickets. Tickets go on sale gradually. They try to improve the ticketing system every year, so the stages may change. This was the final version this year, but keep in mind that it may change in the coming years.
1. Group Sale
If I’m not mistaken, this practice was started for the first time this year. First, tickets were sold to camps at Burning Man. The purpose of this is to give priority to the groups that keep this place alive and beautify. Some have incredible investments; art cars, facilities, decorations etc… They sold their tickets to the camps without first opening them to the public so that these people would not be left out. After all, they are the ones who kept Burning Man alive. It is said that 50,000 tickets were sold in this way. $425 each + service charges. That’s around $480.
2. Main Sale
– Ticket sales for the event, which is the end of August, opened in April.
– In order to get a ticket, you had to create a profile for yourself in Burning Man’s system.
– A person could buy a maximum of 2 tickets.
– The fee was still around $480.
– Also, if you are coming with your car, you need to buy a vehicle pass for $100
– They only accept Mastercard and Visa.
– In addition, you could only shop once with the same card.
– This year, 23,000 tickets were sold in this way.
They warned us beforehand, you have to go to the system when the sale is opened, otherwise you can’t buy it. Despite the fact that we queued in seconds and waited 3 hours at the computer, unfortunately we could not get them, the tickets were exhausted. You are really competing with milliseconds.
3. Additional Ticket Sales
Few more tickets were sold in July. Those who wanted to buy tickets signed up for Burning Man’s system between July 24 and 26, and sales were made on the 31st. Tickets on this tour sold for $550.
4. Ticket Transfer
This was one of the innovations this year: They set up a system where people who bought tickets before but were unable to return their tickets back to Burning Man. Ticket seekers provided their credit card information to the system, and the system automatically matched those who registered first with the returned tickets. We licked our palms in this too.
We could not find tickets for any of these tours. Oktay was also looking for tickets from his Burning Man circle, but nothing came of it. It was only a few weeks now and we had given up hope. We even put work and a trip on those dates. Then we woke up with a wonderful message from Oktay on our Whatsapp: A friend couldn’t go and we could buy their tickets from him at the normal price! This is the only way we could find tickets.
You know, finding tickets is extremely difficult. Especially if you don’t have a partner or friend in America…
Important : You buy your tickets online, but unfortunately they do not send you your ticket digitally. Your ticket is sent to you by mail. In other words, send it to a place where it is unlikely to be stolen / lost. Even if you have proof of purchase, you cannot enter if you do not have the ticket itself.
Other Ways to Find Tickets
Low Income Tickets – There are discount ticket programs to include people of different income levels. 210 USD each. You must apply in April. Apply in April.
Volunteering – You can get free tickets by volunteering to work for a certain hour (I think 60) at Burning Man.
Black Market – Some people try to buy tickets to sell on the black market even though they won’t go. For example, a Berliner we met on our flight to America paid $1200 for a Burner ticket. A friend of hers is $1700! This is one of the things that Burning Man is most worried about, because one of the biggest principles of Burning Man is to move away from the meta, they do not want the ticket itself to be turned into a commodity. Do not feed these opportunists by buying from the black market. You may also find yourself at Burning Man’s door with a fake ticket that the scanners don’t read.
So, what other expenses will we have? Have a glass of cold water ready, because we are only at the beginning of the costs.
2. Total Cost of Going to Burning Man
We were very lucky because Burning Man was a friend’s wedding gift to us and he did a lot of the preparations for us. Couldn’t have imagined a better gift, thank you so much.
– Standard ticket: $450
– Vehicle Pass: $100
– Camp fee: I will not tell you what the camping fee is again, as I assume that you have read the article we mentioned above. Let me tell you, it’s not the rent you pay for the space for the reading slackers. The cheapest camps start from $120-150 per person and go up to 2000 depending on the content of the camp. But if we’re talking about plug-and-play camps, it’s $10,000.
– Accommodation: Caravan starts from 5000 USD per week / Shiftpod from 800-1300 USD / Tent starts from 40 and there are tents up to 1000 dollars.
– Airfare: It is planned to include Burning Man Labor Day, which is a public holiday in America. So plane tickets are more expensive than usual. The nearest airport is in Reno, Nevada.
– Car rental & petrol
– Car wash: $100
– Clothes: If you are going to rent, it is around 500 lira per person. If you are going to buy it, there is no end…
– Food: Drink: It depends on how much the person eats and what he eats. We spent $120 per person for our 1 week meal.
– Bicycle: $100
– Gifts: We brought 500 evil eye beads from Turkey to distribute to people. We also planned to fill two water guns with sunscreen and offer them to people. It cost 350 TL. But something much smaller or much larger can also be made.
TOTAL: Generally, there is a cost between 1300 and 5000 USD per person (excluding the plane).
3. Do you attend Theme Camps?
Theme camps in Burning Man, survival units here and your family. You live together, eat together, party together, and work together. Attending a camp has many benefits and responsibilities. To find out what’s in these camps, how things work, and how to join them, read our article on Camps at Burning Man .
Since our friend had been to Burning Man for years, he was already in a camp and we were able to be added to his camp. In this way, we had common areas such as the kitchen and living area, a meal we prepared and ate together every evening, a bar where we handed out pickle juice and whiskey every day as a gift, and a moisturizing mask party. We didn’t have an Artcar.
Of course, all these preparations had a cost. Alongside obvious costs such as meals, there were also less visible costs such as transporting and storing camping gear. When all common expenses were divided per person, the camping fee was around 190 dollars, but another friend’s was 2000 dollars per person.
Each camp decides how much preparation it will make. Ours was one of those minimal camps where the only meal shared was usually something simple like pasta and salad. But some camps had 3 meals with open buffet. We had neither a generator nor a refrigerator. There were also camps that brought their own toilets and refrigerators and even had air conditioning. Some camps bring their own toilets, set up their own showers, create fresh and waste water tanks, etc. The larger the package, the higher the costs.
4. Year-Long Preparations of the Camps
It is not necessary to attend a camp to come to Burning Man. You can come by yourself and pitch a tent here, but it’s much more challenging. It’s also really nice to share this experience with other camp members.
If you are involved in a camp or are planning to do an art / event yourself, a preparation period spanning a year awaits you. As you know, Burning Man consists of events and performances organized by the participants. It’s part of the gift culture here. That’s why the camps allocate a lot of budget and time for the gift they will give to the Burning Man family.
For example, I think Artcars camps are one of the best gifts given to Burning Man. I think that had a huge impact on making Burning Man a magical place. But this is also an important investment. Most Artcars are created by modifying vehicles. They need to buy a vehicle and set up a workshop to modify it. The camps organize other gifts in addition to artcar. It could be something as simple as building an ice castle in the middle of the desert or teaching chess or braiding someone’s hair.
In order to fund these expenses, camp members organize various found rasing activities such as parties, BBQs and bazaars throughout the year. Of course, you are expected to take part in these as a member of the camp. But from the other side of the ocean, it is not possible of course. Instead, you can offer to support your camp in terms of funding or by working harder than anyone else at Burning Man.
In addition to these collective works, you make the preparations after this point yourself:
5. Are You Ready for Burning Man?
Caravan – Of course, nothing has the comfort of a caravan. It is especially good to have a bathroom and a kitchen because it stores the waste water on its own. Also, if you bring a generator, you can use the built-in air conditioner. 30% of Burning Man attendees prefer caravans, but rental companies exaggerate prices during Burning Man, weekly rental fees start at $5,000. Our friend Oktay had an Airstream and we had the luxury of sheltering in his trailer when it got too hot.
Shiftpod – Your second best alternative is a kind of dormitory made of materials produced by NASA called the shiftpod. You can stand up in it, it is very spacious (it has one room in the house) and its insulation overwhelms the tent. Installation is incredibly easy. Our friend Oktay has his own trailer and he arranged a shiftpod for us. We had a huge air mattress inside, it was incredibly comfortable. We recommend.
Tent – Your least comfortable and most economical option is, of course, a tent. Tent is a challenging yet broadcast option for Burning Man.
The nights are cold in the desert. A quilt or a well-warming sleeping bag is a must.
5.2 Water & Water Containers
– You have to bring all the water you will need for drinking, cleaning, etc. 1 gallon (6 liters) per person per day is recommended, but it was not enough for us. I think my daily minimum should be 8 liters.
-Remember that you have to take back your unused clean water and waste water yourself. Those who do not have communal showers or a waste water storage system in their camp usually bring an inflatable pool and shower in it. Some of the water evaporates, but most remains. You pack it and take it back with you. If you leave a can of water outside at noon, it heats up in a few hours. So you will not have a hot water problem.
– When leaving the camp, you have to leave with 2-3 liters of water with you. We took CamelBack, we were very comfortable, but there are also different flasks.
– Also, you should always carry a glass that will not break (for example, metal) in your bag. There are lots of drinks and beverage offerings around, but you have to bring your own glass.
– If you run out of water while you are in the play, make sure to return to the camp and fill it up, no matter how far you are. Playa sand has a feature like absorbing water from the human body. You can experience dehydration without even realizing it.
– You have to take all your meals with you. We usually brought easy-to-prepare things like instant soup and chili. But almost every moment of the day, there is a treat at a camp.
– If you are coming from the direction of SFO, we recommend that you buy your groceries in Reno, the last major city before Burning Man. Thus, you delay putting ice in the cooler.
– If you are not staying in a camp with a communal kitchen, you should also take with you equipment such as a stove, pot, dishes.
Important: There is a lot of traffic going in and out of Burning Man. Sometimes a day passes in the queue. That’s why we say think of your food and water as +2 days. Make sure you have the kind of food and water that can be consumed in the car.
5.4 Cooler & Ice
– 10 days is a long time to live in canned food. Of course, people also want to eat fresh vegetables and fruits. If you fill a good cooler with ice, it keeps it cold for up to 5 days. You can find packs of ice in all major supermarkets in America. Our recommendation is to put the ice packs in the cooler without opening them. This way they last a little longer.
– The only 2 things you can buy at Burning Man are ice and tea and coffee. You see that the ice in the cooler is melting, you can buy a new one.