13 Survival Tips for Your First Time at Sziget Festival + Packing List

Looking for tips for Sziget Festival?

I’ve written a few posts about my experience at Sziget, so anything you want to know, you’ll find it here. Consider my blog your official Sziget Festival guide in fact. 

I spent a week at Sziget and had a brilliant time, despite the crazy weather the year I was there. We really didn’t know what to expect before I went so I wanted to put together this Sziget survival guide so you can prepare for all events, and know what to expect. 

Genuinely, I was like Simba in the ravine on my first day at Sziget, there were people coming at me from everywhere. I couldn’t quite get my head around the Sziget payment system and I definitely hadn’t had as much to drink as some of the people I saw strewn around the site.

As I got to know the festival and people had obviously got over the excitement of arriving at Sziget, I got in the swing of things. I want to help you avoid that initial WTF? stage and get straight in there to the good vibes and great feelings I ended up getting from the festival.


If you’re looking for a Sziget Packing List, scroll to the end.


Your Sziget Survival Guide

Tips for Sziget Festival

^ Line up for Sziget Festival 2019 ^

1. Dress for warm, cold and rain

Sziget Festival tips

The temperature suddenly drops in the evening and you’re going to want something warm, no matter what the weather was like in the day. During the week I was at Sziget it rained (torrentially), was scorching hot, freezing cold and at time just ‘nice’. Pretty much like being in England actually.

Make sure you bring some spare clothes – a long sleeved top / tights – to keep you warm at night. Even if you’re not cold at the festival I can guarantee you’ll want it for walking home. 

READ MORE: What to Wear to Festivals


When is Sziget Festival? 

In 2019 Sziget Festival runs from Wednesday, 7 August to Tuesday, 13 August.


2. Don’t stress about money

Thanks to the exchange rate into Hungarian Forints the price of things is confusing at Sziget.

My advice would be just to hand your Sziget payment card over and be done with it. If you think too much into all those zeros you will literally blow your own mind. All the drinks are around the same price – cheap.

If you want super cheap go local (beer and unicum), and stick with pizza for the best satiation for your forint.

3. Take trainers or CAT boots

Sziget Festival tips

Even when it was raining it was too hot for wellies. I ended up wearing trainers every day, despite taking an array of planned flip flops for a few reasons:

  • Too many people in an enclosed space is not good for your toes.
  • Some areas were really muddy.
  • You’re standing around a lot.
  • It was cold at night.
  • They’re comfy and protective.

I guess if you’re camping at Sziget Festival you can be a bit more relaxed with your footwear, as you can keep spares at the tent. If you’re staying in the city, like I did, then you’ll only want to bring one pair of shoes to the festival. I’d recommend hiking boots.


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Sziget Festival first time


4. You can smuggle in booze

Apart from the first day they seemed pretty chill on the door, although they did have a quick glance in my bag to show willing. You can definitely smuggle in a hipflask or two, or try one of my many other ways to smuggle booze into a festival. So long as you didn’t have crates of the stuff they didn’t seem to mind.

More on Sziget Festival

My First Day at Sziget Festival

Top 10 Things to Do at Sziget Festival 

How to Use the Payment Card at Sziget

My Review of Sziget Festival

Check out the Food at Sziget Festival

5. You can pre drink right up to the gate

Sziget Festival tips

The route from the tram to the entrance gate was littered with people knocking back drinks. Although from what I heard and what I suspect, not many Brits were involved. For us, the drink inside was so cheap it wasn’t worth it.

For the Hungarians however, the drinks were four-fold the prices they were used to.

This is just what I was told and to be honest, since I went the whole Brexit bollocks has kicked off so it’s probably all the more expensive now. 

Either way, Sziget Festival alcohol will be cheaper than in England, but obviously it’s even cheaper to pre drink. 


Where is Sziget Festival? 

Sziget Festival location is:  It is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary, on Óbudai-sziget (“Old Buda Island”), a leafy 108-hectare (266-acre) island on the Danube.


6. You don’t have to camp

Yes, camping is fun and you’re definitely deeper in on the festival action, but there’s so much cheap accommodation in Budapest you really don’t have to put yourself through this.

Trust me, I love camping, but I really don’t think I could’ve done the 8 nights at Sziget. With the whole spectrum of weather to deal with, the 415,000 people and the crammed in feral tents… no thanks.

If you do camp though make sure you pick somewhere in the shade with some cool neighbours. The people you meet at Sziget will make or break it!


Watch the official Sziget aftermovie from last year


Or, you could try VIP camping. It’s around 200 euros and you get a swimming pool, easy access to showers and toilets, apparently don’t have to queue for anything and the bar is private. You’ll get a wristband and need it to access the site.

Instead of camping at Sziget Festival, I got an apartment with my friend in Buda. It was £10 each per night and door to door from the festival it was 30-40 minutes. Public transport runs all night during Sziget Festival. 

Some of our friends pitched a tent at the Sziget site, which they said was still 40 minutes from the main stage. The crafty fellas also got a cheapo apartment in town though, so depending on how their night went, they could choose where to sleep.

GENIUS! 

READ MORE: Beauty Tips for Festivals

7. The food is brilliant

tips for Sziget Festival

You don’t have to worry about taking camping equipment to cook, or anything like that. The food at Sziget was plentiful and cheap, for Brits coming from the pound anyway. It might be nice to have a few cereal bars and dried fruit, but you can easily get into Budapest for cheap supplies. The nearest supermarket would be about 20 minutes on the tram, or there’s one on site too.

Top tip: don’t try and eat between 6-8pm from the festival stalls, it all gets a bit crazy at feeding time. Tell your stomach it can wait another few hours.

Sziget food and drink prices: cheap!

Phwoooarrr, Check Out the Food at Sziget Festival!

8. Everyone is really friendly

As I said, at first I was overwhelmed by the people but I soon got to realise it was a really friendly festival. People are here from all over the world – usually with their patriotic flag across their back – and everyone just wants to have fun.

Chat to people, be nice, make friends, don’t get angry with pushing people at the main stage and you’ll have a great old time.

The key to this Sziget festival guide, as in any festival, is just don’t be a dick. We’re all here to have a good time so don’t spoil it for anyone!

9. Don’t just stay at the main stage

Sziget Festival tips

Around 75% of my Sziget was spent at the main stage but it was actually when we went about off-piste that we had the most fun. We wanted to see a lot of the headliners, that’s cool, but the main stage was just so, so busy you couldn’t enjoy being in with the crowd.

When we went to the Stonehenge Stage, the Irish Stage or the Village Stage we had a great time dancing around to whatever it was they were playing up there. I’d definitely recommend you get out more.

There are different workshop and dance / theatre / circus performances during the day and night. There are also random pop-up stages around the island as well, probably around 20-30 different types of program venues.


cool things to do in budapest


Tips for Sziget Fetsival

10. Take a look around in the day

This is something I would’ve liked to do more of, and I guess is one of the few benefits of camping. There’s a whole schedule of cool stuff going on in the day time. Unfortunately the earliest I ever managed to make it in was about 4pm for the bands. If I went again I’d definitely try to make the most out of this.

11. Time your visit to the Sky Bar well

tips for Sziget Festival

The Sziget Sky Bar goes 50m above the ground, giving awesome views to be enjoyed with a cocktail of your choice. If you want to give it a go, you need to time it well. Thankfully for us we just caught the end of the Outkast set, but the people behind us would’ve gone up there to see, nothing.

Top Sziget Festival tip for you: make sure there’s going to be something to watch when you’re up there! 


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tips for sziget festival


12. Buy the Sziget-Budapest Citypass

With all the tram travel I did, and the Budapest activities during and after the festival I definitely would’ve saved money by getting this. You can buy the pass for 2 or 13 days and it covers all transport, discounted spa and beach entrance, free shuttles passes, free boat passes and other discounts throughout Budapest too. The Sziget-Budapest Citypass starts from 19 euros.

READ MORE: The Coolest Things to Do in Budapest

13. Learn some Hungarian

cool things to do in budapest

Just knowing a few words seemed to work wonders with the bar staff. They’ve got a tough job behind the bar trying to work out what all the different nationalities want from them. Showing some sort of effort to communicate in their language was appreciated, or at least the probable mispronunciation made them smile.

  • Two beers – két sört
  • Two wines – két bor
  • Please – kérem
  • Thank you –  köszönöm
  • Cheers – Egészségedre!
  • Goodbye – búcsú

Stay in Budapest after, it’s awesome!


Packing list for Sziget Festival

A few people have asked me what they need to take to Sziget. Backpack space is tight for festivals, especially if you’re travelling abroad and your kit list for Sziget needs to be streamlined. 

Of course the easiest plan is to wear the same thing all week, but I guess that’s not really practical. Let me help you with Sziget packing tips below.

Sziget essentials

Your ticket – there’s no way to get in without it! Also, bring ID. 

Money and bank card – there are ATMs at Sziget Festival but make sure you have some on you to get by. You’ll be using the Sziget bank card while you’re there, and you can top this up with your card. So, make sure your card works before you leave your home country.

Light and nifty tent – try this light pop up tent from Amazon. Every year there’ll be a reminder to not bring too big a tent, but you need a decent one for the bad weather. Yes, bad weather. The year I went to Sziget Festival it absolutely chucked it down with rain. Make sure to buy a good tent for Sziget if you want any sort of comfort. 

Glastonbury tent

Cosy sleeping bagthis cosy Mummy sleeping bag is only £9.99 and has 4/5 stars from 75 people on Amazon. Bargain! Whether it’s raining or not, it’ll still be quite warm in Budapest so you don’t need an OTT expensive one.

Sziget festival packing list

Summer clothes – you need to pack for the August summer heat! 

And winter clothes – you need to have nice, cosy jumpers for the evening and night. Sziget is a 24-hour festival and you don’t want to be the party pooper who goes home cold, do you? Tights and leggings are a great day to night warm up – so add that to your festival checklist ladies, and men, and non-binary… 

Hiking boots – depending on how wet the ground is you might just be ok in trainers but if rain is predicted for Sziget then I’d definitely recommend taking hiking boots. With so many people walking on wet ground it’ll get churned up very quickly. There are loads of great priced hiking boots on Amazon to choose from. 

Check out my post on the Best Footwear for Glastonbury – the tips are the same for Sziget!

Toothbrush and paste – one of the very few ways to stay fresh, and the easiest. There is a kind of ‘corner shop’ at Sziget, so you can pick up a few essentials, but it’s always best to take them with you, and bring home again. 

festivals enamel mug

Enamel mug – enamel mugs are great for festivals. You can use them to help clean your teeth, to drink out of, and to eat cereal and soup of too. Definitely stick one of them on your Sziget packing list. Take a look at the many, many enamel mug designs they have on Amazon.

Sun cream – even if it rains it’ll still be hot in Budapest in August so pack some sun cream and take it round with you. 

Rain mac that fits in your bag – pick up a cheap rain mac from Amazon. These ones start at just £1.99 each from Amazon. Or, take a better quality one to keep you warm. 

More essentials for Sziget Festival

Toilet roll – take some toilet roll or a little packet of tissues to Sziget, especially for the toilet situation. 

Baby wipes – you definitely need some baby wipes. Great for the toilet, for cleaning your tent, yourself, your face, and just to have around. The best way to stay clean at festivals in fact!

Packing list for Glastonbury

Hand sanitiser – Sziget Festival = grime. This one is a spray too so you can give the toilets a quick going over before you park your bum. Please take hand sanitiser


– More on How to Avoid Those Festival Toilets


Driving license – take your driving license so you have some ID if ever you get challenged. You don’t want to be without a drink at Sziget now, do you? 

Not so essential Sziget packing list

Lilo or blow up bed – be prepared with this this single blow up mattress for less than £10 from Amazon. It’ll be worth every penny, especially if it rains and the ground is cold and wet.

Glastonbury kit list

Groundsheet – this 6 x 4ft one from Amazon is just £2.49. Groundsheets are actually a great thing to pack in your day pack for Sziget as you can sit on them around the festival. Like a picnic blanket you don’t really care that much about. 

Spare carrier bags – to keep all your rubbish in order, and to separate filthy clothes from not so filthy during the fest. Also, good for sitting on if the ground is a bit wet. 

Torch – you need a torch if you’re planning on going anywhere near a toilet in the dark. I nearly had a horrible surprise at Reading Festival when I went in the cubicle – there was shit everywhere. If I hadn’t have had a torch I wouldn’t have seen it. Don’t waste your phone battery or risk your phone near the toilet, take a torch instead. 

This head torch is less than £3. Could be the best £3 you’ve ever spent! 


Packing list for festivals


Sziget festival tips

a pretty one for £2.59 or here’s the most basic little mirror for just £2.40. 

Reusable plastic cups – these pop up beer cups are a great idea, so you’re ready for action at a moment’s notice, and don’t damage the environment. 

Things you might need at Sziget

Make up – you’ll probably sack it off after a while, but take a few bits anyway. Can cover a whole evening of sins. 

Face cleaning stuff – get that Micellar water packed to get the dust and grime off!

A variety of sunglasses – sunglasses were made for festivals. Get yourself a good sunnies collection going on for Sziget! 

Solar powered shower – group together with your friends and you can get this solar powered shower for just £6.53.

kit list for festivals

Glitter – oh you’ve got to have a bit of glitter at a festival, haven’t you? Save money by buying your own Sziget festival glitter to take with you. 

Make sure to stick to the biodegradable types of glitter though.

essentials for festivals

Moisturiser – shine those pasty legs up for the sun!

Lip balm – pack yourself a good lip balm to keep your lips moist. Will help with chapped and dry lips after all that shouting and singing! 

Vitamins – Sziget is a long week and your immune system will be under attack. Stay strong! 

Paracetamol – obviously. 

Pillow – you could just roll up your hoody to sleep on, or you could actually be comfortable and take a pillow to Sziget. Up to you! If you fancy somewhere in between – try a camping pillow

Swimsuit – a swimsuit is a great idea for Sziget, or a bikini. If it’s hot you’ll want to strip off in the sun, and there are watersports things around too. Also, you might want to go over to the pool on the other island. 

Portable phone charger – you definitely need a portable phone charger at Sziget. With all the selfies and stories and drunk messages, your phone battery will take a caning during Sziget. Don’t be one of those people who has to join the huge queue for a recharge.

Charger for glastonbury

Ear plugs (20 Pairs for £3.26!) and an eye mask – Sziget festival can get the better of even the wildest of party animals. Make sure you have a back up plan for when you want to sleep. 

Check out 11 Top Tips for Sleeping at Festivals

A specially bagged clean set of clothes to go home in – they will feel amazing. So fresh and so clean. 

packing for sziget

What to take to Sziget, in short

Money

Bank card

Tent

Sleeping bag

Summer clothes

Rain clothes

Hiking boots

Toothbrush and paste

Enamel mug

Sun cream

Rain mac

Toilet roll

Baby wipes

Hand sanitiser

Driving license

Lilo or blow up bed

Groundsheet

Beer trolley

Spare carrier bags

Torch

Walkie talkies

Hat

Flip flops

Compact mirror

Reusable plastic cups

Make up

Face cleaning stuff

Sunglasses

Solar powered shower

Glitter

Moisturiser

Lip balm

Vitamins

Paracetamol

Pillow

Bed sheet / blanket

Swimsuit

Portable phone charger

Ear plugs and eye mask

Camping chairs

Separate bag of clothes to go home in

You can buy pretty much all of this on Amazon. Click here to go through!

Follow me on Instagram to see which festival is next!

More on Sziget Festival

My First Day at Sziget Festival

More Festivals in Budapest After Sziget

How to Use the Payment Card at Sziget

My Review of Sziget Festival

The Sky Bar at Sziget Festival

Check out the Food at Sziget Festival

Sziget Festival in reviewFirst day at Sziget Festival
Ultimate Packing List for Latitude Festival
4 Best Places for Wild Swimming in Hampshire

21 Comments

  1. by Jade Lee Wright on October 6, 2014  2:49 pm Reply

    Haha different currencies is always a confuckulation for me - so I completely agree, as long as you know you aren't getting completely and entirely ripped off - just go with it!

    I featured you and a couple of other really inspiring travel bloggers in my latest travel post - hope that's OK! xxxx

    www.bohemianmuses.blogspot.com

    • by Vicky on October 8, 2014  2:17 pm Reply

      'Confuckulation'? Love it. Thanks for the mention, and you got off lightly not meeting up with that Chris from Backpacker Banter. He'd have you drinking triple Jack Daniels on the rocks in no time!

  2. by Joe on February 3, 2015  4:05 pm Reply

    I think this year might be our first time at Sziget, so this might just come in handy! Did you ever make it to Roskilde in Denmark? If not, check it out here: http://catchmercurial.com/roskilde/

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:15 am Reply

      No! I really want to though. I'd probably go this year in fact but a selfish friend has booked her wedding that weekend, and I'm bridesmaid so I can't bail :)

  3. by Joe on February 6, 2015  8:20 am Reply

    Argh, so inconsiderate... I'll try to enjoy for you!

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  10:30 am Reply

      Ha, thanks!

  4. by Katechka on August 25, 2015  2:21 pm Reply

    Very good article with valuable tips! I went to Sziget in 2014 and loved it so much that I returned in 2015. If you want to read how it was this year, check out my gateway: http://www.katechka.com/sziget-festival-gateway/

  5. by Lilla on April 19, 2016  5:04 pm Reply

    It was an awesome article! I myself am a huge fan if Sziget, and considering that i live in Budapest it is really in every way the best for me.
    Besides that, i could understand the bartenders' smiles - goodbye is not 'búcsú' it's viszlát. :) (but every effort made is appreciated, its meaning is nearly similar)

    • by Vicky on April 20, 2016  8:13 pm Reply

      Sziget was crazy! Are you going again this year?

  6. by Dario on May 22, 2016  6:09 pm Reply

    thank you for doing this. i might go to budapest in 2017. it will be my second festival and i am shure i am going to survive it thanks to you. <3

    espacially the part with the payment system is important. thanks a lot!

    english is not my native language. i am sorry for every mistake :)

    • by Vicky on May 23, 2016  2:46 am Reply

      Ah I hope you make it there – it was a fun week! Let me know if you have any more questions or anything. I'd love to help out :)

  7. by Alisha on July 19, 2016  6:02 pm Reply

    Hey i'm going to Sziget this summer! Just wondering, do you have to top up your festival card with cash you already have? and does it have to be in the Hungarian currency or can it be a different currency?

    • by Vicky on July 22, 2016  6:11 am Reply

      I seem to remember that you could do it direct from your card but it might help to have some forints just in case it doesn't work. :)

  8. by Kathe on July 22, 2016  9:27 pm Reply

    Hi guys!
    how about toilets? it's crucial for me :D are there nice clean sweet smelling flushing toilets? (please pleeaasee say yes :D )
    Aand another question...do you think it's safe to stay alone in a tent? Thank you :) (maybe other questions are coming :D )

    • by Vicky on July 24, 2016  8:25 pm Reply

      Errrmmm, I think "nice clean sweet smelling flushing toilets" is quite a big ask, and I'm pretty sure you're not going to find them at Sziget I'm afraid. I don't remember them being too bad, but then they definitely weren't the best either. Yes, you should be fine. Are you going alone or just sleeping in your tent alone? As soon as you start putting locks on things people know you have something good to hide.

  9. by Olaf on July 25, 2016  10:20 am Reply

    hi, what about money over there? do they accept Euro or should I convert them to Forint?

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  1:06 pm Reply

      You'll need forints, but have you read my article on money at Sziget Festival? It operates differently...

      https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/payment-card-sziget-festival/

  10. by Bernardine Bugeja on January 20, 2017  11:45 pm Reply

    Good evening, thanks alot for this helpful article a found it very useful. I am going for the first time this year to sziget festival and i have no idea what to get etc.... i was going to buy the vip area since they have clean showers and clean toilets (they said) since we were going to camp there for a whole week. As for our belongings, will it be a bad idea locking the tent? Are there any securities there?
    Hope to jear from you soon and thanks in advance :)

    • by Vicky on January 31, 2017  1:26 pm Reply

      Yeah, I think locking the tent is a bad idea. It makes it look like you have something worth stealing in there. Sometimes you can get lockers – have a look out for those. Otherwise it could be worth renting a small apartment between you, as well as camping, so you have somewhere to go in the day. The year I went was a rainy mud bath but I think usually it's a sweat box. It's not too far from Budapest city centre so you can totally go and wash at the public swimming pool too :)

  11. by Őri-Polyák Eszter on August 6, 2019  8:28 pm Reply

    Hi!

    I like your article about Sziget, but if you would say Goodbye, just say: Viszlát! [ˈvislaːt] or Szia! [Sia]

    Trust me I am hungarian. :)

    ( Búcsú = Farewell )

    • by VickyFlipFlop on August 14, 2019  12:35 pm Reply

      Oh perfect – thanks for the tip! If you went to Sziget this year I hope you had a good time :)

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