Things to do and Burning Man-related admin tasks

person writing to do list

Admin tasks are part of your preparation for Burning Man. Get your list of To-Dos ready.

Preparation for Burning Man will require considerable forethought and detailed planning. (The preceding sentence might also qualify for the understatement of the year.)

Many years ago, I was reading Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. In it was a story of a hostess who’d planned a lovely dinner party at her home. She had tended to all the details by developing a scrumptious menu, picking the perfect wines, cleaning her home impeccably, getting flowers and, of course, having a fabulous guest list of friends she was certain would get along splendidly.

Her guests arrived, one by one, and as they sat down to eat, she suddenly realized she had forgotten to make the main course! Although Miss Manners’ post-event advice was to make do no matter what, the hostess, unfortunately, did not laugh at herself and her mistake, and order pizza or carryout for her guests. Instead, mortified, she shut the party down and sent everyone home.

I share this story because it always stuck in my mind: how easy it could be to forget the obvious (such as your Burning Man ticket).

In making my “To Do” list of things to pack and prep for Burning Man, I include my personal list of administration, planning and communication tasks that I need to complete. Your list will be yours. My suggestion is to make your list as explicit as possible. The closer That Thing in the Desert (TTitD) comes, the more confident you can be that you have your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed.

Pre-playa: What are your key admin areas of focus?

Here are several tasks that may be on your list of To-Dos–

  • Join a camp. Pay the camp participation fee. Get involved.
  • Make your travel plans (see my list for an idea of all the travel elements I need to coordinate).
  • Confirm plans for shipping your gear to Black Rock City.
  • Make your hotel reservation for Reno (both pre-playa and post-playa).
  • Gather all tickets, vehicle passes and admin info related to the trip.
  • Communicate your travel plans, including emergency contact information.
  • Make shopping lists for last-minute, in-Reno shopping.

Laminate three copies of your driver’s license

Regardless of your age, you need to bring your driver’s license with you. What I do is make color copies of my license and laminate them. (I cover the copies with clear packing tape and call it good.) I recommend putting one of the driver’s license copies on your travel mug, one in your festival belt or a pack you keep on yourself all the time, and one on your bike as a backup.

Personally, I wouldn’t bring my actual driver’s license or passport with me when I’m out adventuring on the playa. That’s just asking for trouble. (Keep your actual ID in your “adult bag” or admin envelope, along with other important papers and things you need to know how to find inside your tent.)

Some camps (including an occasional event or show) will card all attendees. I once came upon an exotic aerial silks show where they carded everyone. I was in my late 40s at the time and gave the gatekeeper an “Are you serious?” look. She then looked at me even more seriously and said, “Everyone has to show ID. Everyone.” Since I didn’t have my ID on me, I had to leave. There were countless adventures to be had elsewhere. It’s all good.

Keep an ID on you at all times

Consider yourself forewarned.

To-do list photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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