NOTE: Burning Man has cancelled the 2020 festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will be back in 2021.
Heading to Burning Man? You'll be joining tens of thousands of people who flock to the Nevada desert in late August and early September to become citizens of the temporary Black Rock City, where anything can happen. What started on a San Francisco beach in 1986 when two friends burned an eight-foot wooden sculpture of a man has turned into a whimsical celebration replete with fire eaters, elaborate floats, art installations, musical performances and more.
But how will you get there? Black Rock City is a pop-up city that only exists during the nine-day gathering. It's a place in the desert about three hours from Reno. Here are some tips for getting the best deal on a rental car for your Burning Man adventure.
How to Get a Cheap Car Rental for Burning Man
Book early. Despite its air of spontaneity, Burning Man requires some planning due to its remote location, desert temperatures and core mission to leave no trace of the event when it's over. The best time to rent a vehicle for Burning Man is as soon as you know you're going, since rental car agencies may run out of cars and you won't be the only one looking for a ride to the event. If your plans change for some reason, it's easy to cancel your reservation without a penalty. Ask AutoSlash for a quote when you start planning, and then monitor prices to see if prices go down.
Track your reservation. You'll want to plan ahead for your Burning Man experience, but comparing rates on rental cars shouldn't be your main priority. Don't worry—AutoSlash can track your reservation and notify you about any price drops so you can rebook at the lower rate.
Make the most of a weekend rate. If you're only planning to spend a few days at Burning Man, you might be able to take advantage of a weekend rate. Part of this festival takes place over a weekend, so make sure to check car rental companies' deal pages to see if any are offering attractive weekend promo rates. However, always be sure to check the fine print and these tips for maximizing a weekend rental before booking a reservation.
Check both on and off airport. Flying into Reno? While renting a rental car right at the airport might be most convenient, it might not be the cheapest option. Consider broadening your search to include off-airport locations, which could cut your rate in half. There is no golden rule for which locations have the best deals, so do a wide search.
Plan on a post-fest cleaning. Inevitably, your rental car will end up with a layer of dust after spending time in the desert. Consider hitting a car wash after the festival for an exterior-interior cleaning so you don't get hit with a cleaning fee from the rental car company. Doing it yourself will certainly cost less than the penalty.
2020 Burning Man Program
Burning Man doesn't bill itself as a festival, so you're not going to find a poster with all of the names of DJs, musical acts and performers who will be at the event. Think of it instead as a temporary city where participants to dream up activities during the event. Here's a guide to ways you can get involved with the events, and a taste of what people might be planning for this year.
The result is an array of activities that you won't be able to find at any other event around the world. Here are some of the things you can expect to find at Burning Man.
- Live DJs and music
- Theme camps
- Sculptures and installations
- Artistic performances
- Spoken word poetry
- Theater performances
How to get to Burning Man: The most precise way to find the event is to use GPS coordinates: 40°45'13.83"N, 119°16'37.20"W. You can also type "Burning Man" or "Black Rock City" into most GPS-enabled navigation tools such as Google Maps or Waze. Make sure to gas up well before you reach the town of Gerlach, as there may be hours of traffic getting into the main gate.