The Sundance Film Festival is an annual art event that draws thousands of travelers to Utah. While it's certainly possible to spend big bucks while attending, money-saving opportunities are available. Here are a few inside tips for getting the best bang for your buck.
Tickets: With full festival access packages for Sundance costing as much as $3,000, it pays to choose your screenings with precision. To reduce your bottom line, consider purchasing smaller screening packages with a limited number of viewing passes, and skip the additional day party access in favor of other area activities. Even greater cost control is possible by purchasing individual theater tickets for $15 each. If you can only attend for a couple of days, and want to experience a brief ski vacation as well, this could be your best bet.
Movies with more buzz tend to sell out quickly, but those willing to be put on a wait list might be able to score last-minute access. Because wait list tickets are available for the same $15 price as advance-purchased individual ones, you risk nothing by trying. Simply show up at your desired viewing venue two hours in advance of the screening to receive your wait list number for the film in question. Once you have your assigned number, you are free to wander about town, shop for souvenirs or enjoy a casual cup of coffee. Thirty minutes prior to show time, be back at your chosen venue to line up according to your assigned number. Available wait list tickets will then be sold in sequential order according to availability.
Transportation: Because many of the Sundance theaters and film venues have limited or nonexistent parking, it's possible to pass completely on the cost of a rental car. Fortunately, a free festival shuttle is available for participants for the duration of the event, kicking cab costs to the curb.
For those who are unable to unload their automobile however, limited parking options do exist. Most require a cash fee, but some freebies are possible.
Since the Sundance Film Festival takes place in several locations at once, including Park City, Salt Lake, Ogden and the Sundance Resort itself, transportation issues impact more than your wallet. If a film you're dying to see is being screened in a venue that's a 30 to 75 minute drive from your hotel, you'll need to plan accordingly in your itinerary. For those who prefer to minimize drive time and maximize fun while traveling, choosing theater venues that are close by is advised. Sundance.org has full festival transportation details available.
Accommodations: The Sundance Film Festival is a seriously sought-after experience, and the hospitality business knows it. This means peak rates all the way for travelers. What's a penny pincher to do? Well, in this case, partnering up to share space with other travelers is pretty much your only option. Deer Valley and Canyons resorts in Park City are both close to the slopes with full amenities, and their ski-free-the-first-day option adds extra value for those attending the festival. Those wishing to view films showing in Salt Lake City may choose to add activity access to their schedule by booking rooms near other sightseeing options downtown, such as the world-famous Temple Square.
Theriault is the best-selling co-author of the book "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget," and founder of TrekHound.com, a website for independent travelers. She also founded TheLessonMachine.com, a website for teachers.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun