Festival on a budget
Think that your trip to Cannes Lions has to cost the earth? Think again...
The first step to getting to Cannes Lions is to get a pass. If you're a student, you can save 75% with a Classic Student Pass and get to Cannes for €750 (plus tax). Or if you're lucky enough to be born after 24 June 1986, you qualify for the Young Lions discount which saves you up to 45%. Student and Young Lions passes can be found in the Pass Picker.
If neither of those options work for you, you could try winning one. Every year there are opportunities to come to Cannes for free, and if you're feeling creative there's still (just) enough time to enter the Young Bumper Hack Competition.
Thousands of people come to Cannes Lions every year because they know how to get value from the Festival. If you still need help finding the budget to cover a trip to Cannes Lions, here's some advice to help that expense allowance stretch further...
(On the doorstep: The Xpress bus stops right next to the Palais)
DO use budget airlines. Lots of carriers fly to Nice over the summer, so even if you're coming from further afield, you can pick up very good value connections to Nice from almost anywhere in Europe. For example, if you're planning to come to Cannes from Saturday 17 to Sunday 25 June, you can pick up return flights from London for £99, Amsterdam for €96 and Zurich €86.
Also, get the Airport Xpress Bus (Line 210) to from the airport. We've used it loads and it's brilliant. For €33 you can get a return ticket straight into the centre of Cannes - and if you're travelling in a group there's a 4-person ticket for €66. We know you probably don't use coaches at home, but trust us - it's way less hassle than the train and fraction of the price of a taxi. You can also find good deals on private airport transfers if you book in advance online.
DON'T worry about taxis. Everything in the Cannes is within walking distance. Just because you're in the south of France it doesn't mean you have to get around by helicopter and private limo. Those are available of course, but Cannes is the same distance from Nice no matter how you get there... And you can always fib about arriving by helicopter. Who's gonna know?
(Find a bed: You haven't come all the way to Cannes to snooze at the back of a seminar!)
DO look at budget accommodation options. There's loads of decent affordable apartments that are within walking distance of the Palais. If you need to, you can still tell people you're in a sea view suite at the Martinez. Fake it till you make it baby!
DON'T sleep on the beach. It looks very inviting at sunset, and a night under the Mediterranean stars seems very romantic but it's definitely more comfortable if you can find a bed.
(Come as a group: there's huge savings to be made if you buddy up.)
DO look at apartments. Any Cannes veterans will tell you that if you're there for the week - apartments are the way forward. Like hotel rooms they come in different shapes and sizes to suit any budget. It's possible to get a single apartment for the whole week for less than €1,000, and it works out even cheaper if you share a bigger place with friends or colleagues. Who cares if you're sharing a place with the guy in planning who snores? You're gonna be out most of the time anyway!
DON'T sleep on people's floors. You don't want to bump into one of your creative heroes when you're covered in carpet fluff.
(Buffet on the beach creatives cannot live on canapés alone. Actually now we come to think about it...)
DO avoid the big ticket restaurants on the Croisette (unless it's a special occasion, obviously). As soon as you walk back a block, the restaurant prices drop. If you're on a really tight budget, the beach kiosks offer a wide range of hearty baguettes (this is France after all) and salads for just a few euro. To let you into a secret, the entire Cannes Lions staff get fed by the beach kiosks.
If you're smart, there's lots of free stuff around the Festival to keep you going. Water and soft drinks can be found inside the Palais, there's food and drink at the official opening and closing Galas, and almost every evening thing you can blag your way into will come with canapés. Lots of the cabanas have events throughout the day where all kinds of treats will be available, so it pays to explore the Cabana Town and Beach Town (they're just next to the Palais and you'll see them on Festival maps and signage).
Talk to people. Make friends. Sometimes you'll strike lucky and get taken to lunch. Accept as many invitations as possible. Especially anything in the mornings. People often put on a bit of breakfast for morning events as an extra lure to get people out of bed. Set that alarm early and score yourself some free croissants. Also, many have the 'Palace' (posh) hotels have fruit in reception. An apple makes a very handy strategic snack for emergencies.
DON'T starve. There's no need. Yes, there are hotel restaurants where an Orangina is €10, but there are plenty of very good, very reasonable cafes off the Rue d'Antibes and near the train station that won't strain your expense allowance.
(Dress for summer. Think dress-down Friday)
DO keep it casual. T shirts, shorts, summer dresses and comfy shoes. Maybe bring a smarter shirt for any important meetings. You're going to see some very important industry people wearing shorts and sandals. Pack light and just take cabin baggage on the plane.
DON'T waste money on a fancy Cannes wardrobe. The Croisette is full of ritzy designer stores, but everyone is dressed for summer. Nobody cares if that t-shirt is Primark or Prada.
(Keeping in touch: there's lots of free Wi-Fi spaces at the Festival)
hang out in official Festival areas like the Palais, Palais II or the Cannes Lions Beach. There's good quality free Wi-Fi which you can connect to easily with your delegate number, so you can still check in with the office back home.
DON'T fork out for expensive data plans on your mobile or pay extra for hotel Wi-Fi access. Consider downloading some of your favourite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows in advance, in case you have a quiet evening in.
Visit the Pass Picker for the full range of passes.