We’ve put together this handy guide to help you get the most out of your Ultimate Weekend Away. From exciting stuff happening and pro hacks we’ve learnt along the way, to bits and pieces to bring with you – this will set you up for your best Rio yet!

BEAT THE QUEUES & STAKE OUT THE BEST CAMP SPOTS

If you can swing it with the boss, why not take advantage of our priority camping and arrive on Thursday? Not only will your crew be able to set-up in the most sought-after spots, you’ll skip the queues too. It’s only an extra $25 per person (on top of standard $70 camping cost) and when you’re peacefully dozing under a tree by the river, you’ll realise scoring the prime spots is priceless. Note: the gates for priority camping open at mid-day on Thursday 7 November.

KINDNESS MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND

It’s simple: when you do good, you feel good – so why not spread some happiness around? We think the world would be a much better place if everyone made even a small effort to help out their neighbour, whether they’re a stranger or a mate. That’s why we ask everyone to bring a Random Act of Kindness to Rio. Whether it’s little gifts for new friends you make, or Bloody Marys for your neighbours – Rio encourages spontaneous selfless acts to make people smile. Come prepared to spread the love.

GET A TASTE OF THE TROPICS AT THE BACARDI EL COCO TROPICAL DANCERIA

This year we’re collab’ing with our friends at Bacardi to create a tropical escape in the midst of the Rio madness. Head to the Bacardi El Coco Tropical Danceria to cool down with an icy cold Mojito and then hit the dance floor for non-stop good times to #TheSoundOfRum. They’ll also be serving up live disco, Latin funk and hip-hop classics from the El Coco House band, sets from Frank Booker, Soul of Sydney, Lady Erica and loads more still to be revealed.

AGREE ON A MEETING SPOT AHEAD OF THE GAME

The powers that be have decided that all cars need to be parked in allocated car parks to prevent any accidental car/tent collisions (which have happened at other events). So, this year we’ve set-up two car parks, one at either end of the site. To make sure your crew all parks in the same car park, we suggest working out roughly where you’ll set-up before you set-off (remember: your phone probably won’t work). This will make it easy to track down your mates and avoid long walks with your supplies. And if you’re sleeping in a vehicle, you will need to park in the new dedicated camper van area.

GET INVOLVED IN AUSTRALIA’S MOST EPIC FANCY DRESS PARTY

On Saturday we host Australia’s biggest, weirdest and wildest fancy dress party. No, there’s not a theme – that’s the point. Ditch your standard festival get-up and get creative! There are no boundaries or rules here. We strongly suggest you start planning now though because the bar’s been set high, and if the past’s anything to go by – the competition’s going to be fierce. Our advice? The more outrageous – the better!

SKIP THE FOOD SHOP AND PLAN YOUR FANCY DRESS INSTEAD

We’re sure you’ve got better things to do than spend time shopping for or planning your meals. Don’t stress – we’ve catered to all dietary desires with our selection of gourmet food trucks. Whether you want something naughty to soak up your hangover, a vegan friendly dish or super-food smoothies for extra dancefloor stamina – we’ve got you covered. Select from tasty Mexican street food, wood-fired pizzas, organic fast food, freshly roasted fair-trade coffee, gourmet burgers and icy cold kombucha just to name a few.

FEEL THE TENSION MELT AWAY WITH A GAME-CHANGING MASSAGE

We’re stoked to say: this year we have our very own massage therapists joining us at Rio! They’ll help you shake your sore head, free up your tired calves, or help you just relax into the day. The talented and world-class Transitional Body team are determined to get you dance-floor ready, so you don’t miss a moment. Places are strictly limited though, so we highly recommend booking here in advance now.

CAMPING? GET YOUR CASH OUT FOR EXPRESS ENTRY

In exchange for using the stunning Del Rio Riverside Resort’s facilities for the weekend, the site charges $70 per person on entry (minimum flat rate), whether you’re camping, sleeping in your car or bringing a camper van – no exception. This cost also includes parking your vehicle for the weekend too. To get into the party as quickly as possible, make sure you have the correct cash on you. Otherwise you’ll be waiting in a queue for the EFTPOS machine… You have been warned.

TAKE-AWAY BOOZE IS NOW A THING AT RIO

You no longer need to worry that your drink supplies are running low. This year you can buy take-away beverages from Del Rio’s very own bottle shop between 12pm-3pm and take them back to your campsite, camper van or cabin. Yes, we are a BYO booze event (strictly no glass) but there is a limit to what you can bring on site (read about the limits here).

THINGS TO PACK TO TAKE YOUR GAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL

You’ll find the full list of what to bring and what to leave at home here but we thought we’d also share a few of our pro packing items. These often get forgotten but will make all the difference to your weekend.

• Refillable water bottle. Only amateurs don’t rehydrate. We shouldn’t have to tell you that H2O helps keep hangovers at bay. We’ve got the water stations covered, so bring a bottle and help us save plastic.

• Notepad. We’re all about being in the moment, not attached to our phones. When else can you forget about real life and throw all responsibility to the wind? Grab pen and paper to jot down all your amazing new friends’ contact deets in instead.

• Disposable camera. Not only do these bad boys mean no time wasted retaking snaps of your narcissistic mate (we’ve all got one), what’s more fun than picking up your film and reliving the hazier moments?! Not needing your phone for photos is an added bonus.

• Esky: With take-away drinks and ice now available at Del Rio Bottle Shop (located in The Shack), this Australian staple will become your new Rio best-friend, and should be an essential part of any camping kit. You can thank us with ice-cold beers.

• Portable phone charger. While we encourage you to digitally detox during Rio, if you know the separation anxiety’s going to set in – we suggest you grab yourself a portable phone charger. That way you won’t have to hangout by a power point.

• Eco-friendly glitter. Everyone’s better in glitter, and sharing sparkles on the dancefloor is a serious ice breaker too. But be a friend to the planet and keep it bio-degradable. No one wants to be shouted at by an angry hippy either.

• Bin for your butts. We get it. Smoking happens at parties. No judgement here. But please don’t just dump your butts. Bring a portable ashtray/butt container. Pro tip: empty Eclipse mint tins work a treat.

• Something to swim in. Whatever your bathing get-up is, you’ll want to bring it. As well as kangaroos, the site’s home to an epic splash park and a pool that you’ll want to take advantage of. Unfortunately nude swimming is not permitted.

• Baby Wipes. If you’ve ever been camping before you’ll know these are like gold dust. Pro tip: grab the eco-friendly type for bonus points.

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY SO SECURE YOUR STUFF

Theft isn’t common, but it can happen. And why chance it and risk ruining the weekend? If you’re bringing valuables, either keep them on you at all time or safely stashed in your car. And if you’re lucky enough to be staying in a cabin, camper van or any other kind of lockable weekend abode, keep it locked up too.

TRAVEL LIGHT SO PACKING UP IS A BREEZE

While it might seem like a great idea at the time to bring everything you own ‘in case you need it’, when it comes time to pack up and head home – it’s a completely different story. At Return to Rio, we have a strict Leave No Trace policy and will not tolerate people leaving belongings behind that they just can’t be bothered to take home. Let this be your packing mantra: carrying loads of crap to your car is not fun with a sore head. There’s also a certain freedom in travelling light.