Hey Dylan, I was wondering if you have any tips on bear week for next year. I was thinking about traveling there next year but flights from Europe are already 800$, and then I looked at the cost for hotels. Is that an elaborate plot to keep the poor unwashed out? Anyway, I was wondering if there are any cheap hotels and if I am just to dumb to find them. The cheapest ones I found were 4000$… At that price I’d rather fly business class to SFO and stay in a fancy hotel. —Max
Thanks for the question, Max. Let’s begin.
Bear Week is really, really expensive
Provincetown (where Bear Week is located) is a gay travel destination (also the birthplace of drag performance), located on a small peninsula off Massachusetts. Remote Location + Travel Destination + Fixed Size means supply will always be limited for events in ptown, and each year the demand to go to ptown events rises, driving prices higher and higher.
Its not hard to spend $5,000+ on a trip to ptown:
- Avg. Airfare to Ptown: $2,000
- Avg. Meal Price: $25
- Avg. Drink Price: $6
- Avg. Nightly Stay: $300-500
Ptown is really darn expensive, if you’re a princess. If you don’t mind getting a little gritty, you can pull off a $600 Ptown vacation like I do.
Ptown Bear Week for Poor People (or, how to do Ptown on a budget)
Part 1: Accomidations
Forget hotels and motels, these are way overpriced and sold out 10-months in advanced. The next cheapest option is to find a vacation rental in ptown (AirBNB is a good tool for this). Vacation rentals average $100-$300 per night. They usually sleep 2+ people. Invite your friends and split the cost. Last year I split a three bedroom house with friends and spent $50/night…and then I had a house of friends to hang out with for a week. Awesome.
No friends? No problem!
My first trip to Bear Week I had no friends, so I stayed at the ptown hostel for $20/night. Yeah. A deal. I had to share my room with two girls and a gay dude that would bring his tricks back to the shared room.
You can also camp in Ptown. There is (apparently) awesome campsites just outside of town.
Or, you can practice the Bear Week tradition of sleeping your way without a place to stay. (Advanced technique, not recommended for people with standards).
Part 2: Eats
Don’t eat out. I once spent $200 on just oysters for lunch in ptown. Go to the local super market and buy food to cook or cheap pre-made things. Or try to get invited to barbecues.
Protip: let people know in your growlr profile that you’re easier after they buy you dinner.
Part 3: Travel to/from Ptown
It’s possible to fly directly into ptown. This is a mistake. Don’t do it. I did it my first year. Taxi service is expensive and unreliable from the airport. There is also no cellphone reception.
Your best options are driving (horrible traffic for the bear migration), or flying into Boston and taking the ferry into ptown. Book your ferry ticket early, these sell out fast.
Once in ptown, rent a bike. When not stumbling drunkenly from party-to-party, you will be riding your bike EVERYWHERE. So make sure you rent one.
And thats how you do ptown on a budget.