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Why Planning For Coachella Is A Pain in the Butt

Like most things that are worth it in life, feeling that Coachella vibe takes effort. In fact, between the logistics, packing, making sure you have extra this or that and the traffic, planning for Coachella, especially if it’s your first time, can drive you absolutely crazy. Keep in mind, that’s before you even get there and have to navigate the festival itself.

Coachella Camping Alone

What do I pack? How much do I pack? How many days should I give myself to travel? Should I go sightseeing in California along the way? These are all questions that are no doubt running through your mind and you probably need to take a deep breath before you make an educated, thoughtful and mistake-free decision about your road trip.

Plain and simple, planning your Coachella experience is a pain in the butt. But you can lower your headaches if you know what to expect before you go.

Annoyance of Finding Coachella Tickets

Let’s try a little experiment for a second. Go to Google and type in “Coachella tickets.” As you might have noticed, you are now bombarded with a variety of different options, infographics and a variety of places to buy tickets, whether from the official Coachella website (which is always sold out unless you commit to purchasing tickets before the lineup is even announced) or from third party sellers. 

You are probably feeling a little overwhelmed already, especially with the prices (why is Coachella so expensive?), and we honestly can’t blame you. Questions are most likely formulating in your head of what is the best option for me, what do these tickets include? Am I really getting the best bang for my buck and how can I stretch my dollar further?

Keep in mind that you have now only dipped your big toe into the massive pool that is Coachella planning and have more decisions to make once you dive in further.

Coachella Tour Wristbands

Where Do I Stay?

Now that we’ve somewhat navigated the minefield that is getting tickets for the event (or at least opened your eyes to the possible difficulties), you now must prepare for a few more hours of research as you try to figure out where to stay. Believe it or not, there are quite a few options here and it really depends on what your preferences are.

For example, if you want to be close to the action, we recommend you stay in Indio, which is the town where the Coachella festival grounds are located (not Palm Springs, which is 30+ minutes away). You can either choose to camp here, which is more budget-minded, or stay in a hotel, which could cost you anywhere from 250 to 350 dollars per night.

Or maybe you want an Airbnb. That’s a fine option too, but you have to realize that prices are going to vary. In fact, a quick search for a two person place to stay on Airbnb for Coachella (Weekend 1 or 2) shows that prices can be anywhere from 300 to 1000 dollars per night. That’s a big stretch from the usual Indio prices on non-Coachella weekends. And that’s before food, transportation to and from Coachella, and more.

Personally, we enjoy camping because when you bring the right setup you can make the most of your time and save money. Camping forces us to wake up early and interact, pushing us to not miss the pool or early shows. Whereas in a hotel, for us anyways, we usually sleep in because it’s too easy after a big Friday or Saturday night. That results in us arriving at Coachella late, around 6 p.m, missing precious time to see bands, interact with artwork and see friends. Talk to others who attend and you’ll hear more of the same. But like we said, where you stay is a personal preference.

Coachella Tour for solo traveler

Now Comes the Fashion

Most people who attend Coachella know how to handle the fashion themselves. Really, we are not here to tell you how to dress. We can, however, fill you in on the pitfalls we see most of our friends come across when showing up, the main factor being time.

Instead of waking up early, many like to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, and we don’t blame them. A comfy bed is a glorious thing. But when you add to that the time it takes to get ready, and the transportation time to the festival, and the time to eat, check your messages, make your friends jealous from posting online and more, it’s like the day melts away before your eyes, and before you know it, your long-awaited weekend is over (and you sadly, missed a few bands you wanted to see). While planning your Coachella outfits, remember that you want to look cute, yes, however you want to be efficient as well.

And efficiency means more than time. The weather, believe it or not, gives festival-goers a problem. This can be in the form of heat (which most are familiar with), however the wind can be an issue, and sometimes when the sun goes down there can even be a chill in the air. It all depends on what’s happening with the weather that particular weekend. We like to plan a versatile outfit, one which can handle mother nature’s elements and carry your supplies like water and sunscreen while still looking good.

The good part is you can plan your outfit before you arrive. And don’t even pretend like you don’t plan your outfits, because we know you do.

White Label Tour Company Coachella Tour

Who Do I Go With?

Anyone who’s traveled overseas before knows your original crew who you agreed to travel with usually ends up bailing on you. Maybe they ran out of money or just got cold feet. Regardless, your friend who agreed to go with you to Coachella has now bailed. Now what do you do?

Good thing for Coachella, it’s in America, which is a ridiculously easy country to travel in compared to other places around the world. If your friend bails, who cares? You can meet thousands of other festivals-goers, and many of them are in your same position. You can network with others before the festival to carpool, reserve a tour (ahem ahem), or go to Coachella completely solo, where you have the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want. Three days in the desert, really, goes faster than you think.

We personally like the idea of going with a group to Coachella because you can split up throughout the weekend to see the bands you each individually enjoy (even the best of friends want to see conflicting shows and it’s good to be able to split up and not feel alone), using the campsite as a rendezvous point, either in the mornings for a lounge around the pool, or after the shows for late-night and buzzed grilled cheese sandwiches.

Planning for Coachella

Planning for Inside Coachella

Many will spend hours setting up their trip to Coachella but totally disregard for planning once they arrive and are inside. As you might imagine, communicating with your group at Coachella can be difficult with 100,000 other people around.

To combat this, it’s best to have a loose game plan for each day in the festival. Some want to go early and check out the artwork, others want to arrive late and only see the headliners. Do you have a plan and rendezvous points if your idea of a good time at Coachella differs from your friends?

Or think of it this way: if one of your friends drinks too much and cannot handle the festival anymore and needs to go home before the headliner goes on, the same headliner you’ve been waiting years and years to see, do you have a backup plan for how your friend will return home? Does everyone agree on the plan beforehand?

You don’t always need to write down and chart every detail when it comes to Coachella, however we’ve learned that having a game plan for inside is always easier than not having one. Then, nobody is in question if things go wrong or your group splits up. Everyone knows the meetup location and it creates a better group cohesion even if you are apart during a few of the shows.

Coachella Neon Artwork

Other Small Coachella Planning Problems

Those who attend Coachella year after year are setup for success with everything planned and in order. They know the deal, and they are ready for their yearly blowout with friends, to see the biggest bands with the best campsite.

If it’s your first time to Coachella, however (which if you read all these words, we assume it is), you can plan and research all you want, but you probably will not have that yearly-tested setup. You will most likely bring too much, or worse, forget things. Hell, even after going year after year we sometimes do the same.

But it’s only a weekend. By the time you arrive here, get dressed to see your bands, have a few margaritas around the pool and mingle with other festival-goers, you are waking up on day four with a headache, reviewing all the art and music you just experienced. You’ll see that all the effort you took to plan, was indeed, worth it.

What’s Our Point?

The biggest pain in the butt part about planning Coachella for a first-timer is you don’t really know what to expect. You spend much of your time Googling, reading blogs and checking Instagram constantly, however you never truly know what it’s like until you just go.

We feel the best Coachella experience is one with balance and time. Not enough planning and you can feel overwhelmed; too little and you’re unprepared. Either way, you will have an experience you will never forget. If you need to sleep with your hoodie as a pillow for a few days because you forgot yours, so be it. That’s the beauty of a festival.