05 Jun Travel Tips | Coachella
With Coachella 2018 advance sale passes already closed, I finally decided to sit down and type up this long overdue, Coachella Travel Tips post. Besides just not having the time to get to it, I was reluctant to do any posts on my trip, because of how little content I actually captured. So before I get into this post, I would like to be very clear and say I know that my images aren’t great, I could have done better in terms of getting better content. But I was so busy having fun and just taking in the experience; I forgot that I had a camera on me. Also I felt really fat for most of my trip, so I barely shot any looks… We all have those periods in life 😉 and I don’t believe in abusing FaceTune or any other apps of that nature, so I opted to stay away from the camera for the most part.
Now to the good stuff… Tip 1: Buying Tickets
Last year, an acquaintance of mine told me a horror story about how he and his girlfriend planned their trip to Coachella to perfection and long story short, when they got to Coachella they were told that their tickets were fake. And with that little anecdote as my segue, here is tip number 1…
Only buy tickets from links you find directly from the Coachella website. Don’t buy tickets on Livenation, Ticketmaster or any other site. I repeat only buy tickets directly from sites that link from the Coachella site. This applies to the Travel Packages too. Which I recommend you book, if you are travelling from SA or anywhere else and are attending Coachella for the first time. These travel packages can be booked from Valley Music Travel and are convenient because:
- You won’t have to worry about collecting your ticket from Will Call as your ticket/s will be handed to you when you check in, in a pretty box with other cool stuff in it.
- You will be staying at a hotel, so you won’t have to worry about making your bed and who is going to make you a Bloody Mary when you are hungover.
- Packages generally include shuttles to and from the festival. Super handy, because I think Ubers are uber expensive over that time and finding parking at the festival seems like the most exhausting thing ever.
We booked a package at the Riveria Palm Springs. A really lovely hotel, with an interesting art deco vibe about it. Gutted I didn’t take any photos there. In any case, one of my absolute favourite days, was when we all decided to hang out at the pool, drinking, whilst a DJ was playing before we missioned to the festival. That day is also why there are no day 2 outfit pictures, as way too much fun was had on day 2 at the pool. Regrettably Riveria Palm Springs is no longer listed on Valley Music Travel :(…
Tip 2: Getting There…
Due to how insane all our schedules were, my friends and I flew into LA on the Thursday night and then caught the earliest LAX Airport Shuttles on Friday to Palm Springs. This seemed like a good plan, however we didn’t realise that the traffic would actually be as bad as people said it would be. We left LAX at 12:00 and got to Palm Springs at 15:30. I missed Sampha and was miserable for the rest of the day. Even a double gin & tonic couldn’t get me out of my slump. It was awful.
I recommend arriving in Palm Springs / Palm Desert on Thursday, so you can miss the traffic, settle in and not feel rushed on day 1 of the festival. I wrote a post a couple of years ago on booking travel… Scroll to the cliff notes.
Someone Instagram DMed me to ask whether you can fly directly to Palm Springs from LA or South Africa? To be honest, I never thought of that at all… In any case, the answer to that is “yes”, but it’s expensive, especially if you want to fly direct. A return direct flight from LAX to Palm Springs over the Coachella weekend 1 is around R14K. (If you search for flights any other time, they come in at around half the price.) Flying from South Africa direct to Palm Springs is also possible. However, the flights are super long and the airlines doing that route exclude Emirates, which is my preferred airline for long haul flights with layovers so I can earn Sky Rewards.
Tip 3: It’s A Music Festival
In my preamble, I spoke about how I forgot I had a camera on me, which is why I don’t have great images to share. And that, folks, is because Coachella is a music festival! This means, that whilst being cute seems like the most NB thing to your favourite bloggers, supermodels and vloggers; being comfortable is what I would suggest you aim for if you are there for the music. Because if you are there for the music you’ll walk. You’ll walk a lot. From stage to stage, to food stalls, to beer gardens, to shuttles. You walk. To hear and see Bon Iver, Kendrick, The XX, Hans Zimmer, you name it, you will walk. And you will dance… And do all the things you do at other festivals.
Tip 4: You probably won’t get wasted…
With Coachella being a family festival you can’t, like at Made In America Festival, drink in areas outside of the beer garden. This was frustrating to some, because apparently part of the festival experience is being able to hold your beer and sing along to your favourite artist. Strangely enough, this didn’t bother me too much; because I figured that drinking a lot would result in me needing the bathroom more often. I kind of liked being in the experience just a little tipsy, but completely taking it all in.
However, the beer gardens are full of ambience. In fact some people get stuck there… and don’t ever really leave and go explore and discover new music. Don’t be that person.
With that being said, the Absolut clubhouse of sorts; located in one of the beer gardens, near the stage where Kendrick Lamar (aka Love of my life) performed had us completely turnt on day 3.
On a serious note though. Carry some form of identification on all 3 days because you need to get “accredited” everyday to go into the beer garden area. Your tag from the previous day won’t suffice.
Tip 5: Subscribe the Coachella newsletter
Subscribe to the Coachella newsletter so you get notifications when tickets are going live or will be going live. This is how I figured out when to look out for things and when to make sure I am a liquid enough to buy a ticket or travel package when anything goes live.
Tip 6: VIP vs GA
I am going to Coachella next year again for Weekend 1 this time and opted to buy a GA ticket again for the following reasons:
- Everyone (even the VIPers) eventually end up with the GAers when the music is good. The GA Festival Pass is $429 and with a shuttle you pay $504…
- To have access to extra toilets, seating and cash bars, paying almost almost double the price ($999) of a GA ticket seems excessive, especially when I consider all the other costs incurred getting to Coachella.
But each to his own.
Tip 7: Eat at Coachella
The food is so good. Try find the Jerk chicken spot and have, the Jerk chicken and the Jerk chicken tacos. My goodness, you will be a happy person afterwards.