Ahhh, Coachella. A magical land where nothing else matters apart from making sure you can get from X stage to X stage in time to see both of your fave artists who (of course) clash on the timetable.
The thing that actually annoys me the most about this festival is all of the people who have never actually been who love to claim that “Coachella is basic”, “Coachella is overrated”.
Well, I went last year and all I have to say is that it is quite possibly the most undescribably incredible, magical, happiest and funnest place on EARTH. IT’S FUCKING AWESOME.
The hype is certainly real and (fingers crossed) we will be heading back next year, but for this year, I’ll be living vicariously through one my best friends snap stories and posting last years pics – shoot me.
I’ve had a craazzzyyyy amount of people come to me for advice over the last couple of months who wanted some tips, so I thought I do a run down of all the tips you need that you probably won’t find on the internet! It’s also so bloody cool how many Kiwi’s do manage to head over to Indio for the festival because I’ll tell you one thing, bumping into another Kiwi or Aussie in the Chella environment is very exciting amongst all of the accents that make you feel like you’re living inside of a TV.
Now Coachella is only a couple of weeks away so I assume you’ve already booked your accomodation (I would bloody hope so) so I don’t want to go into that tooooo much. But what I can give you the down-low on is what to pack, because this is crucial!
WHERE TO STAY:
I’ll touch on this quickly just incase there are some of you who want to start planning next year early!
Your choice of accommodation is super important, mostly because if you do decide to get down and dirty with the onsite campers, you’ll need to pay for your camping passes when you purchase your ticket, so you need to be organised and make the decision early.
Camping is for the tough who want to immerse themselves in everything Coachella has to offer them. The resort goers are blessed with the luxury of a morning pool swim in that 35 degree heat before the festival and have the convenience of the hotel shuttle service that take them to and from the festival from the majority of the hotels in the area. An Airbnb provides the ultimate comfort however can be a little pricey! We decided to lay our heads down just 300 meters from that big beautiful ferris wheel in the car campground, but next year I would definitely book in at a resort instead!
Also FYI, contrary to popular belief Coachella is NOT in Palm Springs, it’s in Indio. Palm Springs is half an hour away, which is cool to stop by before or after the festival, but you will want to book a resort that is in Indio. It’ll save you a lot of time!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST:
Coachella tickets start with pre sales that launch around June with GA priced at $399 USD ($550 NZD) and VIP at $899 USD. Considering you’re at fricken COACHELLA and it’s three days worth of madness, $550 NZ is a pretty good deal.
In terms of flights to LA, we found a fab Air New Zealand deal flight to Los Angeles for $1000 return – YUP. Flights are beginning to get pretty damn cheap, you just have to get in there early around 6 months in advance. Organisation is key!
In terms of budgeting, it really depends how you want to experience your trip. You can do it as cheap as chips or you can really invest into a luxurious experience. My Coachella trip costed around $2,200 NZD including the ticket, flights, car hire, gas and food for the three days. That was being verrrry careful with my money so going on a budget is totally doable! However you could quite easily end up spending up to 5 – 8 K.
WHAT TO PACK:
Obviously Coachella is a total fashion parade, so don’t be shy with your outfit! Boho Chic is the theme so go hard on the tassels and jewellery, you’ll need three outfits. Also, bring a couple of shorts and t-shirts to comfort your hangover each morning!
Your choice of shoe is INCREDIBLY important, camping onsite gave me the chance to wear my heeled boots for the majority of the day and to be able to dash back quickly to our campground to change into my Converse so that I could boogie all night long with DJ Snake and What So Not. Otherwise, I would recommend wearing the most comfortable (but still cute) shoes you can find as your feet really take a bashing, especially if you’re up until 2 AM dancing under the desert stars with the final acts.
Take a camera (unless you’re cool with iPhone) but do note that you cannot take cameras into the festival, so you can take cool pics in the campground, but you can only use your phone as a camera inside the festival.
Water is the number one thing you’ll need. It gets HOT, the Kiwi summer can’t even compete, I suggest you go and buy a crap tonne of water bottles from the Walmart in Indio, ice comes around to your tent twice a day so also make sure you’ve got cups. In terms of alcohol, you’re not supposed to bring it into the campground but we did anyway and had 0 problems. We just hid them at the bottom of our bags under clothes! Naughty but it saves you sooo much money and everyone does it! Also get a chilly bin from Walmart.
You’ll also need a bottle of your fave SPF on hand at all times and wet wipes to cleanse yourself of the copious amounts of dirty dust that cling to you throughout the festival – seriously you need so many of these.
A portable charger will be your absolute best friend, you don’t want your phone to be dead at Future’s set when he brings out Drake as a surprise – luckily mine wasn’t! (I KNOW).
A FEW DAYS BEFORE
The traffic in Los Angeles can make Auckland look like a joke, it’s definitely best to arrive in LA a couple of days before the festival just so you can sort out your jet lag and to ensure that you can get out into the desert without any stress (The drive from LA to Indio is about 2 and a half hours). You’ll need to download the free Coachella App to activate your wristband and then you’re pretty much all set! If you’re all about your social media then you’ll want to purchase a sim card with plenty of data – it’s super cheap and we grabbed ours from T-Mobile which costed $30 USD for a months worth of unlimited data, the things that keep a blogger happy!
AT THE FESTIVAL
There’s no shortage of food and drink at Coachella. In VIP, there are pop up restaurants where you can literally ‘go out for dinner’ while you’re inside the festival! If you’re carrying a GA pass, there are over 100 food stalls that have got you covered from slices of New York pizza, to healthy wraps, bagels and burgers so quite literally something for everyone.
The campground also provides delicious Acai Bowls for those who are after some serious sustenance each morning after a rough wake up (our post shower go-to). To purchase alcohol, you must register your band on site to prove that you’re 21 or over to which you can then venture into the Heineken tent to purchase drinks! You can make purchases with cash or by the chip that is placed on your wristband. Personally I found it easier to take cash as you don’t need to worry about paying off your wristband bill later on!
After mentioning showers, I must warn you that the line every morning in the campground can take up to an hour and a half of waiting time. My best advice is to get up early (6 AM ish) and head straight to the shower where there will be no line, and then back to bed for a few more hours sleep.
Always make a meeting point incase someone gets lost and you need to find them! Also, don’t bother going to see an act that none of your mates want to see, the festival is scarily huge so you’re likely to not be able to find them again during the evening. Stick together!
We didn’t experience this, however in the past there have been extreme sand storms and awful amounts of dust lingering in the air, so be sure to pack a funky scarf or bandana just in case! The nights can be chilly, pack a kaftan or a jumper that will fit in your day bag for the walk back to your campsite or the drive back to your accommodation.
If you’re staying in accomodation off site and will be taking a bag with you, you’ll need the following. Sunscreen, Lip Balm with SPF (there’s no shelter and your lips get BURNT), a refillable drink bottle, cash, portable charger, face powder (your makeup is going to seriously sweat), lipstick and any other makeup products that you want to top up with. If you’ve got those on you, you’re good! You don’t want to bring in too much to the festival because you quite literally have to deal with luggage.
Last, but not least.. BE COOL AROUND CELEBS & INFLUENCERS! Luckily for them, the Coachella culture means they can roam around as they wish without being disturbed, basically it’s really lame if you bother a celebrity. It’s safe to say I was pretty uncool when trying my best to snap a 5 meter away Wiz Khalifa during SchoolBoy Q.. it was dark though, so I think I was fine lol!
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
I asked you guys on IG stories this morning if there was anything else you wanted to know about Coachella, so here are my answers!
Do you need to lock everything away in the campground while you’re in the festival? The campground is full of lovely twenty-something Americans who are there for a good time. Nobody is going to steal your stuff, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. We left all of our tables/chairs/chilly bins/air beds outside and closed up the tents plus locked the car, but we weren’t too fussed.
What is the crowd like in comparison to Kiwi festival crowds? We were honestly so pleasantly surprised! The crowds are so super chill at Coachella, the Americans are so relaxed and nobody cares about being close to the stage, you can be close to the stage and still have so much room to boogie with your friends! I’ts SUCH a good vibe and makes me hate NZ festivals (lol). Also, American girls are so bloody lovely so expect about 10 per day coming up to you to tell you that you’re beautiful – I so wish Kiwi’s would act more like that! It was so nice!!
How far away are the stages from one another? SO FAR AWAY. Like some are a kilometre away from each other, it’s tempting to try and see two acts at the same time but you will waste time running in between stages!
Is it easy to get lost? So bloody easy so please don’t, like I said make sure you’ve got a meeting point.
Is there cell reception? In the campground, minimal. Inside the festival, nope. So please do not lose your friends! You’ll have to wait until you’re at the campground for your IG stories to upload.
What time do you go to the festival? There are acts playing from lunch time onwards, but I don’t recommend you head into the festival until at least 4.30 PM. The best and most popular acts start at around 5.30/6 PM and it really sucks when you go too early and it’s too expensive to drink/there’s no shelter anywhere so you literally die from the heat! We made that mistake on the first night all though luckily it was so easy to go back and forth from our camp site to the festival. Head in just before your first fave act starts playing! It’s just too hot during the day to the point where it’s actually not even fun.
Will my shoes get ruined? Nope! Feel free to wear whatever type of shoe, the grounds are super dried out grass and the crowds are spacious so nobody will step on them! Yes to suede!
FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE:
Always stick together, and never let a friend wander off on their own, do not wander off on your own and look after each other and be careful! You do not want to ruin the most magical three days of your life by getting lost, losing a friend or by one of you getting into a scary situation. It’s a safe festival but it’s still America people! Keep your wits about you.
So if you’re counting down to your LA flight, enjoy!!! I am so jealous and of course don’t hesitate to DM me if you have any more questions, always here to help.