A Guide to Tripping at Coachella

Coachella is a three day music and arts festival that occurs every year in Indio, California, in the California desert. Artists from various genres, including hip hop, rock, indie and electronic music perform on several main stages. Famous past performers include Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, Swedish House Mafia, Björk, The Chemical Brothers, Snoop Dogg - to name a few.

If you love music festivals and hanging out in the desert sounds like it could be cool, you'll want to head to Coachella. But you have to have a game plan. That's where we can help. Check out our guide to Tripping at Coachella.

Quick note: 'Tripping' is not the kind of tripping Justin Timberlake does at Coachella. It's traveling by using the site tripping.com to meet local people and/or book a vacation rental. Basically it's the best way to travel*.

So what do you need to have an amazing time at Coachella?

Festival Passes

If you still don't have tickets, you can buy festival passes from Front Gate Tickets via the official Coachella website. Here's what's currently available:

Lake Eldorado Camping and Festival Pass Package for April 12 - April 14.

At the moment, you can get:

  • a GA 4 person tent for $3,400
  • a VIP 4 person tent for $5,200

Lake Eldorado Camping and Festival Pass Package for April 19 - April 21.

Right now you can get:

  • a GA 2 person teepee for $2,000
  • a VIP 2 person teepee for $2,9000
  • a GA 4 person teepee for $3,400
  • a VIP 4 person tent for $5,200

Or you can buy your Coachella tickets on StubHub.**

General admission passes for April 12 - April 14th start at $325.

General admission passes for April 19 - April 21st start at $245.

Note that the StubHub tickets don't include any car camping or tent camping parking access (or shuttle passes). "At this time StubHub is not offering any parking, camping, or shuttle passes to the festival. To purchase shuttle passes you can do so at Coachella Shuttle Passes."

Must-Bring Essentials

Water bottle: It's the desert. It gets hot. Hydration = Good <=> Dehydration = Bad. Bring a water bottle or two.

Hand sanitizer: Nothing's worse than getting a summer (or spring) cold, so bring hand sanitizer if you don't want to risk bringing home a cold as your souvenir.

Sunblock, Sunglasses, Hat: Unless you live in the desert and have skin tougher than a dinosaur, you probably want to protect your skin (and eyes). Do yourself a favor and don't forget the sun protection.

The next tips come to you via travelgrom.com.

Ear plugs: Hearing loss sucks. "The music is LOUD! " Save your eardrums and take some ear plugs in your Coachella bag.

A print-out of the set list: "Festival staff do hand out set time pamphlets." You might think about using your phone, but you probably want to save your phone's battery to stay in contact with your friends.

A Place to Stay

Don't feel like camping? Hotels not your thing? Find a fabulous house to rent for a few days. Or make a real vacation of it and stay a few more days. When you see these pads, you'll see what we're talking about.

Like hotels, you can find homes rentals for every budget. Let's take a peek, shall we?

Let's start with Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous accommodations.

Awh yeah. You could stay in this crazy, over-the-top pad - the Solomon Estate in the heart of Rancho Mirage. It's listed at $4,900 a night, but it has an occupancy of 12, so that's $408/person (per night). Still not cheap, but who can put a price on happiness? :p Seriously, if we did the math right, the VIP 4 person tent is $433/person (per night).

Here's another gem. Do you like tennis? Infinity pools? How about giant checkers or giant chess? The Indian Wells Tennis Estate is the place for you! It's even got a labyrinth walk, ping pong, horseshoes, dart board, two DDR dance platforms, basketball and lots more but my hand's starting to cramp.

Take a peek at all your luxurious Indio vacation home rental options for Coachella?

On a tighter budget? No problem. We've got affordable Coachella home rentals as well. You can browse and book affordable Coachella rentals from $82/night.

Take a look at this rental which is $82/night for a 2 bedroom condo that sleeps 5 people. That's $16/night per person!


It practically goes without saying if you are headed to Coachella with friends, you should carpool. Like most festivals, the fewer cars the better. Considering carpooling with say co-workers? Trying to decide if you can share the car ride with them based on how long it would take to get there? Or maybe how many snacks you need for the car trip? Here are some distances to Indio from San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities to help you decide.

San Francisco to Coachella (Indio, CA) 129.7 mi

Palo Alto to Coachella (Indio, CA) 483.2 mi

San Jose to Coachella (Indio, CA) 468.1 mi

Santa Cruz to Coachella (Indio, CA) 472.9 mi

Monterey to Coachella (Indio, CA) 447.6 mi

Los Angeles to Coachella (Indio, CA) 129.7 mi

San Diego to Coachella (Indio, CA) 131.3 mi

Santa Barbara to Coachella (Indio, CA) 224.8 mi

If none of your friends or people you know can make it, don't sweat it; you can easily find other people to share a ride. If you head over to zimride.com for example, you can find rides to Coachella or find passengers to join you on your drive to Coachella. I did a quick search and found rides from San Francisco to Coachella from $50/seat.

There you have it folks - the latest guide for Tripping at Coachella. If you're headed there this year, have a great time! And if you've got any tips to add, share them in the comments. Happy Tripping!

** Update on April 10, 2013 - Coachella released their festival map**

Take a Printout of the Venue Map

Make your life easier and print out the 2013 Coachella venue map. You'll be able to easily figure out where the stages are and locate important things like water, first aid and shade.

The small print:

*We may be slightly biased saying that Tripping is the best way to travel. But 4 out of the 5 people we surveyed would rather use Tripping to book their trip than a phone book and an old map.

** Quick disclaimer: our CEO was one of the original employees at StubHub. We're mentioning the site because we all use it, but in the spirit of full disclosure, we figured we'd mention it.

Photo credits: Coachella banner via Coachella Facebook page ; home images from listings on Tripping.com.