This Is What Separates a Coachella Regular From a Rookie

coachella travel tips
Nicole Franzen

It wouldn't be a music festival without a trip to the middle of the desert, right? At least, if you're going to Coachella, traveling there seems to be half of the experience. Located 130 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles, Coachella Valley is a trek—but it doesn't have to be difficult one if you keep a few golden rules in mind. Whether you're flying or driving, finding your way to the festival is a lot simpler if you know what tools to utilize. Keep reading for five traveling tips both experts and first-timers alike should keep in mind when venturing to Coachella.

Fly into LAX and Rent a Car

If you're taking a flight to the festival, avoid getting a ticket directly to the Palm Springs International, as flights into the desert tend to be especially pricey. Instead, fly into LAX, and from there you can rent a car. Coachella is only about a three-hour car ride from Los Angeles—just enough time to feel like a mini road trip. Purchasing your plane ticket and rental car in a bundle from sites like Orbitz or Expedia can help you save as well.

Carpool If Driving

If you can drum up a group of festival-goers to carpool over to Coachella, do it. There are plenty of perks to be had for carpooling. Of course the most obvious is saving on gas money and splitting the time each of you have to spend at the wheel. Parking can be tricky at the festival, so the fewer cars your group has to find parking for, the better. Coachella also does "Carpoolchella" every year for cars with four or more people, giving away prizes—including VIP passes—for carpoolers.

best coachella travel tips
Nicole Franzen

Get a Shuttle Pass

Avoid parking at the festival if you can—a shuttle pass can help you with this. The festival's Any Line, Anytime pass is $75 and has stops at numerous hotels. There is also an airport shuttle that can take you from LAX to the festival's campgrounds. Taxis in the area can get pricey, but investing in a shuttle pass—or parking at festival grounds—can save you a bundle.

Keep Your Car Well-Stocked

Always overestimate the number of snacks and—especially—water you think you'll need for the ride over. This should last you not only during your drive but throughout the festival weekend. Leaving the parking lot after the day is done can sometimes take upward of an hour, another good reason to have the extra sustenance while you wait. Keep your car stocked with other essentials like sunscreen, especially if you'll be car camping. Be sure to bring along jumper cables as well—the time spent charging up your phone can drain more battery than you think, and the last thing you want to worry about is a tow truck.

Download a Car Finder App

This may come as a surprise, but after spending 12 hours at a music festival, it can be hard to find your car. Always jot down where you parked, along with directions. If you want to park and not have to think about it, download a car-finder app, like ParkIt, which will save your location in the app after parking. This may seem like more of a hassle to start, but you'd be surprised how quickly it becomes a necessity.

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Up next, learn everything you need to know about experiencing the ultimate Coachella road trip.

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