This blog post was updated on April 16, 2018.

[This post was originally published in April of 2017 and its reference are to that year’s Coachella; however, the advice and recommendations are still valuable to anyone interesting in finding affordable ways to attend the festival.]

As over one hundred thousand Coachella-goers readjust to reality, I’m finalizing my outfits for the second weekend of one of the most popular music festivals in the world. To some, it’s overrated, overpriced, and too mainstream. But, I’ve always wanted to go, so this year I am! I’ve activated my wristband and am counting down the days until my first Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. I’m not only looking forward to the music and food, I can’t wait for the art installations. And now I’m spilling my secrets on how I was able to afford tickets, get invited to a few pool parties, and everything else I’m doing to prepare for my weekend in Indio.

Getting Tickets

coachella music festival

I’m not gonna lie, I was a little let down when I found out Beyoncé wasn’t headlining. But I’m still stoked for Mama Monster! This will be my second time seeing her. The truth is, I got my ticket during the pre-sale before the lineup was even announced. For years, my college bestie and I have wanted to go to Coachella. Last year, we did a little digging and decided we were going to make it happen in 2017. Let’s be real, the tickets are EXPENSIVE! Plus, I have to factor in the cost of travel from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Getting my ticket during the pre-sale is the only way I was able to afford the festival. During the pre-sale, you have the option to do a payment plan. Instead of paying nearly $500 at once for tickets and a shuttle pass, I paid about $80 a month for a few months, which made it much more affordable.

TIP:​ The pre-sale tickets sell out quickly and there are only a few payment plan slots. So when the pre-sale dates are announced, put a reminder on your calendar!

Where to Stay

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As soon as the tickets went on sale to the public, we booked our hotel room. We didn’t want all of the affordable options selling out. There are many different types of accommodations at Coachella depending on your budget and the experience you want to have. There’s tent or car camping for the budget-friendly party animal. If glamping is more your style, the on-site Safari Tents look fabulous and, while expensive, the Teepees at Lake Eldorado are the epitome of Coachella vibes. We decided on a mid-range hotel that’s walking distance to a shuttle stop. Making it easy to pregame and save a few coins on cocktails and an Uber.

Where to Play

the ferris wheel at coachella music festival

I’m a sleuth. So researching and planning are my ideas of fun. While I’ve never been to Coachella, I have been to similar music festivals like OutsideLands in San Francisco. I learned that one of the most important things to do before the festival is listening to the lineup and narrowing down which bands you want to see. There are seven different stages and over 150 performers, so I’ve been listening to the Coachella playlist on YouTube and saving my favorites to my own playlist.

I also wanted to get on the guest list of some of those VIP pool parties. So I’ve used the interwebs to make that happen. Mostly thanks to links like this. I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that you basically have to know Rachel Zoe herself to get invited to her uber-exclusive, Italian-inspired Zoasis. And I’m pretty sure my invite for the Revolve Festival got lost in the mail. Still, I was able to get on a few guest lists without having to promise my firstborn to anyone. Although, I did learn that it’s now common practice to supply your social media handles when RSVPing.

How to Budget

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I make some of my income as a freelancer, so it’s normal for me to get paid via PayPal. One of the easiest ways I’ve been able to save money is by not touching my Paypal account for a couple of months. By doing just that, I was able to save up enough to pay for my hotel, order a few things online and leave me with $100 per day for spending money. Coachella is more about the experience than any material item I could buy. Getting to LA from Atlanta has been quite an experience, complete with late flights, missed trains and broken suitcases. So, to be honest, souvenirs just aren’t in my budget! But, what’s a better souvenir than some epic Instaworthy photos?

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About The Author

Annette Richmond is a California Girl with a traveler's heart. This digital nomad if a self-proclaimed Fat Girl and staunch supporter of the Body Positive Movement. She's worked in the fashion industry for over ten years and is excited to see the change happening in the plus size industry. Traveling is her newest obsession. She's visited over 14 countries in the last two years. She'll be moving to Asia later this year to study culture, fashion, and beauty. She is also the creator of the group Fat Girls Traveling. Which aims to take the stigma out of the F word and encourage big and beautiful women to jump in front of the camera!