The Insider music team traveled from New York to attend Coachella for the first time this year. We spent $5,023.33 on food, airfare, lodging in Palm Springs, and other necessities during the trip. That total doesn’t even include a GA ticket. As media we got free access to the festival. Loading Something is loading.
Insider’s music team was on site for Coachella’s 2022 return, after two years of postponement and cancellation due to COVID-19.
For both music reporter Callie Ahlgrim, a festival enthusiast, and entertainment editor Courteney Larocca, a festival novice, this was the first time we attended the world-famous event in Indio, California.
Coachella is known for its Ferris wheel, fashion trends and star-heavy lineup, as well as exclusivity. Attendance doesn’t come cheap, with the lowest tier of general admission priced at $449, plus fees. Of course, entry to the festival’s famous VIP attractions is even more expensive.
As members of the media we got free access to the festival. However, we still managed to spend over $5,000 on the trip.
Keep reading for a full rundown of our releases.
Our Airbnb was located in Palm Springs, about a 40 minute drive from Coachella. Callie Ahlgrim
After reviewing several options and carefully weighing our priorities, we decided to book a room at a quiet rental resort in Palm Springs.
We were able to spend six days and five nights in California for less money than Coachella’s cheapest hotels charged for a shorter timeline.
Two round trips: $1,250.40
We traveled from John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Diego International Airport on Wednesday, April 13. On Monday, April 18, we took a red-eye back to New York City.
We decided to fly to San Diego because it was hundreds of dollars cheaper than flying directly to Palm Springs, the closest airport to Coachella. (Most round-trip tickets from JFK to PSP for the festival’s first weekend were offered for about $2,000 each.)
We arrived in San Diego on Wednesday, April 13. Callie Ahlgrim
We were also excited about catching a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean before heading inland.
Rental car: $598.85
We used Enterprise to rent a car for the duration of our stay in California: six days for about $82 a day, plus insurance.
We decided this would allow us to travel between San Diego and Palm Springs on our own terms, rather than using an app or public transit.
We also wanted flexibility when arriving at the festival and leaving every night. The drive between Coachella and our Airbnb in Palm Springs should have taken about 40 minutes.
We drove back and forth to the festival every day, which was harder than we expected. Callie Ahlgrim
Unfortunately, we didn’t find the driving to and from the festival as flexible or seamless as we’d hoped.
Parking on arrival was a nightmare, and thanks to the traffic on the lots it took us two hours to get home after Billie Eilish headlined on day two. We got back to our Airbnb at 3:30am
Sure, some festival-goers opt for the shuttle, but it only runs from local hotels. The expensive rooms were mostly sold out by the time we could see, and the shuttle itself isn’t cheap either: A weekend pass will set you back $84, plus fees.
This is pretty obvious. We drove a lot and gas prices in the US are sky high right now.
Other transportation: $269.48
Callie lives in Brooklyn, while Courteney lives in New Jersey.
Since we arrived at JFK at 5:30am on Wednesday for our trip and landed at 4:30am the following Tuesday, we both used ride-hailing apps to travel between the airport and our respective homes.
Chicken tenders at Coachella and In-N-Out burgers on the way to the airport. Callie Ahlgrim
Given the astronomical cost of festival food, we knew food would be a major expense, so we tried to be stricter on the budget when we weren’t at the festival site.
We bought groceries for the two days we were in California before Coachella started and ate breakfast every day before arriving at the festival.
We also stopped on our way back to the airport for our first taste of In-N-Out, the cheapest and best meal we had on the entire trip.
Additional Caffeine: $80.33
If you’re on your feet from noon to 2 a.m. for three days—in the desert, no less—you need a lot of caffeine. In addition to our regular meals and groceries, we spent another $80 on coffee and soda to get through the weekend.
It’s also worth noting that a small cup of hot coffee at Coachella costs $10 each.
Other Supplies: $61.79
As with any trip, we had to pick up a few unexpected items after we arrived.
But this was especially true for Coachella, which was a more physically demanding experience than we expected.
With the amount of standing, walking and dancing we did at the festival – coupled with the extremely hot sun, especially for us East Coast residents – we ended up buying ibuprofen, gel shoe inserts, band-aids, portable fans and plenty of sunscreen from local stores.
Our verdict? It wasn’t really worth it.
Follow Insider’s Coachella coverage here.
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