Insider’s music team traveled from New York to attend Coachella for the first time this year.
We spent $5,023.33 during the trip on food, airfare, lodging in Palm Springs, and other essentials.
That total doesn’t even include a GA ticket. As media, we got access to the festival for free.
Insider’s music team was on the ground for Coachella’s 2022 return, following two years of postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19.
Coachella is known for its Ferris wheel, fashion trends, and star-heavy lineup — but also for exclusivity. Attendance is not cheap, with the lowest tier of general admission priced at $449, plus fees. Naturally, access to the festival’s famous VIP attractions is even more expensive.
As members of the media, we were granted GA access to the festival for free. However, we still managed to spend more than $5,000 on the trip.
Keep reading for a complete breakdown of our expenses.
After looking at several options and carefully weighing our priorities, we decided to book a room at a low-key rental resort in Palm Springs.
We were able to spend six days and five nights in California for less money than the cheapest hotels associated with Coachella were charging for a shorter timeline.
Two round-trip flights: $1,250.40
We traveled from John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Diego International Airport on Wednesday, April 13. We took a red-eye back to New York City on Monday, April 18.
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 listed for approximately $2,000 each.)
We were also excited about catching a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean before making our way 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 per day, plus insurance.
We decided this would allow us to travel between San Diego to Palm Springs on our own terms — as opposed to using a ride-hailing app or public transportation.
We also wanted flexibility when arriving at the festival and leaving each night. The drive between Coachella and our Airbnb in Palm Springs should have been about 40 minutes each way.
Unfortunately, we found that driving to and from the festival wasn’t as flexible or seamless as we’d hoped.
Parking upon arrival was a nightmare, and thanks to traffic in the lots, it took us two hours to get home after Billie Eilish’s headlining set on day two. We arrived back at our Airbnb at 3:30 a.m.
Of course, some festivalgoers opt for the shuttle, but it only operates from local hotels. The expensive rooms had mostly sold out by the time we were able to browse, and the shuttle itself isn’t cheap either: a weekend pass will put you out $84, plus fees.
This is pretty self-explanatory. We were driving a lot, and gas prices in the US are sky-high at the moment.
Other transportation: $269.48
Callie lives in Brooklyn, while Courteney lives in New Jersey.
Because we arrived to JFK at 5:30 a.m. for our trip on Wednesday and landed at 4:30 a.m. the following Tuesday, we both used ride-hailing apps to travel between the airport and our respective homes.
Given the astronomical cost of festival food, we knew food was going to be a large expense, so we tried to be stricter with the budget when we weren’t on the festival grounds.
We bought groceries for the two days we were in California before Coachella kicked off and ate breakfast before arriving at the festival each day.
We also stopped on our way back to the airport for our first taste of In-N-Out, which was the cheapest and best meal we had throughout the entire trip.
Additional caffeine: $80.33
When you’re on your feet from noon until 2 a.m. for three days straight — in the desert, no less — you’re going to need a lot of caffeine. Outside of our regular meals and grocery trips, we spent an additional $80 on coffee and soda to get us through the weekend.
It’s also worth mentioning that a small cup of hot coffee at Coachella costs $10 a pop.
Other necessities: $61.79
As with any trip, we had to pick up a few unexpected items after we arrived.
But this was especially true of Coachella, a more physically demanding experience than we expected.
With the amount of standing, walking, and dancing we did at the festival — paired with the extremely hot sun, particularly for us East Coast dwellers — we ended up purchasing ibuprofen, gel shoe inserts, band-aids, portable fans, and lots of sunscreen from local shops.
Our verdict? It wasn’t really worth it.
Follow along with Insider’s Coachella coverage here.
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