How much does it cost to attend for two New Yorkers
- The Insider 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.
- This total does not even include a GA ticket. As media, we had access to the festival for free.
Insider’s music team was on the ground for Coachella’s return in 2022, after two years of postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19.
For music journalist Callie Ahlgrim, a festival enthusiast, and editor Courteney Larocca, a festival newbie, this was our first time attending the world-famous event in Indio, California.
Coachella is known for its Ferris wheel, fashion trends and line-up of stars, but also for its exclusivity. Attendance isn’t cheap, with the lowest level 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 got free GA access to the festival. However, we still managed to spend over $5,000 on the trip.
Keep reading for a full breakdown of our expenses.
After considering 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 charged a shorter lead time.
Two return flights: $1,250.40
We traveled from John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Diego International Airport on Wednesday April 13th. We brought a red eye back to New York on Monday, April 18.
We decided to fly to San Diego because it was hundreds of dollars cheaper than flying direct to Palm Springs, the closest airport to Coachella. (Most return tickets from JFK to PSP for the first weekend of the festival were around $2,000 each.)
We were also excited to get 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, instead of using a rideshare app or public transportation.
We also wanted flexibility when arriving at the festival and leaving each evening. The drive from Coachella to our Airbnb in Palm Springs should have taken about 40 minutes each way.
Unfortunately, we found that driving to and from the festival was not as flexible or seamless as we had hoped.
Parking on arrival was a nightmare, and thanks to traffic in the parking lots, it took us two hours to get home after Billie Eilish’s second day headliner. We got back to our Airbnb at 3:30am
Of course, some festival-goers opt for the Shuttle bus, but it only works from local hotels. Expensive rooms were mostly sold out by the time we were able to watch, and the shuttle itself isn’t cheap either: a weekend pass will set you back $84, plus fees.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. We drove a lot and gas prices in the United States are skyrocketing right now.
Other transportation: $269.48
Callie lives in Brooklyn, while Courteney lives in New Jersey.
Because we arrived at 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-sharing 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 big expense, so we tried to be more strict 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 had breakfast before arriving at the festival each day.
We also stopped on the way back to the airport for our first taste of In-N-Out, which was the cheapest and best meal we had the whole trip.
Additional caffeine: $80.33
When you’re up from noon to 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 shopping, we spent an extra $80 on coffee and soda to get through the weekend.
It’s also worth mentioning that a small cup of hot coffee at Coachella is $10 a pop.
Other necessities: $61.79
As with any trip, we had to pick up a few unexpected items after our arrival.
But that was especially true for Coachella, which was a more physically demanding experience than expected.
With the amount of standing, walking and dancing we did at the festival – coupled with the extremely hot sun, especially for us East Coasters – we ended up buying ibuprofen, shoe inserts gel, bandages, portable fans and plenty of sunscreen from local stores.
Our opinion ? It wasn’t really worth it.
Follow Insider’s Coachella coverage here.