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How to Go to Coachella on a Budget
That time of year has come again, marking the blossoming spring weather for most of the country and, of course, the migration of indie, rock and hip-hop music lovers to Coachella Valley for the infamous annual music festival. Maybe the two biggest questions on concert goers’ minds are: “Can I afford to go?” and if you actually manage to save the money, “Is Coachella worth it?”

With the first Coachella weekend beginning Friday and tickets on the official website sold out, you can either plan ahead for next year, or be spontaneous and hit the road for this year’s unique line up.

Getting Your Hands on Coachella Tickets

First things first — the tickets. Your best bet for scoring Coachella tickets is when they are first released around the beginning of each January, so make sure to sign up for updates from Coachella’s website, Twitter and Facebook.

However, there are still some available through sites like StubHub, TicketsNow and Craigslist — at an inflated price. My best suggestion is using social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to communicate with fellow Coachella fans, as you might make a friend while finding more reasonably priced tickets through word of mouth.

I’ve seen many people selling extra tickets they happen to have on their Facebook. While on Twitter, definitely follow @coachella for frequent updates and chances to win wristband upgrades and other prizes. If you already have your wristband, you can sign up directly on the Coachella website for potential upgrades and extra features.

You can also take the “stand-by” route, and see if anyone is selling tickets the day of around the camping areas or elsewhere near the festival. There have been some reports of people getting wristbands for much less than their original price by just being at the right place at the right time!

Traveling Coachella Weekend

Carpooling is an easy and eco-friendly way of getting to and from Coachella while saving on gas, and there is great incentive to do this: As long as you have four or more people in your vehicle and paint the word “Carpoolchella” somewhere on your car, you have the chance to be spotted for a contest. The group that has the best decorated car can win different prizes, like VIP passes or even a Coachella pass for life.

If you need to join a carpool group or want to put one together, try ZimRide, where you can find others in your area who want to go to the festival.

Where to Stay

There are many hotel packages and camping pass options posted on Coachella’s official page, but act quickly, as these Coachella weekend packages tend to go fast.

Off-site camping is very favorable for last-minute attendees, where you can even bring an RV and take advantage of a more “home away from home” environment. If you stay close enough to the festival, there are shuttle passes still left for the second weekend.

Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle, as there are free drinking fountains scattered among the festival. Coachella has teamed up with Global Inheritance to provide a recycling program for water bottles. If you bring or collect 10 plastic water bottles or cans, you’ll receive points toward prizes like sunscreen, posters and reusable bottles. Check out the Facebook page for more details.

While at Coachella, you’ll have more opportunities to meet others who might have extra space in their tent or know some unannounced events going on in the campgrounds (where some bands also play), so keep an open mind and be kind, as this can go a long way at the festival! As always, be safe, wear lightweight clothing, bring your sunscreen and have fun while on your excursion into the desert.

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