Coachella Survival Guide

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Hey guys!  I wanted to do a post like this last year but just never got around to it.  Last year was my first time at Coachella and there was so much I wish I knew before heading out to the Polo grounds that first day.  This year I felt WAAAAY more prepared and feel like anyone thinking about attending next year (presale is right around the corner) should know a few things before the big weekend.

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Second year hanging with my girl Brooke from The Trapped Fashionista.

Before You Go:

Pick a weekend.  Yes, this matters.  Weekend 1 is MUCH harder to get tickets for as it’s the big celebrity/influencer/media weekend.  It’s also much more of a “scene” than weekend 2 with brand activations across the valley, pool parties, after parties, blogger brunches, etc (you can read about my weekend 1 experience HERE).  Weekend 1 is more about the WOW factor and the fashion while weekend 2 is more about the music.  It feels less crowded because there aren’t as many photogs and celebs with Artist Passes.

Buy your tickets early.  This may seem so random as the lineup is never announced until January but believe me, there is so much less stress knowing you have your tickets before the epic lineup is released.  Year one we waited to purchase and I honestly felt like I was disarming a bomb trying to snag the coveted tickets.  When presale happened last June we knew we were going to purchase and take advantage of the payment plan option to spread the cost over 6 months.

Book your stay ASAP.  I am lucky enough to live in Palm Springs but newsflash: hotels book fast and the price keeps going up.  It’s as simple as the basic economics rule of supply & demand.  Over 100,000 people come into the area for the festival and there are simply not enough hotel rooms/AirBNB options.  Also, if you are thinking of weekend 1 remember that brands and events book space months in advance.  Most places offer a refund with enough notice in case you have to cancel for any reason.  Also, AirBNB goes faster than hotels.

If you aren’t going to camp (gross) invest in the Shuttle Pass.  This is seriously the best $60 we spend each year.  There are shuttles all over the Valley and most of the major hotels have a stop.  The shuttles are huge charter busses that run from 11am to 1 hour after the last performance ends.  We end up taking Bloody Marys and Mimosas with us each morning and start the party on the road.

Start shopping early.  This may sound so unbelievably shallow but honestly, start shopping in January.  The worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute and end up with uncomfortable shoes or clothes that are too small/too big.  I did all my shopping in January/February this year and was so much more comfortable than last year.

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Dress // Sunnies // Bag // Booties // Turban (c/o Diane’s Swimwear, similar HERE)// Necklace

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Crop Top // Shorts // Bag // Kimono (Vintage but similar HERE) // Necklace (c/o Mirina Collections use code NICOLEBOWENXOX for a discount) // Sunnies

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Crop Top // Skirt // Gladiators (c/o DSW) // Hat // Bag // Necklace // Sunnies

What to Bring:

Last year we had no idea that a bandana is a necessity for Coachella.  Between the cigarette (and other) smoke for 3 straight days and the seasonal winds/dust a bandana is your bestie.  I bought a bunch of cute ones this year and used them to cover my face, keep my hair off my face, and even tied one around my neck at one point.  If you forget one most of the General Stores at Coachella sell them but they go FAST so don’t forget to do that on Friday.

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Sunscreen.  Yes, people actually forget this.  I sprayed myself down with SPF30 each day before heading out and used my daily face SPF and was totally fine but we also make a point of seeking shade whenever possible.  Security checks are tight and spray sunblock is not allowed so be sure to have travel packs of some in your bag.

A scarf or Turkish towel.  It’s a long day at Coachella and sometimes you will just want to sit down and there is really no place to do that other than the ground.  Last year we grabbed some Turkish towels and they were perfect to sit on and also to wrap up in when it got windy and cool.  Security is strict on actual towels/blankets coming in so these 2 options are perfect.

A purse that zips.  Hear me out, I bought the cutest bag thinking I would use it all weekend for the festival.  I used it one day.  I love the bag and it’s perfect for day to day life but the snap closure just made me so nervous all day that my wallet or phone was going to fall out.  By day 2 I was using my tried and true Rebecca Minkoff MAC bag from last year.

What to Expect:

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Expect to stand in a lot of lines for everything from ID check to bathrooms.  If you are over 21 get the ID check done early, as the day goes on and more people come out for the evening the lines get way longer.  Same goes for food lines, bathroom lines, drink lines….plan ahead.

There is actually no possible way with a GA ticket to see everyone you want to see.  The polo grounds are HUGE and trying to force your way through crowds to get from the Coachella stage to the Sahara tent can take upwards of 20 minutes at times.  Figure out early (I use the app to help with this) who is the most important for you to see and go with the flow for the rest of it, trust me, you’ll be happier.

If you really want to see someone and want to be close to the stage go to the show before and just wait it out.  I was dead set on being front row for Chris Stapleton this year (yes, a country artist played Coachella, get over it) so I went to the Autolux show before.  It totally paid off and I watched Chris from the front row center, right on the rail.

Eat all the good food.  I have a friend who cannot be bothered to eat at Coachella, she is too busy dancing and partying but for me the yummy food has become part of the experience.  A few of my favorites this year were the Milky Buns from Afters Ice Cream, the crab fries, Lobster rolls, and of course, the arepas, these delish corn cake/mozzarella cheese concoctions from Columbia.  We ate one each day.  PS – Shout out to my girls at the Rosé All Day booth that took care of me and my wino needs for 3 straight days.

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Don’t forget about the experiences!  Yes, Coachella is about music but it’s also about art and each year there are numerous art installations all over the polo fields that are so cool!  There are also unique pop up shops like H&M, Pandora, and my favorite of the year, Perverse Sunglasses.  (more on Perverse coming soon!)

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It was so cool getting to experience Coachella with Lucy and her friends this year!

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Bracelets // Studded Bangle (c/o Rocksbox, use code THEDARLINGNIKIXOXO for 1 month free) // Pink Bangle

Already counting down to Coachella 2017…until then, peace out!

XO, Niki

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