CostOfCoachella
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The Cost Of Coachella: 5 Other Things You Could Have Done For The Same Money

Recently, the average cost of Coachella has been on my mind.  Like many of my millennial peers, my Facebook and Instagram feed has been hijacked by Coachella-enthusiasts with carefully curated photos of their trendy outfits and #candied poses for all of the world to enjoy.  #Jelly I’ve been to a few music festivals back in my day, but when I did some research about the cost of attendance, from the tickets to the hotels to the outfits, I nearly dropped my artisan organic mint tea.  First of all, who in their right-mind would want to be within 100 yards of Justin Bieber? Secondly, why are millennials complaining about “being broke?”  If you’re anywhere NEAR Coachella, baby got bank. Period.  There’s no way you can disprove this fact because people spend MORE at Coachella than some families earn a year. Here’s a break down of some of the basic costs of Coachella that my good friends at CNN Money helped me with (plus a few of my own assumptions):

Weekend Tickets: $375 (VIP $899)
– Secondary market: $550-$2,000

Flights/Transportation into So Cal: $400-$1000
– $100-$200 if you’re driving

Shuttling to & from Coachella: $80

Hotels: $300-$500 per night
– AirBnb: $150 per night (For a shitty place)
– Camping Spot: $85 per weekend (For a 10×15 space of grass)

Food: Anywhere from $15 -$25 per meal from sketchy food trucks with low grade food quality
(Water + Main Meal + Side Dish)

Clothing: Designer what?
– Hippie headband: $10-$80
– “Vintage-inspired” high-waisted shorts: $60-150
– Fringe crop-top: $10-$80
– Fair-trade hand-made backpack: $50-$200

Drugs & Booze: GET OUT.

So let’s be conservative and say that “Becky” did everything right, lived in CA, and tried to get the best deals possible.  Even if she bought 3 entire outfit at H&M and remained sober (sounds fun) around hordes of drunk/high bros/bro-etts, she’s still dropping $690 without the cost of food. Factor in three square meals a day plus a few extra water bottles throughout the day, since you know-Coachella is in a freaking desert, let’s tack on another $200.

That’s at least $880 dollars to be sober, dirty, clad in basics, and sleep-deprived since partying goes on till the ass-crack of dawn.  Becky, go home.  What were you even thinking?

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Here’s another 5 things you could have done instead of wasting your money on Coachella.

1)  2 week tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

– I know this because I literally spent LESS than $880 dollars on my trip and I STILL felt like I was living la vida expensive. If you look under my “Cambodia” tab, you’ll get to see of all the INSANELY beautiful activities that I got to participate in while expanding my cultural understanding and investing in myself.  Seeing how the rest of the world lives is an important lesson for millennials to experience as it encourages empathy and social responsibility.

2) Fly round trip from London to NYC

– Less than 3 weeks ago, I booked my round trip flight from London to NYC for 320 GBP or $478 USD to come to America this summer to visit family and friends for 6 weeks.  I’ll be bouncing from place to place without paying anything for accommodation, but I’ll still have the luxuries of a warm bed, hot shower, and cats to cuddle with unlike poor Becky at Coachella.  Damn Becky, you missed out.

3) You could fly, round trip, to literally any of these countries according to Sky Scanner.

– Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Finland, Hong Kong, Peru, Spain, Poland, France, and Hungary.

4) You could road trip around America 

I’m a big fan of road trips because it’s a great way to spend quality time with another human being and I like the freedom that comes with being able to stop where ever and when ever you want.  According to Cost 2 Drive, you can drive from Los Angeles to Boston for around $178.06 in a typical 2015 Honda Civic.  If you Couch Surf or AirBnB it, you could probably make it under $880 depending how long you hangout at different pit-stops.  I’ve been to 38 states and counting since I started traveling at the ripe age of 5. FIVE. My family and I took a road trip to the Grand Canyon where I got this dope Lizard Tee that changed color with the sunlight.  Ah the memories.

5) You could pay for an entire Associates Degree or part of a Bachelors 

In California, an average associates degree (2 years) tuition will cost you $46 dollars per unit and Cal State tuition rings in at about 5,000 USD per year (4 years).  Those $1000 dollars you just spent at Coachella is a big deal.

People often tell me that Coachella “changes their lives” or is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” or that it’s somewhat of a “spiritual experience.”  These people are incredibly out of touch from reality.  You know what literally changes your life? A diploma. You know how many people actually have the privilege of attending university in the entire world? 1%.  Kardashian watching is not and will never be considered a form of “spiritual awakening.”  Sorry, it’s just not.

Traveling the world is about smart, reasonable financial decisions. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always have keenest financial mind, but I recognize when something just doesn’t make sense. All millennials should be investing in his or her personal development and skills; and not just our Facebook timelines.  If you have the financial means to go to Coachella, function as a well-to-do tax-paying citizen, AND can afford to see the world, you are winning at life. Ignore me. You (or your parents) are clearly doing everything right.

But for the other 99% percent of the population who’s living pay-check-to-pay-check just trying “get by,” recognize that there are small financial decisions that make a difference. Plain and simple.

I saw nearly ALL of south-east Asia for far less than the cost of the average “Coachella” experience.  You tell me what was more “life changing.”

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About Vanessa Elizabeth

Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.

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  • Roland

    The writer “enjoys sports, cooking, and DEMOLISHING HER SAVINGS ACCOUNT.” And she’s complaining about how people spend their money? Also, 99% of the population are not living paycheck to paycheck trying to get by. There’s plenty of people (who went to Coachella) that are financially responsible.

  • jack

    Look, we get it you think you know the world better than everyone else through your life changes experiences. However, you fail to analyze this cost/benefit from the perspective of someone with a fulltime job.

    Ie. there are many indirect costs associated with a “two week SEA adventure.” Without even taking about the round trip flights from NY or SF, etc anyone with a job is going to have a lot more trouble taking 2+ weeks off vs a weekend at coachella. But lets assume they can get the time off but need to take it unpaid. If for example, a person make 40k a year and takes two weeks unpaid they are leaving >$1,500 on the table. Suddenly your two week trip just got a lot more expensive..

  • I had no idea Coachella was so expensive! Wow. I would definitely rather scheme on how to finance another international trip than spend upwards of $1000 for a weekend, at best. $1000 for a month or two to temporarily live abroad somewhere? That sounds more like it!

  • Peter

    Your SEA expenses don’t factor in flights as if you were starting in the US, like these coachella-goers. Plz consider that before putting it as an option. Flights along would be more than 1k

  • Tara

    Weekend Tickets: $375
    Flights/Transportation into So Cal: $175
    Biking to and from : $50
    Condos with pools: $200 total
    Food: Anywhere from $5 -$15 per dinner from artisan, locally sourced food trucks and restaurants at the Festival. Farmers markets for breakfast and lunch
    Water: Free refillable stations for all coachella attendees
    Clothing: own most
    – Hippie headband/bandana from wallgreens: $2
    – “Vintage-inspired” high-waisted shorts: $15
    – Fringe crop-top: $15
    – Fair-trade hand-made backpack: Bought for $5 in Asia

    As someone who seems to have had as many “life changing experiences” as you, it sounds like you still have a long way to go. The true meaning of life isn’t automatically brought to you by the amount of states you’ve visited or how cheap you were able to travel a country. It’s about the people you share experiences with and how you treat them. It’s really disappointing to read a millennial call out other millennial’s as if you have it all figured out before you’ve even reached your mid 20s. Don’t waste your time trying to tell other people why their experiences aren’t as great as yours. You should try practicing tolerance and understanding before judging. You can base your articles off of reading celebrity blogs if you want, or you can talk to the majority of festival attendees who are world travelers, mothers, fathers, friends, CEO’s, non-profit employees, college graduates, etc. and really learn what it is about.

    I’ll never understand why some people feel it is there duty to tell others how to spend their hard earned money and time. Don’t use this platform to tear people down. Use it to challenge yourself to learn more about things you don’t understand.

  • Madeline

    Preach, girl, preach!!