The Do’s and Don’ts of Coachella

This year I headed to Coachella for the first time. As it was my first Coachella, I did some things right, and quite a few things wrong.

I wanted to highlight my top ten tips that will improve your Coachella experience immensely. Or I mean, at least prevent a second-degree sunburn.

DO remember you can’t see every show.

Coachella is overwhelming because there are so many amazing shows running at the same time. But sadly, you can’t see all of them. (Unless of course, you go both weekends. If you have enough money and energy for that, GO FOR IT.)

For example, I missed Run the Jewels because I wanted a good spot at Matoma. Such is life.

And while it’s tempting to try to see every. single. show. you can’t. So just enjoy the ones you do see.

DON’T arrive past noon if you’re camping.

We arrived at around 3 p.m., and got a so-so camping spot in the middle of the campground. Due to our late-ish arrival, it took about 15-20 minutes to walk to the stages.

Moral of the story – it’s best to arrive early if you’re camping. Noon is a safe bet.

DO plan your outfits and bring extra clothes.

The Do's and Don'ts of Coachella

One of my biggest Coachella regrets was packing too light. Most of my clothes were covered in dust by day two, but I only had three outfits. So, dusty clothes it was! And I regretted packing short skirts – they’re terrible to dance in.

Pro tip – bring clothes that represent where you’re from. My friend Mike got countless compliments from his Colorado hat, which was also a great icebreaker.

DON’T be afraid to sit down before the show to get the best spot.

If there’s a show you want a good spot for, sit on the ground cross-legged until right before the show starts. No one can make you move, and you’ll have way more space once the show starts.

DO wear (and reapply) sunscreen.

I got (very) burnt at Coachella due to sloppy sunscreen application. So make sure to carefully apply sunscreen to your body and face.

My favorite facial sunscreen is Eltamd because it doesn’t smell like sunscreen, has SPF 46, has UVA/UVB protection, and is oil-free. I wear it every day.

My favorite body sunscreen is Sunbum Spray Sunscreen because it has SPF 50 and smells like pina coladas.

DON’T irresponsibly use drugs.

There are a lot of drugs at Coachella and security takes them very seriously. We saw a guy get dragged out of Chainsmokers and arrested for drug possession. My friend saw a guy seizing on the ground, most likely due to drugs. So be prudent – you may be at Coachella, but that doesn’t mean you can irresponsibly use drugs.

DO make sure your makeup lasts.


Coachella is so hot your makeup melts right off. However, you can prevent this by using setting spray and setting powder.

After doing my makeup (everything except my eyes), I spritzed on Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which kept my makeup intact all day. I also carried around a mini Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder if my face started to get greasy mid-day.

Also, a fake tan never hurts, especially when you’re in California. I was so glad I used St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse to bronze my pasty midwinter skin. Plus, everyone at Coachella is bronzed and gorgeous and toned, so a little fake tan goes a long way.

DO be aware the first and second weekends have their pros and cons.

The first and second weekends have different vibes. Apparently people from LA go to pool parties in Indio the first weekend, then the actual festival the second.

I liked attending Coachella the first weekend because all surprise musical guests are just that – a surprise. Also the grass on the camping grounds is fresher – I heard it gets pretty gnarly by weekend two.

DO plan to have a day (or two) off after Coachella.

Trust me, you’ll need time to sleep and recover!

DON’T miss getting In-N-Out after the festival.

The Dos and Don'ts of Coachella

Because you’re in California, duh.

What tips do you have for Coachella?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

3 thoughts on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Coachella”

  1. I’m going to admit…I clicked on this post entirely because of that mouthwatering photo of In-N-Out. As a native Californian who grew up eating In-N-Out, I wholeheartedly concur…do NOT come to California without trying that tasty goodness.

    As for the rest of the tips, so true! haha :)
    Great post!

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