For many (many) people, the appeal of a weekend of live music, art, and festive drug use in the middle of the desert is obvious. But in order to participate in all the mayhem at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, you have to actually get to the desert. Sure, it’s normally only a two-hour drive from LA, but nothing makes traffic crawl like 200,000 festival-goers all on the same road, and car camping spaces are already sold out for the 2016 festivals (which start April 15).
Call in a chopper
Uber has been experimenting with helicopter rides for a while now, and it appears the company has found enough customers who are just rich enough to think of taking a helicopter somewhere, but just stingy enough to use a ride-hailing app to do so. UberCHOPPER is offering one-way trips from Van Nuys to Indio for just a little over $4,000, which includes SUV service to the Van Nuys Airport, as well as drinks before takeoff—because there’s nothing quite like being drunk in a helicopter.
This method of transportation might be a little pricey, but it can’t be beat for sheer exhilaration or expediency; the ride to Indio lasts less than an hour.
Yes, this is technically just driving with friends. But carpooling is part of festival culture at this point. Some might say there’s no better way to get to Coachella than in the backseat of a multicolored Volkswagen bus, crammed between a couple of sweaty people you found on Craigslist.
As an added bonus, Coachella encourages carpooling with an annual contest to reward groups of people traveling together. All that’s required for entry is a sign on the vehicle that says “Carpoolchella.” The selection of winners is a little shady; according to the site, “At random times, random cars with 4 or more people with CARPOOLCHELLA on their dash or written on their car will be approached for questioning.” Still, this ominous-sounding process could lead to some great results: the grand prize is lifetime VIP passes for everyone in the car.
Take a shuttle
This is by far the most boring option, but certainly one of the more practical. Shuttle passes to and from LAX are available for $50, and $60 buys an any line pass that will get you on shuttles traveling between stops all over the Coachella Valley.
Take a shuttle from Mexico
Much better. It’s not entirely clear how many of these travel packages remain, but they include roundtrip transportation from Tijuana to the festival on a private bus, along with three-day passes and access to tent camping. All that will run you $769, not too far off from the base price of attendance when transportation and camping costs are included. Sure, you still have to figure out how to get to Mexico, but if you happen to be there already, this seems like the way to go.