Carpoolchella: a Survival Guide for Your Coachella Road Trip

posted by Rose Mardit on April 09, 2013

Photo: Carpoolchella Participants 2012 by Global Inheritance

Indio, California -- Since 2007, Coachella attendees have had the opportunity to participate in one of the several sustainability initiatives organized by the festival. By taking part in a ride-share with four or more people, Carpoolchella participants not only save money and reduce their environmental impact, but the generous folks at Coachella sweeten the deal by offering special prizes, ranging from vouchers to VIP upgrades to the ultimate in festival swag: VIP tickets to Coachella for life.

As the seasoned road trippers among us know, these car rides can be as tedious as they are rewarding. Here are a few tips for making the most of your journey to Coachella.

Make sure the car is ready for the trip. Check the oil, transmission fluid, tire pressure, and air conditioning. Bring a spare tire, and know how to change it.

Familiarize yourself with the route. Agree upon how you’ll be getting there before you leave, that way there is no confusion and no need for arguments later on. If you plan to use a GPS system or smartphone, bring a paper map along as well - yes, those still exist.

Budget plenty of time. Few things are worse than being in a rush, especially if that means being in danger of missing your favorite band’s set. The Coachella Valley is bound to be congested due to the influx of festival goers; so plan to leave earlier than you need to and account for pit stops and that inevitable traffic.

Get comfortable. Think of this like air travel, only car rides can be substantially longer and therefore all the more exhausting. You’re with friends and there is really no need to impress the other road-trippers milling about at highway rest stops; just wear sweats, slippers, whatever is most cozy, and make sure that you are dressing in layers. Definitely bring sunglasses for the glare and a neck pillow for naps. An eye mask and a pair of earplugs are nice to have on hand too.

Take turns. Remember basic road trip etiquette: distribute the driving responsibilities fairly and don’t take command of the music for too long. If it's late at night and you are in the passenger seat, stay awake to keep the driver company.

Pack the essentials. Snacks on snacks on snacks, please. A case of bottled water. Car-compatible phone chargers. Also, Mad Libs.

Take it in. Allow for diversions. Say yes to an unplanned stop at that scenic outlook. Laugh. Enjoy the little things.

Want to get involved with Carpoolchella? Just write “Carpoolchella” on a piece of paper and place it on the dashboard, or go all out and paint the car windows, and there will be “Secret Spotters” keeping their eyes out for carpool groups as they come in. To join an existing road trip, check the Coachella event page on Zimride (many still have seats available.) Good luck snagging those prizes, and enjoy the drive!

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