Coachella Weekend 1 Diary + Survival Guide

Coachella, at last! The season of dancing unapologetically hand-in-hand with friends, meeting up new friends, soaking up the rays of sunlight, rediscovering yourself freely, getting lost in the waves of the music, and of course, being able to express yourself who you are.

Rather than swamping you with endless photo ops, I thought I’d round you up with something to give you an idea of how my weekend in the desert was like. Coachella definitely got the best (and worst) of me. This was the first of my 2-month long trips this summer and I’ve been very exhausted since I got back. I really wanted to get this post as soon as before my next trip comes up (which is in a few days), and since weekend two is about to start soon, thought I'd share my experience and a few tips for those attending this weekend, while my mind is still fresh.

I lived in Vegas half of my life and this is my first time attending the an out of towner. And what a better way to spend it than to go with a group of 14 people to ensure optimum experience! I have attended baby festivals in the past, and thought I’d give the mother of music festivals a try. It took me a while and a move to TX to finally give in and try it. We decided to purchase weekend 1 tickets plus 5 camping passes for all of us. Yes, camping passes. It was 6 months in the making of planning outfits, and acquiring gears. Camping experience is a must at least once in your Coachella lifetime. It will test you mentally and physically, and it's something you cannot miss. Once you've camped, you earned the right to a comfortable bed after, and appreciate everything at home even more.


Begin preparing in advance. 2 weeks prior to the festival, I had been hydrating and drinking Emergen-C on the daily, while taking other supplemental vitamins. And thank heavens, I got away with only a raspy voice from all the singing and screaming I did. With all of the trips I have, I can NEVER get sick. That's the last thing on my mind. Keep in mind, you will get a lot of exhausting, sleepless nights. Try to catch up on some nap times in between or lounge around in the camp. While you can never get those sleeps back, just know that it will be a commitment to having a good time.

I'm lucky to have friends who plan things out properly, and get reminded regularly on what to bring/do. Things could go wrong easily if we didn't do our homework. We're all travelers and one thing we have in common, we sure do love our itineraries. We have a contact list, grocery list, camping gear list, food menu, and personal checklist all in one spreadsheet, while keeping in touch daily through a group chat. 

I flew from AUS to LAX the night of April 12 straight after an 8-hour workday. Met up with the rest of my out-of-towner friends at the airport, got our rental truck, drove to meet up with the rest of the crew, loaded our gears, planned our carpools, factor in travel times, and all 5 cars are headed to Coachella!

We left at around 2 in the morning from Rancho Cucamonga, and we made it to the camping grounds by 3:30am. Gates don't open until 9am, so we decided to park on a nearby daycare parking lot and take a nap for 2 hours. At 6am, we left to wait in line for the gates to open. After all of the waiting, we were able to get in and set up our tents by 3pm! Just imagine how exhausted we all were!

From all of the stories I have been told about this festival, I expected a dusty desert that gets sandstorms here and there. No. My personal experience wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I saw campgrounds that are green, with the sceneries of palm trees. 

Our Coachella Schedule:
  1. Wake up as early as 7 to line up at the trailer showers. Lines aren't as bad at this time. Give yourself about an hour to an hour and a half, in and out of the shower, tops.
  2. Cook breakfast/brunch and set up table. We cooked our breakfasts the whole time. Our breakfast consists mostly of Filipino food: garlic fried rice, omelette, salted eggs with tomatoes, longganisa, buttered tuna, fried milkfish, orange juice, bread, avocado, mangoes, tocino (marinated pork), bacon, and so much more.
  3. Either laze around or play drinking games.
  4. Get ready to head to the festival grounds, and spend the next 8-10 hours dancing and stage-hopping.
  5. Back to the camping grounds at midnight. Either eat, laze around, or pass out.
  6. Repeat.
One of our breakfasts.
The entrance from the camp to the festival grounds.
My #LittieCommittee on Day 3.
My outfits from Day 0-3.

Day 0, Thursday: Parking spots at the campgrounds are in a first come, first serve basis. If you're coming with a group of people, make sure all cars are right next to each other. We labeled our cars with laminated signs to determine which ones ours (1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc.). Once you're there, this day is the perfect time to chill, set up camp, know your camp neighbors and explore the vicinity before Coachella opens it gates to the rest of the festival goers.

Day 1, Friday: We started in an air-conditioned tent, Yuma. Yes, air-conditioned. Although I didn't know any DJ's playing at the time, it was a good start (and break) from the scorching sun. I also got to see The XX, Empire of the Sun, and BANKS. While some in the my group have seen Radiohead, Capital Cities, and Dillon Francis, as well. BANKS  sounded so good live! I'm a new fan.

Day 2, Saturday: My favorite day, hands-down. I was able to see more performers than I expected to be: Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille, Schoolboy Q, Future, A$ap Rocky, Ty Dollar Sign, Lauren Hill, Lady Gaga, Drake, Travis Scott, and my favorite out of all performances, DJ Snake. I'm still music high from him.

Day 3, Sunday: We spent half the day decluttering our camp and packing most of it before we leave midnight. When we got to the festival, we stayed on one stage pretty much the whole entire time. I've seen Porter Robinson & Madeon for the last time together, Grouplove, Lorde, and Kendrick Lamar. I regret not seeing Kehlani and Martin Garrix, though. They're my absolute favorites.


So prior to the trip, I made a checklist of the things I NEED to bring for my personal use during the festival. I even brought extra clothes and other stuff for my post-Coachella trip (Vegas), and I only packed a duffel bag. These are not everything on my checklist but these are my ultimate necessities that I lived through for 4 days. I can't stress enough how helpful these are to me.

  1. Band aids – When bleep hits the fan and you get stomped on from dancing, or when your ankles blisters from all the walking.
  2. Hair ties – To all my long-haired lovelies! I can’t stress enough how hot it is there. Sweat will weigh your hair down. Put it up at the end of the day and enjoy the party.
  3. Sunscreen- Cover every exposed skin as you can. Make sure to reapply.
  4. Aloe vera gel - If above doesn't work. My shoulders were burnt and this thing saved me.
  5. Sunglasses- I bought 2 cheap pairs that I can just use and abuse. Don't even think about
    bringing your branded sunnies. Trust me, it'll get lost. 
  6. Hydration Pack/backpack - I have 3 packs that I use alternately, as needed. I chose the one with plenty of hidden convenient pockets to slide in my small essentials like a pack of tissue, my portable chargers, and everything small that is listed on here. Definitely a life-saver, not just the compartments, but having water completely accessible to you especially being on a hot, sunny weather all day (it goes up to 100+ degrees). If you're not comfortable bringing a Camelbak, and want it to match your outfit, you can always opt to a trusty, cute backpack. Distributing your weight to the rest of your body is crucial!
  7. Bandana/cap/hat - I've heard a lot of stories about dust storms in Coachella. Personally didn't see it during our stay, but bandanas helps a lot with covering your face when walking through dusty pathways and from smokers, or you'll regret it the next morning when dirt is caked in
    your throat and nose! Anything that will shield your face is a must. 
  8. Packs of tissues/hand sanitizer/baby wipes - Porta-potties don't carry tissues and occasionally runs out of sanitizers. Bring your own. You'll be so grateful you have them, it'll make you cry. 
  9. Meds (heartburn, ibuprofen, allergy, nasal spray)- I'm one of those people who gets heartburn on pretty much every living moment there is to. Take ibuprofen/aspirin before you go to sleep. Sunlight, bass and alcohol can mess with your head. Better be safe than sorry. 
  10. Facial spray – I use Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Rose Water. It is the best make-up product during this time! I originally bought it for my trip to Japan for in-between flights to retain moisture while traveling. I'm glad I brought this with me. This spray leaves a cooling sensation, refreshing taste on my skin when it gets too hot. Eases sunburns too. 
  11. Portable charger – Wall chargers are inaccessible. There is little to no cell reception in Coachella, so your phone battery is guaranteed to die. Last thing you’d want to do is run out of battery power while Snapchatting your favorite artists.
  12. Solar charger – Only if your portable charger battery power runs out. Take advantage of the sun, desert has been generously giving you. Mine was attached with a carabiner on my backpack. Hands-free.
  13. Portable fan - Optional
  14. Close-toe shoesConsidering everything is far away and you're constantly walking miles and miles on grass, dirt, maybe puddle. Your footwear choices really make or break your whole experience. Thankfully, I didn't make a mistake of wearing sandals. Even if you're wearing sneakers, you will get stomped on a crowd-full of people. I wore my most comfortable, worn-out, beaten chucks and black combat boots alternately.
  15. Head light/small flashlight - You'll be surprised on how many times you'll use it, especially during late night potty runs.
  16. Light jacket - The weather in Indio is bizarre. Insanely hot during the day, drops quite a bit at night. So, tie a lightweight jacket around your waist, or keep it in your backpack.

The worst part of camping? Porta-potties. Gag.

Our Day 0 outfits: tie dye.

I could write all day about my experience and it still wouldn't be enough. I've been struggling to describe my experience ever since. It was a whirlwind of emotions in such a good way. It was one of the best moments in my life. All I could tell you is to bask in the moment and do everything in moderation. Do what you want, but don't overdo it. Have the best time of your life, but also, be safe. Happy Coachella, and see you all again next year!

Watch our video here:

Credits to: Justine M.