For the past five years, I’ve been going to one major music festival per year. It’s an amazing experience: a chance to disconnect from the digital world that I inhabit for most of the other 361 days per year; a chance to connect with a group of friends that I really value; and — of course — a chance to enjoy amazing music. But one thing it’s not? Affordable.
Music festivals have been gaining in popularity (and number) over the past decade — there are now more than 800 annual festivals in the U.S. alone. According to Eventbrite, millennial attendance of music festivals nearly doubled between 2014 and 2017 and, according to Billboard, a whopping 32 million Americans went to at least one festival over the past year. So yeah, it’s fair to say that festivals are firmly a part of our cultural milieu at the moment.
But like I said: They’re not cheap. Coachella — which unofficially kicks off the festival season and this year goes from April 13 to April 22 — costs $429 for admission. The travel experts at TravelPirates put together an estimate of how much a festivalgoer might spend to get to, stay at, and attend Coachella. They say if you allocate $350 for flights, $113 for a camping pass, $90 for food and drinks, and $50 for an airport shuttle, you can plan on spending $1,032 for Coachella. That’s about the cost of a month of rent in a major city.
Personally, I think their estimate is a little low. Plenty of people will spend more than that on flights and I can say from experience that it’s hard to resist that (overpriced) festival food. And if Coachella (or any other festival) is your thing, I absolutely get it. But there’s a lot you could do with a grand — and a lot of places you could travel.
So if you were really set on Coachella (or a similarly-priced music festival) this year and just couldn’t make it, take some joy and pleasure and this list from Travel Expert Calvin Iverson at TravelPirates of five vacations you can take for less than the cost of one weekend at Coachella.