Renting a House for Coachella Guide

Event Track / Coachella / Planning Guides / Renting a House for Coachella Guide

Article Summary

  • Renting a house is a very popular option for Coachella as there are limited hotels, the hotels are quite expensive, and camping isn’t for everyone
  • If you have a large group there are many options for renting a house, especially if you are willing to take the shuttle to Coachella
  • Obviously the closer to the festival the better, although you will often pay for this convenience
  • I highly recommend confirming personally with the owner of the home that they are aware this is for Coachella dates and you are all set: the worst thing that can happen is they later figure out it’s Coachella dates and cancel your stay in order to try to make more profit
  • The only real disadvantage to renting a house is the owner of the house can cancel your stay at anytime

At Event Track we obviously make our living through reporting on hotel prices for major bucket list events.  However, our real goal is to ensure you have the best time ever at whatever festival or event you are attending.  Thus, I would be remiss if I didn’t have a guide on renting a house for Coachella.  Due to the fact that Coachella, unlike other major music festivals like Outside Lands or Lollapalooza, does not take in a large city it really limits your hotel options.  There are hotels throughout the areas of Palm Springs, Palm Desert and other areas, but there just aren’t as many as a large city has.  Thus a lot of people turn to the option of renting a house for Coachella.  This is a good option as a lot of people have winter homes in the area and rent out there houses in the spring and summer months.  This guide will look at what you can expect if you go through Airbnb to rent a house for Coachella.  Note that the prices shown are obviously subject to change when you do your search for a house for Coachella.  I am writing this article in mid-November when in reality if you are really trying to save a lot of money you will be booking months ago.

Where should I book a house for Coachella?

This is really going to come down to your budget.  Obviously everyone would like to be able to roll out of bed and walk to Coachella, but this is generally not possible for most people’s budget.  Houses in the Indio, CA area, where Coachella is held, get very expensive.  The map below shows the costs currently to rent houses in Indio, CA for Coachella dates and searching for accommodations for two people with the entire place (no shared rooms).  Note I have put a blue box around where Coachella is so you can gauge how far each place is from the festival.

Coachella AirBNB

Clearly you can see these aren’t necessarily cheaper than a hotel.  However, it is important to keep in mind a lot of these results are houses that can fit a lot more people than a hotel room.  If you are going to Coachella with a group then maybe this is more reasonable, but if that’s not the case a lot of these prices are going to be out of your budget.  So in summary if you can afford to book in Indio within walking distance of Coachella go for it, but unless you have a large group this is unreasonable for a lot of people.

Ok so if not an Airbnb in Indio then where?

Once you move outside of Indio you can find some cheaper prices, although they are still expensive.  Let’s just be honest, the expensive part about Coachella for a lot of people is the accommodations more so than the tickets.  As you get further from Coachella you can generally find better deals.  For example, Palm Springs, which is about as far away from Coachella as people stay, is cheaper than Indian Wells, which is closer to Coachella.  You may be able to find exceptions to this rule but generally this is the case.

Coachella AirBNB

The picture above shows Airbnb prices in downtown Palm Springs, CA.  Again this is about as far from Coachella people stay as it’s about a 45 minute drive into Coachella.  However, you can see that these prices are significantly cheaper than Indio, CA.  The search again was for Coachella dates, with accommodations for two people and requesting the entire house (no shared rooms).  The nice part of staying in this area is you have access to downtown Palm Springs which has a solid selection of bars and restaurants for the times you aren’t at Coachella.  If you are interested in the prospects of staying in Palm Springs for Coachella I have written another article about it which can be found here.

So I would say if you are trying to save some money look for places on Airbnb besides Indio, CA.  You are much more likely to find a deal in one of these areas for Coachella than Indio.  Some of the popular areas for Coachella are Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City and Indian Wells.  Palm Springs probably has the most going on of all these areas in terms of restaurants and things to go see if that is something of interest for you.  The other areas tend to be more resort areas with less immediately walkable, but take a look on Airbnb and see what you can find.

Ok but if I’m not in Indio for Coachella I’m in the middle of nowhere

Of course as you move out of Indio the problem becomes getting to Coachella.  I’ve written a couple articles about how to get to Coachella already that you can check out on our Coachella page.  For full details on that you should check those out, but ultimately you are probably going to be taking the Coachella shuttle so you should buy that pass when you buy your Coachella tickets.  The shuttle pass is an extra $60 and in my opinion totally worth it if you are staying outside of Indio.  The shuttle stops are shown on Google maps below.

Coachella Shuttle Map

These are the shuttle stops the Valley Music Travel Coachella shuttle covers for all three days of Coachella.  The blue dot on the bottom right of map is where the glory that is Coachella takes place.  As you can see it covers nearly all of the major areas in the Indio area.  For example, Palm Springs has three shuttle stops: the Riviera, Hilton and Saguaro all have shuttle stops.  Most of these shuttle stops are around the major hotel areas and are more optimized for that than houses.  However, you should be able to find a house not far from one of these.  If you are far from one of these stops you are going to need to Uber to the shuttle stop and that’s no fun, especially at 2:30 a.m. after a long day at Coachella.  Just book within walking distance of a shuttle!

Things to keep in mind when using Airbnb for Coachella

These are more random pieces of advice and tidbits of knowledge I have picked up over the years of going to Coachella.  Some are from personal experience, some are from friends, and some are from the Coachella forums where people have shared their experiences.

  • Your Airbnb is NOT guaranteed.  The problem with Airbnb, in my opinion, is technically the host can cancel on you at any point.  If they do this the Tuesday before Coachella I hope you enjoy doing Carchella and sleeping in your car because prices are going to be through the roof.  Just read this before you go the house route and know the risks. You may want to address this concern with your host and just make sure this isn’t going to happen.  It of course still could but judge your host for yourself.

  • Earlier is definitely better! I have booked for Coachella generally near a year in advance – it’s basically what you have to do in order to find a good deal.  I have seen good quality Airbnb’s for around $100 - $150 a night for Coachella if you book super far advance.

  • Some owners may not like you booking that early.  Sometimes the person who is renting their house for Coachella will have a cheap price like I mentioned above, see you rented it super early, investigate why, and realize they should adjust their price. Airbnb gives a lot of power to their hosts and they can just cancel your stay.  This can be discouraging because you felt like you just lost your awesome deal.  Sorry, it happens. Hotels will usually eat the costs if they do this mistake, but Airbnb’s simply don’t have to.  If this happens you can try to discuss it with the host but most likely you will need to find another accommodation.

  • If you are splitting the costs, you can get a really nice house.  A lot of rich people own very large, opulent houses in the area.  If you have a big group you can probably find an awesome 4+ bedroom house with a pool, Jacuzzi, etc., and for a reasonable price if you book early.  If you can group together with a bunch of friends it could definitely be worthwhile.

  • If you are willing to share a room you will save a lot of money.  Think of it like Hostelchella.  If you are willing to share a room for Coachella you can definitely find a lot cheaper deals throughout the area.  I have had friends who do this and they always say they have a great experience and make a friend.  Coachella is a great atmosphere and everyone just wants to have fun so you are likely to meet some cool people.

  • Expect a large security deposit requirement.  People often know you are coming to Coachella to party and generally have higher security deposits on their places.  Just behave and don’t destroy anything and you will get this back at the end of your stay.

Final Words

Hopefully this article has cleared up some of your questions with renting a house for Coachella.  It can be a great option, especially if you book early.  People start booking for Coachella over a year in advance, so don’t wait too long if you are serious about trying to find a deal; this goes for houses or hotels. As usual with going to these big events, the early bird gets the worm!


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