Travel

The Ultimate Coachella Survival Guide

Coachella is coming up fast and I’m always frantic about last minute details so here is my packing checklist and 10 most valuable tips to ensure your trip runs smoothly.

Still looking for outfit styling tips, check out my last post: Hottest Looks and Brands of Coachella 2019

Coachella Address: Empire Polo Club -  81800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

1: Ticket

Your ticket is literally the most important thing of this weekend. DO NOT forget your ticket at home, I repeat, do not forget your ticket! Pack it in a secure location, I recommend your carry on bag (in case your checked-in luggage gets lost) and triple check it before you leave.

Also, don’t forget to register your wristband which requires downloading the Coachella App.

1: Create a Coachella account online or via the Coachella app if you don’t already have one (this is a separate account from the one you used to purchase tickets)

2: Log in to the Coachella app on your phone, which is the only place where you can activate your wristband.

3: The landing page will ask you to activate your wristband (you can skip this if you plan to sell your wristband). Make sure you have selected the correct weekend, enter your first and last name, and then enter the six character code located on the back of the plastic portion of the wristband and hit submit.

2: Water

Do not underestimate the Indio sun! You are partying in the desert and the last thing you want to do is miss out on all the fun because strapped to an IV treating dehydration. Drink a whole bottle of water before you leave for the day and replenish often. Coachella sells bottles of water for $2 each but they also offer free water stations so no excuses here.

3: Sunscreen

Sunburns/skin cancer ain't cute, do yourself a favor and load up on the SPF. If for some reason you need to get out of the heat, the Yuma tent offers air conditioning and seats for you to chill.  

4: Dust Mask/Bandana

High winds and heavy dust are common in the Coachella Valley and as the weekend goes on the grass will dry up, meaning there won't be anything to trap the dust. People wear dust masks or bandanas over their mouth and nose to protect themselves walking between stage to stage. This is especially important if you’re going Weekend 2, it will be a lot dryer and all the grass will be dead by then.

5: Comfortable Shoes

I usually opt for boots because boots are comfy to me but if you can only stand in sneakers for 12 hours a day, do sneakers. You’ll be doing a lot of walking/standing so whatever you wear, make sure it’s comfortable for you.

Just a heads up: unless you’re camping there's about a 1-mile walk into the campgrounds - prepare for that. Bike trolleys are priced at $10 per person and will take you directly in the festival.

6: Parking

If you happen to be driving to the festival, Coachella offers different color-coded parking lots spread across the field. Make sure you remember which trail you go down! I thought all the parking lots were connected my first year and spent about 2 hours after the event trying to find our car - not fun. Also the lot you park in will determine how long your walk will be, try to find the closest lot to avoid a long walk!

7: Bring a Jacket

The weird thing about the desert is that it’s really hot during the day but super cold at night. Bring a light layer to shield yourself from the cold and dust when you’re leaving the festival.

8: Camera

I know Coachella says no cameras BUT as long as you don’t have a 3-foot lens, you can actually bring in a DSLR. For a complete list of banned items check out this list.

Pro Tip: Write down your contact information on a piece of paper and take a picture of it. If you lose your camera, someone can easily look through your pictures and return.

9: Meeting Spot

Cell service is spotty so having a designated meeting spot is crucial. “The Ferris wheel ticket booth at 2 pm”, “back left corner of the Mojave tent in 10 minutes” and the “entrance to the Heineken beer garden when the festival is over” are some example. I recommend time stamping everything in case you get lost.  

10: Porta Potty essentials

As much as you say you’re going to avoid the porta potty you’ll most likely have to use it at some point during the festival. Bring extra tissues in case they run out and hand sanitizer to kill off any germs.

Packing List - To Palm Springs

  • Ticket

  • Festival Outfits

  • Festival Shoes

  • Sleeping/Lounging Clothes

  • Underwear

  • Swimsuit

  • Cell Phone Charger

  • Toiletries

  • Makeup

  • Hair styling tools

  • Laptop/Charger

  • Camera

  • Tampons/Pads

  • Birth Control/Condoms

  • Medications

Packing List - To Coachella Festival

  • Ticket - should be registered and on your wrist

  • Phone

  • Room/House Keys

  • Sunblock

  • Secret Flask

  • Bandana

  • Tissues

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Cash

I hope this guide helps was helpful and if you’re going Weekend 1 be sure to say hi! Follow me on Instagram @ericaluoo to get see the most recent snaps of my looks.


Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide

Everything you need to know to have the best vacation in Oahu, Hawaii!

I went to Oahu last week to celebrate my boyfriends birthday and want to share a few of our favorite spots with you! Tried and true, theses are my personal recommendations for the best hotels, tastiest bites, most relaxing beaches and sought after hikes. Not to mention, secret information to help you find the most Instagrammable spots around town.

I work hard for my money and hate seeing it go to waste. Do your research to make the most out of your time and money

Hotel

Laylow Autograph Collection

Where mid century modern style meets present-day Hawaiian charm. This highly Instagrammable hotel is located in the center of Waikiki and is the home to the famous bar - The Hideout

Royal Hawaiian

The most coveted spot on Waikiki Beach is at The Royal Hawaiian – within the billowing sanctuary of private beachfront cabanas or from luxurious guest rooms showcasing unrivaled panoramic views of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and the sparkling Pacific Ocean

Prince Waikiki

Prince Waikiki offers newly redesigned guest rooms, distinctive island cuisine, an artistic lobby, and a lavish signature infinity pool in beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii. Poised at the crossroad of Honolulu and Waikiki, our prime location provides easy access to everything Oahu has to offer.

Food

The good, the bad and what's over hyped.

Restaurants

Ramen Gashoken - 10/10

One of the best things I ate in Oahu - recommended to me by a local

Pro tip: they offer mini bowls so you can try different flavors!

Location: Ewa wing of the mall, take the stairs down to the Village Walk and it’ll be towards the left hand side

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin - 10/10

So hard to get pork chops nice and juicy but this place nails it! I recommend getting during their first seating to avoid wait times.

Get This: Kurobuta pork loin set - speciality

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck - 7/10

No trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to the North Shore and this iconic shrimp truck. We tried one of each and the clear winner was the shrimp scampi. However it really just tasted like garlic, lemon and shrimp. Could recreate at home, and not really worth the car rental/1 hour drive out of Waikiki in my honest opinion.

Pro Tip: We got there around 11am and there was no line

Nobu Honolulu - 9/10

Nobu taste the same across all locations which means it you’ll be sure to have a good time! It is on the pricey side so leave it for special occasions.

Pro Tip: Make reservations if you want good seating. The restaurant was half empty when we got there but they still sat us at the bar. Lucky someone cancel their reservation so we were able to move to a table!

The Pig & The Lady - 8/10

Located in the heart of Chinatown, hip, and great for large parties. South-East Asian fusion food that taste good but be prepared to drop coins. We got a few cocktails, the Laotian chicken wings and a bowl of pho to share. Everything was good, not authentic, but tasty!

Ono Seafood - 10/10

Our favorite spot in Oahu, we ate here 3 times over the course of 5 days! $10 for a regular and $12 for a large, price includes a small drink of your choice. I’m sad because poke in the bay area will never compare!

Rainbow Drive-In - 6/10

Quite possibly the most iconic restaurant in Oahu. We got the Loco Moco Plate with mac salad and rice, it was aiteeeeee. I can see this being popular amongst kids or if you have an American palate! Burgers and fries also looked great and prices are cheap

Helena’s Hawaiian Food - 3/10

I really hate that i’m giving this place such a low score, but it did not live up to the hype. The dry age short ribs tasted exactly as described - dry and aged. The Kailua pork was decent but nothing to write home about. I could see this being nostalgic if you grew up on Hawaiian food, but it didn’t do it for us. The only saving grace was their fried butter fish. On yeah and their portions are miniature, not tiny, miniature

Marukame Udon - 9/10

Yes I know they opened a location in LA and one in SF but we wanted to try the original. The line is long but moves quick and you don't have to wait for your food to get cooked! The best part about Marukame, the price. Bowls start at $3! When was the last time you got a meal for $3? The same bowl cost about $12 in SF so yeah, two thumbs up over here. Also their spam musubi is 1000x better than the ones over at Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Heavenly Island Lifestyle - 8/10

We first came to this restaurant because I wanted an Acai bowl. It ended up being the best Acai bowl I’ve ever had! Everything they serve is local and can be traced to their source which is a pretty big deal. Their brunch options are also pretty good, but they do serve huge pieces of raw kale with no dressing which I find a bit strange.  

Would Try

Morimoto Asia Waikiki

Duck carved table side!

Snacks

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - 3/10

Hawaii is known for their spam musubis and I was really hoping that this place was going to blow my mind - spoiler alert, it didn't. There was too much rice for the amount of spam and no sauce at all. With over 2800 4.5 stars on Yelp, this place did not live up to its hype. Hard pass.

Myungrang Hot Dog-Ala Moana - 8/10

Think cheezy asian corn dog! Get the mozzarella dog & say yes to the sugar coating

Leonard’s Bakery - 9/10

Malasadas are pretty much custard filled donuts coated with sugar! Leonard’s makes it to order so they always come out hot. My favorite was the guava but Mark enjoyed the custard

Pro Tip: Eat it while it’s hot because they don’t keep well

Would Try

Liliha Bakery

Closed on Mondays!

Matsumoto Shave Ice

On the other side of the island. Hit this spot if you plan on visiting the North Shore

Bars

Bar Leather Apron - 10/10

Voted the best Mai Tai in the world and it did not disappoint. Honestly I don’t even like rum and this was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. Matcha Old Fashioned also really good!

Pro Tip: Make reservations! This speakeasy has limited seating and can have up to a 2 hour wait.

Location: Inside the financial building, walk through the lobby on the first floor and it’ll be up a short flight of stairs your right after the elevators

Would Try:

Duke’s Waikiki

Long wait 1.5-2 hours, put your name down and go shopping! Also has food

Rumfire Waikiki

A bit dressier - great cocktails to watch the sunset

Desserts

MoDo Hawaii - 9/10

Mochi Donuts, need I say more?! Located in the back of Mitsuwa Marketplace.

Get This: cookie & cream/black sesame

Waiola Shave Ice - 8/10

Literal hole in the wall shaved ice joint, lots of flavors but the lady will charge you for extras. I mean, she made us pay for an extra spoon

Pro Tip: Cash Only

MATCHA Stand MAIKO - 7/10

Great matcha soft serves but their sundaes have more toppings than ice cream. I think i’d opt for a cone next time.

Matcha Love - 9/10

The matcha soft serve is a bit creamier and not as bitter as MATCHA Stand MAIKO - Mark got a large and ate it all. My favorite flavor was the Hojicha (nutty green tea) different from any soft serve I’ve tried in the best way possible!

Pro Tip: Try Samples

Location: On the right hand side inside Mitsuwa

Beach

Lanikai Beach - 10/10

Calm waves, beautiful scenery, great location to tan without as many tourist

Pro Tip: Bring sunscreen! Even if it’s overcast you can get sunburnt

Laniakea Beach - 9/10

Also known as Turtle Beach, people come here to see the turtles, not much room to lay out

Sunset Beach - 8/10

Great for surfers! Really big waves

Would Visit:

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Fish sanctuary, great for snorkeling

Hikes

Full disclosure - we didn't pack hiking gear so we didn't go on any of these hikes but Oahu is famous for them so here are a few that we had on our list:

Manoa Falls Trail

Easy trail to waterfall

Lulumahu Falls

Bamboo forest leading to waterfall

Haiku Stairs

Stairway to Heaven, great to watch the sunrise but extremely difficult

#Instagramable

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden

This is the IG spot people keep tagging as Oahu Life! They’re open from 9am - 4pm but there is a side entrance near the front door if you want to get there early and to get an empty picture. There are signs all over that say no pictures on the road so you do have to be sneaky with them. The entrance road does have the most picturesque view with the palms and all the layers of the mountains, but every corner is picture perfect

Royal Hawaiian

The actual hotel/pool is closed off to guest only but if you enter through the Royal Hawaiian Center, you’ll find yourself by the private entrance secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown. After snapping a few photos by the pink hotel, you can make way towards their pool which is on the left hand side after you enter #shhh

A few other helpful tips that can be applied to any vacation.

Bookmarks/Collections

Yelp Bookmarks was life changing to me. I’ll pretty much bookmark suggestions I deem worthy and pull up my list when necessary. You can sort by date added, distance or alphabetical. Great way to knock off spots that are close by without having to remember or research their location!

Turo

The airbnb of car rentals! I tried Turo for the first time during this trip and I may never go back to traditional companies. Cars are usually a lot cheaper and more exotic. You can drive a Maserati for $150 a day if you wanted to

Use my link for $25 off your ride: https://turo.com/c/erical358

Erica_Luo_Best_Travel_Blogger_Oahu_Hawaii-3764.jpg

I had a blast walking down memory lane and sharing my recommendations with you, if you found this helpful and want to see more let me know! Also if you made it this far, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to show some love on your page!

Love,

Erica

Cabo San Lucas // Best Resort

About a 40-minute shuttle ride from the Los Cabos International Airport, you'll find yourself at Grand Solmar Lands End - a beachfront property under the Solmar branch. A GORGEOUS resort with 5 infinity pools, 2 swim up bars, separate kids area, as well as balcony views of dolphins swimming in the ocean. 

Bikini: Zaful 

Bikini: Zaful 

There are multiple restaurants on property including a sports bar, sushi restaurant, and a high-end dining option (La Roca) for special occasions! My favorite items were the tempura shrimp tacos, and fish sticks with tartar sauce from the swim up bar and the garlic soup from La Roca. Extremely fresh and favorable, unlike the fried seafood I’ve had anywhere else! Happy hour twice a day, really can't be beat.

The staff was super attentive and made sure our stay was the best it could be. Housekeeping came once in the morning to clean and once in the evening to prep our bed for a night of rest. They even dropped off bottles of water a few times during our stay to make sure we were staying hydrated after being in the sun all afternoon. 

Bikini:  IVY Swimwear

Bikini: IVY Swimwear

We booked this trip not realizing it was spring break, but it actually worked out in our favor! The hotel was a short walk away from all the festivities or a quick taxi ride to the pier where you can enjoy all the water sports. There were no actual spring breakers (or not that we saw) on the hotel grounds which was nice - perfect get away from all the partying. 

I was extremely impressed by the safety of Cabo as a whole. The security guards at each hotel that checked the name and room number of each person to make sure there were no intruders. We arranged all of our actives through the hotel and they made sure we had transportation going to and from each place. I can’t wait to go back!