Ready and rarin’ to go for Coachella? If you packed days ago, and are heading up today, then you probably are. Goodie for you. But those preparing to battle traffic tonight or tomorrow, well, you might need a little planning help. As a seasoned Coachella vet we’ve done it all (often all wrong) over the years. We’ve forgotten our phone charger, camera batteries, brought inappropriate clothing, gone sick minus meds, etc. The heat and endless walking are much worse if you’re not prepared, trust us. Here, we share our Coachella wisdom (with some photos from previous years) for newbies and those who need a little reminding. Consider these Do’s and Dont’s before you make the trek (and once you get there) for a headache-free experience. Other kinds of aches will be unavoidable.

DO the Coachooser schedule planner on the Coachella website. There will be little booklets there, but you will lose them & find them (with other people’s circled choices) throughout the weekend. Too confusing and annoying. Your print-out, even if you lose that, will at very least mentally prepare you for the experience.

DO be ambitious about what artists you’d like to see and DON’T be bummed if you don’t get to all of ’em.

DON’T get wasted the first night. You’ve got two more to go! A drink or two and a toke from the generous dread-headed dude next to you is okay (but make sure you know what it is). If he’s dancing naked, maybe pass.

DO designate a meeting place for friends. Always. The Lion statue near the ID check in the VIP area has been ours for years.

DON’T get all excited when you see the windmills driving on your way to Indio. You still have a good hour ’til you’re at the Polo Field (in traffic even longer).

DO wear a good deodorant. PLEASE! (See photo)

Girls: DON’T wear stuff from that recent shopping spree at Forever 21, Target or Old Navy unless you want to see your dress doppelgangers everywhere. If you’re fashion-conscious and care about such things, wear vintage.

Girls: DO wear waterproof makeup. It lasts longer.

Girls: DO bring a warm sweater for the evening. The desert at night gets cold.

DO bring a hat. Our trick: if it’s really hot, pour cold water into it. It keeps the head cool for hours!

DO watch where you’re walking. People fall asleep on the grass. A lot.

DON’T spread rumors about “secret” or surprise guests. The Rolling Stones are NOT playing a surprise set. (Well, they better not because we won’t be there and if we miss that, we may have to kill someone).

DON’T try to use your all access wristband from last year to sneak backstage/sidestage this year. The organizers are on to EVERYTHING and with sensors and checkpoints, it looks like they’ve made it impossible to fool the system this year. So…

DON’T really try to hide drugs in your butt. Or your va-jay-jay (unless you’re this lady or Paris Hilton).

DON’T feel inferior if you don’t have the rainbow of wristbands your uber-connected friends have from parties and like. The coveted backstage wristband is sure to be flashed around by too-cool types too, but it’s actually not that much more fun back stage or in the artist’s area. (Unless you think watching Danny Masterson, Lindsay Lohan and their ilk standing around self-consciously is fun…) We’ve wasted too much time doing this in years past, so we know. Hopping a ride on a golf cart back there is kinda cool, but whatevs, you can use the exercise.

DO bring essentials: wipes, sunscreen, money, ID, Advil, allergy meds, a camera, ear plugs and your cell phone. If you’re a dude, have a female friend tote these for you or consider a backpack or man-purse.

DO wear different shoes each day you go. Even your most comfy ones will leave a throbbing impression and something new will feel refreshing, promise.

DON’T Twitter about Coachella while drunk/stoned/too-tired (beat-tweet).

If you do tweet or Facebook post about the fest, DON’T just say the band is “killing/murdering/slaughtering it.” People following you want details! Song selections, outfits, rants, ex-boyfriends in the crowd… Make it count.

DON’T eat too much Spicy Pie. It’s really yummy, but you’ll regret it when you have to visit the port-o-potties again and again.

DON’T let photogs like yours truly take pictures of you looking trashy (or trashed) if you don’t want them seen on Facebook, Twitpics or

All photos by Lina Lecaro.

DO go with a good attitude. Yes there will be all sorts of obnoxious and annoying “coach-bags” (as Diablo Cody coined about fest fucks one year), but there’s also a lot of genuinely interesting people to meet. You’re all there for the music, yes, but this awesome assembage of humanity is something to marvel at too, not get pissy about. If you’re the type who doesn’t like crowds, stay home or do as we are this year: just go to parties!! Have fun trekking in the sun/sweaty tents, suckas. We’ll be thinking of you while we sip a cocktail on a floatie. xo

Follow Lina Lecaro’s Coachella party coverage on Twitter @L_in_A.

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