From LAX to Coachella (And Back!)
March 5, 2013 1:41 PM   Subscribe

How do I get from LAX to the Coachella valley (more specifically, the Shadow Hills RV Resort) without a rental car and without shelling out hundreds?

I'm staying at the Shadow Hills RV Resort in Palm Springs for Coachella Weekend 2, and my plan is to get in early on Thursday and leave sometime Monday.

However, this has put me in a poor position in regards to getting a carpool. I suppose it will be possible but I'm kind of an obsessive planner. I'll certainly keep my eyes on zimride and craigslist closer to the event though. (Any mefites going then?)

So, without a rental car, what are my options here? (Can't get the car because- underage) Obviously a taxi is waaay out of the question for this 2 hour trip. Maybe I'm forgetting something obvious.
posted by Askiba to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (16 answers total)
You could try the Super Shuttle
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:52 PM on March 5, 2013

Greyhound appears to have frequent buses. It costs about $23/ow. You'll have to get from LAX to the station in LA and then from the station in Indio to where you're staying, but it looks like the most flexible option.
posted by rtha at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Coachella website links to zimride, but I don't know anything about them.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:59 PM on March 5, 2013

Kind of a kludge route, but:

1. FlyAway Bus from LAX to Union Station in DTLA ($7), followed by
2. Amtrak to Palm Springs ($18)
posted by nacho fries at 2:00 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

The RV resort you're talking about is in Indio, which is 20 miles past Palm Springs.

If you're feeling adventurous, it is possible to take Amtrak from Los Angeles to North Palm Springs - it's about a 2.5 hour trip, and it drops you off at a random place in the middle of the night. You could take a taxi from there, but it would be pricey. (Sunline, the desert bus system, does not go to the Amtrak stop, as far as I know - and definitely not at midnight.)

Greyhound is probably your best bet. Getting to the station in LA might be a pain - Flyaway to Union Station, and then a cab maybe? In Indio, you should be able to call a cab to take you to the RV resort. It's about 5 miles away from the Greyhound station. (Again, not really possible on Sunline, which doesn't venture north of the 10 much at all.)

How underage are you? It might be worth it to pay the extra car rental fee if you are 21+.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 2:06 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Underage as in 18 years old, teenager, and "oh no we are for sure not giving you a car sonny." Which I can totally understand, but I digress.

Right now, I'm thinking:
LAX -> Greyhound to Indio -> Taxi -> Shadow Hills.

I see there's a "Silver Line" bus route from LAX to Union Station. Could I use that?
posted by Askiba at 2:10 PM on March 5, 2013

Have you tried all the rental agencies? I recall from my "underage" days that Enterprise rented to me (though they may have been 21+) and there are a lot of "off-brand" rental agencies (e.g., not Dollar, Avis, Hertz) that may have laxer rules.
posted by benbenson at 2:11 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think the Silver Line will take you all the way to the airport. The Flyaway bus is $7, and is definitely the least complicated way to get from the airport to Union Station. From there the Greyhound station is like 2 miles I think. I do not recommend walking, especially if you're coming in at an odd hour.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Enterprise is 21+, but as benbenson says there are a lot of off-brand car rental places clustering around LAX and I'm pretty sure some will give you a car if you're 18.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:28 PM on March 5, 2013

I hate to link to this particular site, but here, according to the answerer, is a list of four agencies in L.A. that rent to 18+.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:30 PM on March 5, 2013

Have you tried Ride Joy? I have gotten passengers from the site for drives to Burning Man and it's worked out great. They seem to be quite festival friendly.
posted by Vaike at 2:42 PM on March 5, 2013

If you take the flyaway bus (super easy--there are stops at each terminal so just look for the signs and make sure you get on the bus going to union station and not, say, van nuys) to union station you'll probably want to take a cab to the greyhound station as there is no direct way to get there. They're only a few miles apart, but it requires two buses (or the red line and a bus) eventhough they are connected by a main street (Alameda). Stupid, but true.

If it's a normal time of day and you're up for adventure, you could walk it, but keep in mind that it gets industrial and sketchy as you near the station. It's not really something I'd tell a tourist to do after dark.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:09 PM on March 5, 2013

Call various rental car agencies. Don't rule out renting a car.

I hate to doom and gloom you, but if you're not used to LA, getting from LAX to the Greyhound Station will be tough and sketchy as hell. The Greyhound station is right in Skid Row.

Are you staying with friends in Palm Springs? Couldn't someone pick you up from the Amtrak station in Palm Springs? That saves you a cab ride from Union Station to the Greyhound station. Bring your friends beer or something and chip in for gas.

Otherwise: LAX-> Flyaway to Union Station -> Cab to the Greyhound Station -> Indio Greyhound Station -> Cab to Shadow Hills.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 5:04 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Coachella Message Board has a Carpools section made for such requests. A lot of people drive to Coachella from Los Angeles and many from LAX specifically.

I met some of my best friends one year getting a ride to Coachella via the Carpools section.
posted by mountmccabe at 6:07 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Coachella Message Board has a Carpools section made for such requests. A lot of people drive to Coachella from Los Angeles and many from LAX specifically.'

This sounds like a good idea, and even if it falls through, you can do this Flyaway -> Cab -> Greyhound thing without buying tickets in advance. If you get to LAX and turn on your phone and you get a text message from your ride telling you that she's in Mexico or whatever, you can still get to Indio.

I know you want things all planned out, but buying bus tickets on the day is not crazy.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 6:46 PM on March 5, 2013

Amtrak doesn't work at all with the OP's date or time criteria. The Sunset Limited, which is the only train to/from Palm Springs, runs three days a week in each direction, and there are no departures from Los Angeles on Thursday (and the departures from Los Angeles are at 10 pm). There is a departure on Monday from Palm Springs, but it's at 2:02 am Monday, aka late late Sunday night.
posted by andrewesque at 6:48 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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