Nowadays, the multitude of available worldwide options can make Carnival-hopping a full-time job by itself. As someone who already has a 9am-5pm with limited vacation days and is also an avid carnival chaser can find it difficult to reconcile the two. What do you do when carnival is LIFE but you have very limited resources (time, funds and energy) to sustain that life?? Below are some helpful suggestions to help the aspiring carnival chaser:
- Decisions… Decisions… DECISIONS!
Carnival seems to be popping in almost every destination so it is important to narrow down your choices! Research the carnival (dates, the types, and price of fetes, the cost, and quality of the road experience, ease of transportation to and within the destination country, etc.). Is the overall experience worth the investment of your time and money?
Pro Tip: Your time is golden! Try to choose destinations that have direct flights from your location, preferably a red-eye to and from. Find and utilize a concierge service or a local friend to collect fete packages and costumes prior to your arrival so you do not waste (feting) time running errands when you arrive.
- Carnival…WITHOUT MAS?!
Let’s be real. What is Carnival without mas?? Your road experience is a vital part of your Carnival so find out which bands have the most vibes, best costumes and perks and hottest DJ’s and artistes for your money. The road will likely be the most expensive part of your Carnival experience, so make sure you have no regrets.
Ladies know your body type and choose what is best for YOU and not the group. Consider what compliments your skin tone and choose a design that enhances your figure. Whether you’re a Backline Betty or Frontline Fabulous, make sure the costume you choose makes you feel beautiful. And remember, pictures last a lifetime. Make sure you SLAY!
Carnival is an expensive hobby (understatement of the year lol). The better you plan, the less likely you are to be homeless when you return from your trip, and the more trips you can do! Plan WAAAAAY in advance! Flights are usually cheaper the earlier you book them. Be on the lookout for flight deals to your desired destinations (although flight deals tend to work best for people with more flexibility in their schedules). You can also find affordable accommodation on Air BnB, book hotel rooms with friends or even couch surf (if you are into that).
Pro Tip: Get a fete calendar and decide on your fete itinerary in advance, so you can secure early bird tickets as soon as they drop. Be selective in what events you choose to attend.
- TEAM UP!
Make sure that the people you choose to Carnival-Hop with you are of a similar mindset (and energy level!). Your squad can make or break your experience in a fete or on a trip so make sure your crew can hang! Walk with yuh vibes, leave all sourness home!
- Pack LIGHTLY.
I am a full-fledged member of Team Carry-on. Remember – time is golden! It helps to pack lightly so you can avoid the delay of waiting for checked luggage once you arrive at your destination. In the most extreme situations, you also avoid the possibility of having your bag not arrive altogether. No checked luggage means you and your carry-on bag can hopefully breeze through customs & immigration and be on your way while others are still waiting in the airport.
Pro Tip: select seats near the exit so you can deplane sooner and avoid any lines that may build up.
- Be flexible.
Understand that when you are crunched for time, there is room for things to go awry. The point of this trip is to enjoy yourself, so you must be able to roll with the punches! Flights can be delayed or canceled; you may stay too long at one fete and end up going late to the next, etc. Be prepared to do make-up and/or change clothes in.. ummm.. interesting spaces (planes, cars, anywhere basically) if there is a delay and you are pressed for time. All of these mishaps make for great memories, so just ROLL WITH IT!
Pro-tip: pack outfits and accessories in zip lock bags labeled by fete which will help streamline your fete prep.
- Sleep when yuh dead!
Seriously. Pumpers must pump. Do not plan on sleeping while on these quick getaways. You are hitting fete after fete after fete to make the most of your Carnival experience. Arrive at your destination well-rested, well-hydrated and well-prepared to crash once you return home. Also, power naps will save your life. Get those zzz in on the way from one fete to the next.
- Prioritize your health.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to hydrate and eat while on these trips. The heat, over consumption of alcohol, and lack of sleep take a toll on your body. Counteract this by ensuring you eat before or in between fetes and switch between alcoholic beverages and water / coconut water periodically while feting. You do NOT want to be that person who pops down and misses a fete (or worse yet, IN a fete, or miss your return flight).
Tip – Stock up on Advil, Andrews and Vitamin C…. You’ll need it to survive the hangovers.
- Manage your expectations.
Yes, the country you are visiting may be beautiful but understand that you are only there for a few days, specifically for Carnival. It is unlikely that you will have any additional time (or energy tbh) to sightsee or lime with friends outside of a fete. Learn to accept this, or plan these special activities into your itinerary well in advance. Additionally, do not allow small deficiencies in the amenities to detract from your enjoyment of your trip. Make the most of it, and as I said before, ROLL WITH IT!
- Free up yuh self (and wine)
Above all, have fun! There is a reason you chose to spend your time and money to attend this Carnival so make the most of your trip and enjoy every last moment. The memories will help you through once you return to work/the real life.