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Visiting a Carnival for the first time is not as easy a task as it may first seem, although it's a thoroughly rewarding experience that has many potential benefits as it provides a great opportunity to experience other cultures, engage with locals, broaden the mind, and have fun while doing it.However before you get there any some planning is recommended.

Planning your trip and your Carnival experience will ensure that when you get there you optimise your experience, have a stress-free time and will avoid having to gather information and decide what you want to do (and when you want to do it) after you arrive.

So here are 8 Steps that will ensure that your Carnival celebrations start the moment you leave the plane!     

 

  • 1) Choose a carnival
  • There are carnivals all over the world that take place throughout the year, choosing one may seem like a difficult task until you find out when you will have free time or holiday time booked from work and look for carnivals that are around that time of year. List them on a notepad as you will need them for the next step.

  • 2) Do your research
  • Once you have found a few carnivals it’s time to do some research. Use the Internet by searching for videos, articles, reviews and other information about the different carnivals to help narrow your decision. Personal reviews by individuals who have already attended any of the Carnivals that you are considering are particularly helpful, whether you receive them online or in person. Things that you will need to research include: Local Customs, Local Food and Drink Pricing, Transport options, Places & Events you will want to go to, and their locations, Tourist Attractions & Activities, Accommodation Options, and finally how to gain access to Events and take part in the Carnival.

  • 3) Search for flights
  • Now that you have knowledge of a few carnivals that are taking place when you are free to travel it is now time to look for flight prices. Visit popular travel websites for flight prices and select one that meets your budget, ensure that you plan to leave the island or country two or more days after the carnival. Travelling home immediately after a Carnival can be an exhausting experience and engaging in some of the local culture outside of the Carnival Season, with friends and acquaintances that you may have met during your visit can be a nice way of Re-energising yourself for the return flight.

  • 4) Book accommodation
  • Finding a place to stay can be time-consuming, but it can have a big impact upon your carnival experience. Options may include: hotels, Hostels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts or private rental apartments each of these options vary in cost, comfort and location as staying close to the action may result in easier travel to and from events at the cost of peace and quiet during the days and nights when you want to recuperate. (if your location is further away from the action the next section will be very important).

  • 5) Research Local Transportation
  • Local transportation can vary greatly depending upon where you visit, so research is extremely important. Knowing exactly how you will be travelling locally will be a critical part of your carnival experience affecting cost, convenience, and the flexibility of your schedule. Pay close attention to public transport, Taxis and cabs.Try to find out the cost of travel for each of these transport methods in order to avoid being overcharged. For drivers, car rental can also be a viable option to research so long as it’s cost effective. But for some people this may impact on your Carnival experience as you will have to avoid drinking and introduces the possibility of parking issues.  

  • 6) Get involved
  • In the first step you will have gained basic knowledge of how you can get involved in the carnival, many Carnival Bands, Groups and Troupes can now be reached easily via social media or via their website. Do not be afraid of making direct contact for details or to arrange your participation as many of these carnival bands welcome new masqueraders and participants from abroad who are visiting their Country or Island for the first time.

  • 7) Get your schedule organised for Carnival
  • There are many parties prior to and during Carnival Season and the Island or Country you intend to visit will have lots of things to do. Spend time doing further research on parties that occur throughout the carnival season and use this information to create a daily schedule consisting of something to do during the day and something to do during the night. Please make sure that you include time to chill and recuperate at the beach balancing your enjoyment with activities that allow time for rest and relaxation.

  • 8) Last but not least be safe and respect others
  • A Carnival is a time for locals to celebrate their culture and have fun. The overwhelming majority of people you meet will be friendly and helpful. However, while you are in a new environment Safety and respect for the place you are visiting are important to maintain. As a guest of a National Carnival or Festival you are being welcomed into a significant cultural event for the place you are visiting, keep an open mind, be ready to experience new things and above all enjoy yourself!  

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