Timeline for planning a proper Carnival
Trinidad and Tobago
Timeline for planning a proper Carnival Reviews
Advanced planning will save you money and your sanity Mar 15, 2011
If you are interested in going to Trinidad for Carnival and you have never been, there are some timelines you should be away of. These are of course, not hard and steadfast, but following these recommendations could save you money, and possibly, your sanity too.
Carnival is always the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, so you will have to consult a calendar to see if it will be in February or March. For locals, parties start in mid January in the name of Carnival, but if you get there a week, a week and a half prior, you will have plenty of time to party and hang.
So, let's say we are planning for Carnival 2011 which occurs in early March. You probably need to start saving and hiding your acorns from March 2010. You should buy your costume and your flight around August 2010. If you are going to Tobago to lime after Carnival, buy your flight prior to December 2010 (not sure when you should buy your boat ticket if you opt to take the more affordable, but longer way). Party tickets should be bought at the end of 2010 or early part of 2011 as many sell out fast or are available later, but have been marked up.
You have to scan the mas camps to see who you are going to play with and then keep track of when they open as they don't often advertise one sure date. Mas camps frequently open up in August and September. Popular mas camps to buy your costume from include Island People, Tribe, Yuma, and Spice (but there are several others). Tribe can sell out in a week, but some of the other camps might take 2 or 3 weeks to sell out of the best costumes. You can pick up your costume on arrival pending their distribution schedule. Costumes run from $500-$900 and it includes your costume for both days (you don't wear the whole thing on Monday), open bar, lunch, breakfast, snacks, mobile bathrooms, security, etc.
A flight from the east coast of the US, if bought in August could be about $550. If bought in September, October, or November, if could be $700-$800. Don't know about December and January. I heard a rumor that flights drop dramatically the two weeks prior, but if you have bought a costume and have spent money on party tickets, do you really want to risk trying to look for a flight so close to your arrival?
Fetes (parties) can run $50-$200 for each depending on when you get them, what the venue is, whether you want general admission or VIP. You will have to find the right place and the right person to get your tickets from. Some of the people selling tickets for various events are in the States, but do your research. Some events are sold out before the tickets are even printed!
So, good luck in your planning and ENJOY!
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