BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2013) - Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, suggests adding some color to the often grey and gloomy month of February by joining the Mardi Gras or Carnival party. Celebrations can be found in many cities and countries leading up to Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 13 this year, though the biggest and best-known events are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Our advice: make a point to join the party wherever you can but, if you are off to join one of the major celebrations, be ready to make the most of the revelry with our Top 10 Things to Bring for a Mardi Gras Getaway.
To help prepare you for an experience like no other, the first six things on our list are must-have items to pack in your suitcase before you go:
1. Colorful clothes - No matter where you celebrate, the clothes are part of the fun. The parades are teeming with costumes and so are the streets. In New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day, in particular, everyone dresses up in full costumes, so plan ahead and/or stop by the French Market for some added accessories. At the very least, make sure to bring purple, gold and green -- the colors of Mardi Gras. For Rio, pack a bathing suit for the beach that you can wear under your outfit.
2. Late-night attire - The party is 24 hours long, so wardrobe changes are in order. While Rio is probably one of the most beach-casual cities in the world, it's a festive (maybe the most festive) time of year so people get trendy at night -- and by night we mean beginning at 1:00 a.m. In New Orleans, if you are lucky enough to get invited to a ball, you will even need formal wear and a mask or head dress. Mardi Gras night is still costume craziness at its best in the Big Easy. Most nights, though, the rule is fun (and daringly revealing if you'd like) but nothing you'd cry over if it gets spilled on or ruined.
3. Sunscreen and rain gear - With Carnival at the height of summer in South America, sunscreen is essential. And, fair warning, it is very expensive in Brazil (i.e. $25 for a tube), so best to bring it from home. For Mardi Gras celebrations, weather can run the gamut so sunscreen matters there too but so do layers, for days that start chilly and end steamy, and rain gear. Lightning is about the only thing that will stop the show.
4. Comfortable shoes - You will be walking, dancing and standing nonstop for days. There will be crowds, sticky floors, uneven surfaces and, perhaps, uneven walking. You will want shoes that will stay on your feet and that you want to keep on your feet through it all. Better to bring a few pairs (and mix it up for comfort) of well-loved shoes on their final trip than to bust out a new shoe wardrobe. No one will be looking at your feet anyhow.
5. A schedule (and tickets) - There are multiple events each day and getting to them takes planning. Some of the best Rio events require tickets, so book in advance. For Mardi Gras parades, map out the routes of the parades you want to see. They happen in various neighborhoods. Then decide where you want to watch and how you are going to get there. An ideal spot is one where the parade doubles back nearby and you can catch it (and more throws!) when it comes by again a few blocks away. (Side note: Have a meeting place determined in advance if your group gets separated in the crowd.)
6. Tissues and hand sanitizer or wipes - Unless you know someone who lives nearby, one of the trickiest issues with these all-day celebrations is finding a bathroom. Your best bet for a free option is a porta-potty but expect a line. Otherwise, you may want to become a paying guest at a close-by restaurant or bar. Regardless, expect a toilet paper shortage. And be prepared to take care of your own hand washing, at bathroom time or in the event of spilled drinks or the grime of the day.
Besides the tangible items, mindset and attitude are also crucial in making the most of the celebrations, which is why our other essentials are common sense; tolerance for crowds (and waits); an appetite and an open mind. To read Cheapflights.com's complete list of Top 10 Things to Bring for a Mardi Gras Getaway, visit http://news.cheapflights.com/top-10-things-to-bring-for-a-mardi-gras-getaway.
About momondo group
momondo group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 13 million visitors a month -- plus 6 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands.
Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.
The Group has offices in London, Copenhagen, Boston and Toronto, with a consumer base across 16 core international markets but users all over the world.