Thinking about heading to Trinidad Carnival? Here’s a packing list that will make sure you’re ready for any and everything on de road. Because you know what they say…when you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.
Carnival Monday and Tuesday are the main attractions. If you’re partaking in the actual events, you’ll join a band that will provide costumes for Carnival Tuesday.
- Tights are your friend. You can go with fishnets or regular tights. Fishnets come with a warning: the chains on your costume (or those of your dance partner) might get caught on the tights. Yea, you’ll probably end up with a few holes at the end of the day, but it’ll be worth it.
- Comfortable shoes and insoles. You will be doing a lot of walking…a lot! I saw a few women in heels and I still don’t know how they survived. We ordered flat boots to match our costumes. They weren’t the cutest boots in the world, but they did the trick.
- Underwear that matches your costume. When you touch down in Trinidad, you’ll pick up your costume. It hasn’t been washed, and to add insult to injury, it has been handled by numerous people…sounds like a uti waiting to happen. With that in mind, pack some undies that are large enough to provide coverage but small enough to fit under the bottoms that come with your costume.
- Travel sewing kit. If your group is on top of registering with a band, you might submit your costume measurements up to six months in advance. So, you hope and pray it’ll fit once you arrive in Trinidad. Pack a sewing kit and a friend who is good at fixing things in case you need to make alterations.
- Don’t forget an outfit for free mas. Think of Carnival Monday as the pregame before Tuesday’s big show. Some people wear pieces from Tuesday’s costume. We decided to buy an entirely different outfit. Why? Because we’re clearly extra.
To kick off Carnival Monday, be prepared to head to J’ouvert around 3:00 am that morning. When you hear J’ouvert, think paint, mud, water, and anything else that will result in you being messy.
- Baby oil is your friend. Slather some on before you leave so it’ll be easier to clean up later.
- Shower cap, bonnet, scarf. Ladies, especially my natural sisters, you already know what’s up!
- Trash bag to sit on if you’re hopping in a car post-J’ouvert.
- An outfit you don’t care about. You will get dirty and the paint might not come out of your clothes. So bring an outfit and shoes that you won’t mind leaving behind. This includes underwear and a bra that you can part with. Those panties that you’ve been meaning to purge…pack those and wear them to J’ouvert.
- A waterproof phone case. I left my phone in the car, but if you must have your phone make sure it’s protected.
Pronounced fets, these are outdoor parties that take place during Carnival week. This is a tricky section because all fetes aren’t created equally.
- Check to see if your fete has a theme, then pack accordingly.
- Flats or wedges, leave the stilettos at home.
- Swimwear for the poolside fetes.
- Cooler fetes are BYOB, so buy a bottle or two once you touchdown at the airport. This might be the only time you’ll need to purchase alcohol. Everything else we attended during Carnival week included alcohol.
- Speaking of cooler fetes you’ll need…you guessed it, a cooler. Buy a cheap one while you’re out and about, borrow one from your Airbnb host, or pack an insulated bag that won’t take up much space in your suitcase.
Now for a few basic things you’ll need to survive a week in Trinidad during Carnival season.
- Sunblock…that Trinidad sun is no joke.
- BC Powder, great for
- Vitamins – perhaps this is just for the 30+ club.
- Emergen-C, Gatorade, pretty much anything with electrolytes.
- Hand sanitizer and wipes for bathrooms on de road.
- WhatsApp – not sure what your phone situation looks like, but WhatApp was clutch.
- Snacks. While most events included food, you might get hungry or need some calories after all the walking.
- Cash and credit. Most events during Carnival week include food and alcohol, so the only time you’ll need cash is if you want to buy roti, doubles, or a fresh coconut while you’re out and about. Most places accept major credit cards; before you leave, check your policy on foreign transaction fees.
- Passport, otherwise where are you about to go?
- Facial wipes, masks, moisturizer. Basically, a consolidated skincare routine to wipe away makeup and rejuvenate your skin after a long day in the sun.
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know what you would add to the packing list for Trinidad Carnival.
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