Top 30 Tips for Surviving Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago

How not to park up.

We’ve rounded up our top 30 tips to help you get through Carnival season. Whether you’re at veteran status or playing mas for the first time, our tips apply to all.

Be smart. Stay safe.

Carnival is not only two days but, weeks leading up to it. Some can run off adrenaline, but make sure you have fun at your own pace. Sleep, eat and hydrate so you don’t collapse come Carnival Monday. You’re not just pumping, you’re pumping all day, all night, and in the hot sun in most cases – keep this in mind.

We’re all hear to have a good time, but it’s important to stay vigilant and look out for the people you’re playing with. Friends come first, and if they need help, be of assistance. Can’t find your friend on the road? Track them down. Feeling uncomfortable? Remove yourself from that situation. Need a break from the heat, wining and drinking? The road will be there. In a situation where you need help? Talk to security or someone who can help.

Have a safe Carnival!

Deciding Transport

1) Carpool with friends, to save on money and gas. Also – this is the easiest way to make sure no one is sticking behind and you’re all running on the same pace. You’ll also be able to hype up in the car.

2) ALWAYS designate a responsible driver if you’re going to drink. This is straightforward.

3) Don’t have a DD? Hire a private maxi to carry your group and yourself, to and from the fete. Make sure you coordinate with your driver so you’re not left waiting. Or, download the Uber/Drop app so you can order a ride if you need one. These apps work the best since you can request pickup whenever you’re ready. You can also share your location with others via Uber, to let them know where exactly you are. Never used Uber before? Save on your first ride with the code “w85ar”!

Cooler Prep

4) Find a cooler big enough to carry all of the alcohol, chaser and ice – be efficient, pack for the squad, not for yourself alone.

5) Glass bottles aren’t allowed, so transfer your alcohol and chaser into plastic bottles – label bottles with a sharpie if they look similar so you’re not batting tequila instead of rum and coke.

6) If you have a much larger group, we suggest you carry multiple coolers, one for ice, one for drinks.

7) Don’t forget cups! We recommend walking with a mason jar cup and running a lanyard through it so you’ll never lose your drinking gear.

Before/After Drinking

8) If you don’t want to end up on the ground by the end of the night, we suggest you eat a decent meal before batting as many drinks possible. You know what your body can handle, so make sure you brace yourself before the amount of partying you’ll be doing.

9) Sober up at the end of night/morning with food. Most fetes have vendors inside or outside (bless corn soup), so be sure to grab something.

10) Drink a bottle of water, gatorade or coconut water and leave it beside you when you head to bed, because trust us, your body will thank you in the morning.

Tips for the Road/Fetes

11) Bat drinks responsibly. Yes, it’s Carnival – but that doesn’t mean you should drink everything and anything that comes your way. If you’re comfortable with mixing drinks, know your limit. If you know you have a bad time when mixing, stick to one type of liquor.

12) Don’t EVER leave your drink unattended. Not with ANYONE at ANY point, regardless if it’s ‘jus for a second’. The easiest way to ensure you’re safe is always getting a fresh drink from the bar.

13) Take it all in, in the moment. Yes the memory might live on, on Snapchat and in your camera roll, but there’s nothing like crossing stage, so embrace it and HOLD THEM AND WUK THEM.

14) Sunglasses are your best friend! They stop glare and sunlight from blinding you, they’re also a fantastic way to accessorize your costume. Drunk eyes? No problem. SUNGLASSES.

15) If you’re worried about your ears being damaged by the loud music, get a pair of earplugs to protect yourself from going deaf and reducing the noise in general. We all know how loud the chunes can get when you’re wining by a speaker box on a truck.

16) Pace yourself in between drinks and stay hydrated! If you’re worried you’ll cross your limit, we advise drinking soda, coconut water or chaser in between a drink or two to take the edge off and hydrate your body. Let’s not forget how HOT that sun is, this can also wear your body down and can cause your body to crash without even realizing it.

17) Wear sunblock. Nothing is more painful than sunburn.

18) Designate a specific truck as a meeting spot for your group, if anyone is ever lost and can’t find anyone head to your spot. Some bands have the ability for you to check exactly where trucks are (keep in mind this uses data, that doesn’t always work on the road with the amount of people).

19) And if you do inevitably get lost like most of us, make sure your phone has built in GPS location, turn it on, so in the event that you lose your phone, it could be tracked via GPS.

20) Don’t carry a big bag/purse on the road. If you want to walk around with a few makeup essentials, phone, sunglasses, some money – fellas, keep this in a pocket. Ladies, wear a small purse or fanny pack that won’t bother you while jumping up.

21) Have a portable charger (or car charger). If you happen to lose your FRIENDDDDD AND DEM charge up quickly with a portable, so you’re not stranded looking for your crew after las lap.

Tips for J’ouvert

22) Prepare your car with plastic bags and towels to prevent damage to your upholstery from being STINKKKKKK AND DUTTTTTY. We suggest using extra large garbage bags to cover the the seats to prevent the spreading of paint and mud, keep a change of old clothes, towels and large bottles of water in your trunk, if you’d like to clean up afterwards.

23) We do not advise carrying your phone to J’ouvert cause of how easily it can get damaged or destroyed, but if you insist on having it, the easiest defense is a ziploc bag, double bag if necessary, if you have a lifeproof case for phone, that could work nicely as well. Those snapchats will not be worth it when you don’t have a phone for Carnival.

24) Swap your SIM into an older phone if you have one, so you could have a means of communication on the road.

25) If you plan on drinking a lot for J’ouvert, going to a fete that ends a few hours before or having a pre pump where you guzzle drinks isn’t the best idea. Rest up and prep for the incoming mud and paint you’re gonna throw and receive.

26) J’ouvert is DUTTY. You will always end up drinking some form of paint, mud, powder or clay depending on your band, it’s not going kill you, so enjoy it.

27) Let go and embrace what J’ouvert is all about. Acting stush is frowned upon in J’ouvert, if ya come to play, expect random people to throw or smear paint on you, at the end of the day, we come out to have fun.

28) If you’re having trouble with paint in your drink, walk with your own personal cup that has a lid and straw.

29) Want to keep the cup fairly clean? Once you finish, walk with your cup upside down to prevent clay flinging into your cup.

30) Do not… nap after J’ouvert if you’re playing mas. Pump through it, get yourself together and put your costume on. After your experiences, you wake up dazed, confused and groggy. Some people can rest up for an hour, but if this is your first time playing or you know that you WILL park up and not wake up, we recommend avoiding sleep till Monday night.

Enjoy and have a safe Carnival!