Carnival essentials packing list

Trinidad Carnival 2012: Plenty 5 hour energy...just in case!!!
Trinidad Carnival Diary has a serious packing list on her blog, so I’m not going to get into the minor details. I’m only going to touch on the serious ISH that you shouldn’t forget to pack.  You carnival pros probably already know all this stuff.  This list is more for my newbies that are finally realizing why I love carnival so much and have decided to join the ride.
Sleep is hard to come by at carnival time. You are going to be sleeping at odd times. The rest of the world may not be on the same fete schedule as you. Ear plugs and a sleep mask are life savers, I also carry sleeping pills JUST IN CASE!!! Sometimes the excitement can keep you awake when you know you should be stockpiling energy.

Makeup is a life & time saver. Want a fancy carnival makeup look without having to wake up at 5am for your makeup appointment? Or if you don’t want to worry about your makeup melting in the sun.
If you want to do you own makeup, which I like to do sometimes, these things are a must to prevent "meltation" (that’s probably not a real word)
(1) Primer
(2) Makeup Sealer
(3) Matte Pressed Powder - transparent


Dancing sun up to sun down requires some special attention be paid to your foot wear.  It helps to buy your mas shoes one size larger. But don’t stop there, you need to gut that beeeeotch and pimp it out with some Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts.  For extra, extra comfort get some Pump Pouches aka Toe Cushions. When wearing toe cushions, I find that the shorter length gel inserts are more comfortable in my shoe.  Don’t forget the foot powder.  Dancing in 100 degree heat all day will produce sweat in places you don’t normally sweat.  For the ladies, whether you like to dance in sneakers or boots, grab a can of spray paint from your local hardware store and jazz up your shoes a lil, the color of your costume or maybe glitter gold or silver.  At the end of the winter season, I buy a stack of boots when they go on clearance and just keep em in the closet until the next carnival.  Lighter shades are easier to paint.  You can always glue your leg pieces to the boots when you arrive at carnival (because of course you know to travel with a glue gun, and small sewing kit for minor costume alterations).  Or you can just contact for some custom work.

Costume back up plan
Your costume may or may not fit properly. One year Paco’s mas shorts were like 5 sizes too big so we were at the mall carnival morning trying to find some basketball shorts similar in color. I’ve had to run to Walmart carnival morning trying to get a panty cause my panty didn’t fit properly or bra cause I didn’t want to have a GIRLS GONE WILD moment. Now I travel with a bra and panty or bathing suit similar to my costume color.

Baithing suit tops under my costume and Plan B grey skeleton panties
Bug Spray & Sunblock
The mosquitos in the Caribbean are trained assassins. They laugh at your mediocre bug spray & then they eat you alive. This is the method that worked for me and Paco and saved us from the usual “eaten alive by flying ninja assassins” scenario:
Step (1) Apply an oil or lotion based bug repellant
Step (2) Apply spray bug repellant
Step (3) Apply Sport SunScreen Spray (sport being the key word)
Step (4) Bug repellent bracelets on the wrist and ankle

Seems extreme, I know. Maybe you are one of the lucky people that mosquitos don’t bother. Even if they don’t bother you, don’t skip the sunblock. I have a friend that never learns and always spends the week after carnival peeling and looking like he has leprosy.

(1) Draw string backpack - Your jouvert band may or may not give you a backpack, come prepared.
(2) Zip lock bag for your important ish. Nothing worse than having to run from the water hose cause you have your cell in your pocket.
(3) Baby oil – gone are the days of having blue skin after jouvert , Cover yourself in baby oil and the paint will fall right off. Now I am not a fan of carrying around open containers of baby oil. I feel like they are bombs waiting to explode all over my ish. So I buy the travel size for each jouvert. I don’t open it until I arrive at the jouvert & then I dump it.

In flight liquor
In my previous blog, I talked about buying duty free liquor so that you can drink  up once you arrive at your destination, but you also need liquor for the long flight(s) there.  You are allowed a zip lock bag full of 3oz bottles in your carry on bag.  I like to fill up that bag with my favorite rum for an airport fete.  As soon as I clear security I then buy a bottle of orange juice and get my party started.  Because your essential liquids are probably in your checked bag.
Have a 2ndform of ID and 2nd source of $$$ stored in a separate location from 1st form. My daughter and I went to Miami and I ended up losing my ID & card case on the plane. Lady luck must have been with me that day cause I usually never carry cash, but I just happened to have plenty cash with me that trip and my work ID has to be kept in its own secure badge holder and it just happens to be a government ID so we were straight although I was not able to rent my own car. Now I have a 2nd driver’s license J I dunno about other states, but my state lets you order a driver’s license online for like a $10 fee.  

Test your air mattress
I thought i invested in a quality air mattress (cause you know for carnival we are cram'n into tight spaces).  I opened the box and threw the mattress right in my suitcase without testing it.  Every morning I woke up to find myself sleeping on the ground, air mattress deflated & my back in agony!

Luggage Scale
You know dayym well you are trying to bring back 10 bottle of Hennessy Pure White.  Luggage scales save lives cause you will look a maniac in the airport going through your luggage in front of all the other customers while you try to decide what you can leave behind to make weight for your booze!

Luggage cubes or compression bags
Those are especially awesome when you are trying to cram a bunch of clothes into a carry on bag.  I also find the bags or cubes help to keep things organized, when you are living out of your suitcase for a week things can get messy quickly. 

This may sound like a no brainer, but I know several people that missed trips because of passport issues.  Don’t wait until the day before your flight to look for your passport.  At least give yourself enough time to get a last minute passport if necessary. Once you find your passport, put it in your luggage so you don’t show up at the airport without it. 

Portable charger or backup battery (for phone & camera)

No explanation necessary right? What good is your phone/camera if it’s dead? Generic brand camera backup batteries are cheap and there are cell phone cases that have a back-up battery built in.
This is going to sound crazy, but camo is banned in several Caribbean countries. TRUST ME, I learned the hard way. If you are going to wear camo, DON’T wear it in the airport, wear it to your all inclusive fete where you are unlikely to have a run in with authorities.

Have a Plan C -Because it’s common knowledge that there is absolutely NO BABYSITTING at carnival. These trips are way too expense to spend it looking after anybody but yourself.  I'm going to leave you with a couple Real Life Examples of when shit went wrong.

Someone gets left behind. I handle all the logistics, I book everything, I pick up my peeps from the airport … if sh*t gets real, see ya back here. So Paco disappears for a looooooooooooong time at the fete and we can’t find him, but are beyond ready to go. NO BABYSITTING RULE Paco doesn’t carry his cell cause he will lose it, but he has a room key & taxi money. Come to find out he didn’t even know where we were staying cause I handled everything and he had arrived only a few hours prior to the fete. Lololol many many many hours later & trying multiple hotels he makes his way back.

Trinidad carnival 2011 I wrote about how the Tribe tornado swirled me and my girl in different directions. Now this was fine cause carnival rule #1 NO BABYSITTING. We just link later right? Well I ended up getting lost as sh*t at the end of the day and didn’t have in country contact info for her. So keep in mind that you may get a local # sim card at the aiport, but are your friends using a US phone? Can you dial long distance with that sim #, you may have each others info but still not be able to reach each other etc etc etc . Plan C was to have a meet up point which I ended up making it to 1 ½ hours late.

Friend loses her ID at carnival and spends the rest of the weekend trying to show a blurry camera phone pic of it to the club doormen. You should have a scanned copy of all your important ish saved on a folder in your email inbox.  And if you followed the instructions above, you will have a 2nd ID on you.

I think that covers it. You've read the Carnival-trip-planning blog, so you are officially good to go!!!