Book early. Flights, hotels, and AirB&Bs will get booked up quickly. I recommend booking your flight or AirB&B at least 4 months before October to get the cheapest rates. If choosing a hotel you might want to book even earlier.
Find your crew! Carnival is always fun when you bring your friends along. But remember that carnival isn’t for everybody. Leave the stush friends at home. If you can’t find anyone to go with look on Facebook traveling groups to see if you can hop along one.
Location. Some people advised me to stay in Fort Lauderdale and I am really happy that I didn’t. Yes, there are parties out there and jouvert and carnival take place at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds , which isn’t far from Ft. Lauderdale but most of the day parties and nighttime parties are in Miami.
Play Mas. Becoming a member of the stripper peacocks team is not cheap. Playing mas in Miami will cost you between 450-1100. There’s a few different mas camps. According to social media land, all of them have their pros and cons. Some well known mas camps are:
Choose your fetes early. Big parties sell out quickly and sometimes you can save 15-25 dollars by buying early bird tickets. Figuring out which party to go to is always a coin toss. Personally, anywhere the paint and powder is, I deh. SSS Blue Jouvert was one of my best carnival experiences in the States.
Pack smart. Day parties, nighttime parties, paint and powder fetes call for different outfits. My Miami carnival list would include:
8-9 Party outfits
2-3 outfits you don’t mind getting destroyed by paint and powder
2-3 bathing suits
sneakers that you don’t mind getting destroyed, cute sandals, heels (not necessary)
nude opaque or fishnet tights (if you’re playing mas)
small waterproof bag (for jouvert )
pain medicine ( in case you drink too much rum)
bandana/old wig/headwrap to cover your hair when they throw powder and paint
Love yourself. Love the moment. Remember that carnival was born out of our enslaved ancestors’ celebration of freedom. So have fun but remember why we celebrate. And remember to love your body, culture, history, and everything in between.