As I typed the title of this post, I do know that it sounds slightly off … and no this post is not about packing men into your bags (Ladies or gentlemen) …
The most popular question I’ve gotten from friends and strangers alike for Carnival is “What to wear?”
I’m only going to answer this from the male perspective, since the female perspective of this question could span volumes and frankly I don’t have time to waste. As a man, I’ve learned that not packing the appropriate gear and amenities for Carnival will leave you miserable and inconvenienced … and more importantly, you will have to waste time wading through the abyss of Trinidadian traffic conditions and malls!
For a 5-7 day Carnival trip to Trinidad, every man should pack the following 7 items.
- Sunscreen (One with high SPF and a spray on version)
Sunscreen is the single most importation preparation for Carnival days, especially forfairer skinned people who aren’t accustomed to spending long periods in the sun.The sun can beat down on your skin and leave you red as a lobster. It’s amazing how many men will not pack sunscreen (including myself … I’ve learned many a lesson from bad sunburn and heat rashes). Make sure that your spray on sunscreen is tearless … nothing is worse than a burning sensation in your eyes from too much sunscreen.
Here is an example of not applying sunscreen to your head and wearing your carnival costume.
- Aloe Vera gel
You will get sunburnt chipping in the daylight. The Aloe Vera will help heal and cool your skin.
- One bottle of your very best cologne (Just One bottle!)
Women in Trinidad like their men or all men “smellin’ sweet”. If you hope to pick up, wear some great cologne. Good cologne is expensive in Trinidad and women can smell the difference.
- Two of your best disposable razors
Don’t attempt shopping for disposable razors in Trinidad. They’re expensive and there is no selection. Take along your own shaving cream and not that Gillette gel crap.
Seriously. Although your costume and band will come with all included drinks, nothing says friendly more than single malt scotch from your own personal stock. I’ve always wanted to play mas with a Camelbak … also you could always have cold water in it and not have to brave the lines at your truck. Here is the version I’m getting … It’s also phenomenal for a cooler fete!
- Compact toiletry kit with a dependable Swiss Army Knife
- You should have some band aids for the road. Always great for helping out the females.
- Your Swiss Army knife can help any fashion emergency, open bottles and cut most things or people. (Nuff said there)
- Wet Wipes. Seriously! You’re going to have to use a toilet and it will probably be one of the mobile toilet stalls. You don’t want to be sitting on that .. with your bare skin. Take a pack and you will thank me forever.
You will need a cellphone with a local SIM Card. You can get these in the airport. Phone rates are cheap and will save you tons on roaming. Additionally, no local person will call your foreign number.
Do NOT cheap out on your shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking and chipping (Trini Speak for half dancing and half walking … it’s the standard, shuffling dance step of Carnival.) Get great shoes that fit right and won’t cause blisters. Blisters are the bane of every Carnival feter. Nothing is worse and bothersome than a blister on Carnival Tuesday. NOTHING!!! If you can match your shoes to your costume, even better.
Be safe, don’t come home with any souvenirs from Trinidad unless it’s KFC or a bottle of pepper sauce. Also you will never find the brand you like in Trinidad or more importantly, when you need them.
- Sewing Kit
There should always be one person in the crew, that has some extra stuff like this. Some bands, like Tribe, have personnel on site when you pick up your costume, who will make alterations free of charge. Not all Carnival bands offer this service; it’s advisable therefore, to travel with a small sewing kit, fabric glue, extra Velcro, safety pins and pair of extra shoelaces to make your own adjustments, if required.