Foreign Festival Tips for Lost Girls

Asia, Cultural Travel — By on January 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm
By Amanda King
Special to Lost Girls 

HoChiMinh FestivalRound the world travels are always inspiring and surprising. There’s nothing more astonishing than arriving in a new locale only to stumble upon a city partaking in an annual cultural festival. Vibrant citywide festivities can elevate and enrich your experience in any foreign land—but they can also hinder your travels. Here are some tips to help you immerse yourself in the most stimulating festivals without diverting too far from your scheduled path.

First things first,  if you’re not traveling to a location strictly for a festival – like, say, Carnival in Florence or La Tomatina in Bunol, the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh or any of these LG favorite festivals of 2012 – and especially if you’re traveling between the months of November and February, do some quick research on where you’re going. In both the West and the East, there is a larger concentration of holidays and festivals in those months— from the Mid-Autumn Festival in China to Christmas, New Years and the Spring Festival or Tet in the East.

There are two different things that can happen when you’re traveling somewhere during the holidays: everything will be shut down and the streets will be empty, like Paris in August, or thousands of residents and tourists will be in the streets traveling and converging on one location.

Traveling when the streets are empty isn’t always a bad thing, but you are going to end up with a very different experience—not quite so typically cultural; you won’t be able to roam the streets and feel the heartbeat of the city. There is little to prepare, but make sure all necessary travel offices you may need to utilize are open and staffed.

Traveling during an in-the-streets holiday is quite different. Prepare to be packed like sardines. Here are some tips, for safe-celebrating at foreign festivals.

• Make sure that you have transportation secured, and if you plan on taking cabs, budget a bit of extra money, as drivers are going to up-charge more than they would normally charge foreigners.

• Along with transportation, make sure that you know where you are staying. Book as far in advance as possible, and know that you’re probably going to be paying more.

• Stock up on snacks – depending on where you’re going and how long you’re going to stay out, it’s going to be more difficult to find somewhere to sit down and eat.

• As well as snacks, budget more time for everything. It will take longer to get places. There will be more people everywhere. You will have to push and shove and risk bodily harm to see the view you want to see.

• With the pushing and shoving come pickpockets. Make sure that you don’t carry around more cash than you are going to need for the day – keep the rest of it under lock and key, as well as your passport and any other important documents.

• Have fun, you’re in a city at its most festive, its busy, crowded and the spirit of the city comes alive. You’ll never see anything like it again.

East or West, traveling during the holidays will provide any traveler with an added rush of adrenaline and excitement.

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