The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans is a one of kind event. The city’s population nearly doubles during the celebration, which traditionally starts a few days before Fat Tuesday as visitors head to The Big Easy to see multiple parades and celebrations. If you plan on attending this year, here are some of our tips for making the most of your trip:

  •  Pick a Meet-Up Spot: If you’re traveling with friends or in a group, pick an easy-to find place to regroup if you get separated or want to split up. Because of the crowds, cell phone service can be spotty and it can be very hard to hear your phone with the celebratory crowds.
  • A Bag for your Swag: If you plan on keeping things thrown from the floats, bring a bag that’s easy to expand. It will be much easier to carry your beads, cups, doubloons, and other free items.
  • Bike It: Traffic can be crazy, parking is non-existent, and many roads are closed for parades. You can save yourself time and frustration by renting a bike to get around. Several companies will deliver to your hotel – just make sure you get a lock to keep it safe.
  •  Be Smart: If you plan on being near Canal Street, make sure you leave your purse behind and keep your valuables close by. Tight crowds can make it easy for your phone or wallet to be taken.
  • Step on Doubloons: The coin throws are easy to keep than beads and other larger items, but you can easily get your fingers smashed when trying to pick them up if you’re not careful. To claim your doubloon, step on it and wait until you have a chance to pick it up.
  • Pick your Procession: The different parades have something unique to offer. Do a little research ahead of time to see what peaks your interest the most, and see the different routes to make sure you can get a good view.

Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras can be quite the experience. With a little prep and research ahead of time, you can be sure to make the most of all the celebrations. For more tips and suggestions be sure to visit the 2016 Mardi Gras Survivor’s Guide.