Have you ever considered centering your next vacation around a unique, vibrant, and unforgettable festival? If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone. Many travelers are now aligning their travel plans with the world’s most celebrated events.
Festival travel lets you experience cultures at their most jubilant, but choosing the right festival to attend and planning your journey requires a thoughtful approach. Let’s explore how to select and prepare for a festive expedition across different continents.
La Tomatina, Spain
Looking for a zesty event? Dive into the world’s largest tomato fight in Buñol, Valencia. A messy, yet delightful experience, this festival is more about the fun than the tomatoes!
Beer enthusiasts, Munich awaits you in late September. Experience authentic Bavarian culture in a two-week festivity that’s renowned worldwide.
If lights and familial warmth appeal to you, plan a trip around Diwali. With lantern-lit streets and vibrant firework displays, you’ll witness India at its brightest.
Holi, the festival of lights, is highly recommended to experience when backpacking in India.
Lantern Festival, China
The lantern festival is a serene event marked by the floating of lanterns and traditional dances. It’s a beautiful end to the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Festivals in Africa
Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco
For the spiritually inclined, this festival in Fez offers musical performances that resonate with religious harmony and global unity.
Experience a grand processional event that celebrates the Ethiopian Epiphany in a symphony or colors and dances.
Festivals and Events in South America
Rio Carnival, Brazil
If high energy, dance, and colorful parades are your thing, the Rio Carnival offers an experience that’s both visually and audibly stunning.
Day of the Dead, Mexico
A profound yet colorful celebration, this festival lets you dive deep into the Mexican traditions of life, death, and remembrance.
Oceania’s Best Festivals
Pasifika Festival, New Zealand
Embrace the Pacific Islands’ diverse cultures in one spot: Auckland. From traditional dances to crafts, it’s a rich cultural immersion.
Sydney Mardi Gras, Australia
If you want to go backpacking in Australia, you might want to time it to attend the Sydney Mardi Gras. Support and take part in an LGBTQIA+ pride parade that’s not just a festival but a strong message of love, acceptance, and rights.
Planning Your Trip
Research in advance. Once you’ve chosen a festival, start by researching the event’s dates, tickets if needed, and other logistical details. Consider using tools like a flight search engine to find low prices, and book early to take advantage of lower demand and the best deals.
Accommodation. Festival periods are often peak times. Booking your stay well in advance will help you avoid last-minute price hikes and unavailability.
Learn about local norms. Learn about the local customs and etiquette related to the festival. This ensures you enjoy the festivities respectfully and without any faux pas.
Pack smart. Some festivals may require specific attire or accessories. For example, for Holi in India, pack clothes you wouldn’t mind getting stained. For Oktoberfest, consider getting a dirndl or lederhosen for the complete experience.
Safety first. Festivals can draw large crowds. Ensure you have necessary items like a money belt, a copy of your identification, and keep a list of emergency numbers.
Engage locally. Consider guided tours or local workshops related to the festival. They can provide deeper insights and enrich your experience.
Budgeting. Remember that festival times can lead to surging prices. Plan your budget keeping in mind the extra costs associated with the event.
Festival travel is more than just sightseeing; it’s about being part of a global narrative and understanding cultures during their moments of collective joy. By choosing the right festival and planning well, you not only witness but also live these unforgettable moments. As you immerse yourself in the celebrations, remember it’s not just about the event, but also the connections and memories you make.