Let me preface this with saying that I'm honestly NOT trying to be an asshole in this blog post. I think this post in necessary because a lot of you want to go to carnival but seem to be completely oblivious to what carnival costs outside of North America. I give non-carnival goers estimates of how much it costs and they look at me with the most remarkable, confused and disgusted face.
Carnival is not for the weak.
Carnival is not for the broke.
Carnival will have you spent both physically and monetarily.
In three weeks I will be going to Barbados for Cropover. This will be my third time attending the festivities, but I haven't been since 2013. Back then I use to go for two weeks at a time and I always played mas and did a couple of fetes. This time around I am only going for one week and will be doing six events, j'ouvert (which is Foreday in Barbados) plus playing mas on Kadooment day in full costume.
Although Barbados is still not as expensive as the grandiose Trinidad Carnival, I will say it sure is trying its best to compete in the category. Mix bigger popularity with a shitty Canadian dollar vs USD dollar and you'll catch yourself suddenly working overnights on weekends just to afford it. (Me, currently)
My trip to Barbados this year for Cropover is costing more than both previous times I went for two weeks at a time in 2012 and 2013, costing more than the 17 days I went to Europe in 2015 and costing more than the 19 days I went to Asia at the end of 2016.
One. Frigging. Week.
This example of MY budget breakdown shouldn't dissuade anyone from attending carnival. I may be bitching about the cost of it, but to me carnival is worth it. Carnival will always be worth it. Some of the best times in my life have been at carnival. I write this breakdown for all of you who complain about $50 fetes in Canadian currency. For all of you that think carnival is something you can plan last minute to attend. For all of you who had a # in your head for how much carnival would cost but are waaaaay the hell off.
This is for you.
This is my exact cost breakdown of Cropover this year.
Few things; I did not book my flight far enough ahead that's why the cost is absurd (however, it was absurd for many people this year). I am not going as HARD as I could with the fetes. Yes I am going to six events within five days, but that easily could have been 7-9 if I wanted to go full pace. Also, I will not include the money I will be spending during my layover in St. Lucia because that is particular to just myself and how I arranged my flights.
Here we go - note, I will show you how much things are in USD and converted into CAD so you can cry with me.
Flight to Barbados = $396.17 CAD (had a 15% off coupon code to get this price)
Flight back to Toronto = $175.70 USD ($225.36 CAD) to St. Lucia, $339.46 USD ($433.28 CAD) from St. Lucia to Toronto same day
Flight total: $1,054 CAD
** At the time of booking this return flight, the 'direct' flights going from Barbados to Toronto on my desired day were $1300 one way. When I went back in 2013, my round trip was $550 CAD. This should teach all of you to BOOK EARLIER **
Hotel: $1049.89 USD ($1352 CAD) / 2 = $676.00 for one week
** I wanted to be in the Gap and beachfront, luckily I at least have my best friend to split this cost with **
Backline Costume for Kadooment: $455 USD ($585.93 CAD)
Backline for Foreday: $90 USD ($115.90 CAD)
1) Wednesday: Fyah De Wuk = $50.52 USD ($65.06 CAD)
2) Thursday: Lush Cooler Fete = $50.37 USD ($64.86 CAD)
3) Friday: Candy Coated CropoOver Cruise = $106.49 USD ($137.13 CAD)
4) Saturday: Bliss All Inclusive Fete = $260 BDS ($167.47 CAD)
5) Sunday: Jalapeno Sunrise = $52.24 USD ($67.27 CAD)
6) Sunday: Soca Brainwash = $66.88 USD ($86.12 CAD)
Party Total: $587.91 CAD
Spending money: $500 USD ($643.88 CAD)
** I assume this will be enough for liquor, food and taxi all week, pending I do not buy too much Mount Gay **
Total Cost of Cropover 2017: $3663.62
That is a lot of money.
I really could have done better by booking my flight earlier and maybe picking a different place to stay. However, these fete prices and costume prices are still the same for all of us. These shitty exchange rates are still the same for all of us. The spending money will be equal to or more for ALL OF US. Maybe others did it for much cheaper (more than likely did) but I wanted to give all of you an idea of what you're up against trying to be an international carnival goer.
Whenever you do get the time off, the money together and some stamina - DO go to carnival! Plan accordingly and make an effort to attend one in the Caribbean when you can. It will change your life. Worth every penny spent. You will just have to cry through these extra shifts so that you can get the chance to sweat out rum when you get there!