Party season is here in Europe! Carnival is in full swing, and whether you are planning on enjoying it in Italy, or France, or any other European country (or New Orleans), you might want to consider a few things before you don that mask and head out for the night. As women travelers, we usually have to be a bit more cautious than some of our male friends, but if we keep that in mind, we’ll have a great holiday.
Go out with a group.
Though it can be fun to head out with just a friend or two, it never hurts to travel in a pack if you can help it. If something goes wrong, having a friend or three who can help you out is a lot more effective than just one. Also, think twice about going out alone. It’s not uncommon for young women to experience harassment or much, much worse during holidays like this when thoughts and judgment are impaired.
Have a plan.
If by some chance you do get left behind (it happens), make sure you have a plan for if you have gotten separated from friends. Whether it’s find wifi so you can contact them or meet back in a spot that you are all familiar with, it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what to do when you’re lost in a city you don’t know very well—especially one crowded with tourists for the holiday.
Watch your drink.
Although you might think this will never happen to you, I’ve had some friends who were roofied in Florence accidentally. With the popularity of those drugs rising, it’s very possible that you or a friend might experience someone trying to take advantage of you during a holiday where no one knows what is going on. Watch your drink at all time, either by keeping a hand on it or keeping it near you. Again, this is a good reason to have some friends around—they can let you know if someone has been acting suspiciously toward it or if you’re good to go.
Set a limit.
I know, I know. You’re abroad! You want to have fun! You want to be out all night! I completely understand that and I have more than been there. However, a holiday like Mardi Gras or Carnival is more than a free for all—and it can get a bit crazier than your typical Friday night. It never hurts to have a general idea of how much you are going to drink beforehand and what you feel comfortable with.
You can still have an incredible time experiencing a night out during the Carnival or Mardi Gras season. Most the time, everything is sure to go fine and you’ll be more than safe. But just in case it doesn’t, it’s good to be prepared.
Image courtesy of Stefano Montagner.