01/31/2013 07:44 am ET Updated Apr 02, 2013

10 Mardi Gras Necessities

The biggest party of the year is about to start! Whether you call it Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or anything else, the celebration of celebrations happens around the world in the days and weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday and the somber period of Lent.

The biggest and best-known celebrations are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans, Louisiana. However, you can find yourself in the midst of Carnival in any corner of Brazil and many other countries in the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday, which is February 13th this year. Mardi Gras lasts for weeks in Louisiana, Alabama and other corners of the globe. The first parades in New Orleans roll on January 19th (though there will be a break in the action around the Super Bowl this year).

There are many local customs for any of the celebrations but to make the most of the revelry and pageantry, there are some common ways to prepare yourself for an experience like no other. Start by bringing these essentials brought to you by the travel experts at Cheapflights:

10 Things To Bring To Mardi Gras