Carnival and Mardi Gras

Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many countries. Some of the most popular celebrations take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nice, France; Venice, Italy; Cologne, Germany; Quebec, Canada; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Trinidad and Tobago. The dates in which the celebrations occur vary by location. The most common dates are from Friday before Lent (Ash Wednesday) through Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

See below the anticipated celebration dates for the next three years.

  • 2015 Friday, February 13, through Tuesday, February 17
  • 2016 Friday, February 5, through Tuesday, February 9
  • 2017 Friday, February 24, through Tuesday, February 28

If you will travel to celebrate Carnival and Mardi Gras, consider the following recommendations from the U.S. Department of State, the CDC and the International Center Risk and Safety Office.

Research your destination

  • The U.S. Department of State Learn About Your Destination webpage offers information on crime and security , health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localized hot spots and more.
  • Determine if you need a visa for your destination.
    • U.S. Citizens can rely on the country’s quick facts found at the Learn About Your Destination webpage and if needed, contact the embassy directly for information on how to apply for a visa.
    • Non-U.S. Citizens can explore whether they will need a visa by contacting the country’s embassy or consulate directly.
  • Monitor Travel Alerts and Warnings regularly for your destination.


  • Talk to your doctor about vaccines and medicines recommended for your destination.
  • Verify you have overseas medical insurance and repatriation / evacuation insurance.   If you are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, check the ICRSO International Travel Best Practices webpage for insurance information.

Get ready to go

  • If you are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, follow the International Travel Best Practices to obtain appropriate institutional authorization, insurance and safety network through registration of your itinerary with International SOS.
  • Expect significant travel congestion. Many people are traveling during this time.
  • Make photocopies of your itinerary and travel documents to take with you, including your passport, visa, itinerary, hotel confirmation, airline ticket, driver’s license and credit cards.
  • Leave with your emergency contact copies of your itinerary and travel documents, and leave at home or in another secure place credit cards you will not use.
  • Notify your home country embassy or consulate at your destination of your trip. U.S. Citizens can notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • If you are traveling on behalf of the University and are carrying electronic devices, review the Export Control regulations and be prepared to show the signed B16-EXC form when required.
  • Pack Smart. Pack light, make sure you are not carrying banned items or substances, and have vital documents within reach.
  • Pack a travel health kit.

During your trip

  • Be transportation smart. Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
  • Follow safety and security guidelines. Check the Safety and Security section of the U.S. Department of State Country Information webpage for your destination.
  • Follow food and water safety guidelines. Visit the CDC Food and Water Safety page.
  • Follow guidelines for hot climates. Visit the CDC Travel to Hot Climates and Sun Exposure pages.
  • Prevent mosquito bites. Visit the CDC Avoid Bug Bites page.
  • Reduce exposure to illness. Check the Stay Healthy and Safe section at the CDC webpage for your destination.
  • Reduce your risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the CDC Traveler STD page.
  • If you feel sick and are traveling on University business or an Education Abroad program, contact ISOS for assistance. You may also check the CDC get medical assistance webpage.

After your trip

  • The CDC’s getting sick after travel webpage lists some of the common health issues travelers might experience after returning home.
  • If you feel sick, check with your doctor.

The information on this page may change without notice