Traveling isn’t cheap. But some trips are worth the extra cash and the strict budgeting.
If you’re looking for a life-changing travel experience that gives you an intimate view of the history and character of a culture or country, consider attending one of these 10 festivals. Some money-saving tips from travel experts have been included, along with travel package prices from some agencies and tour companies as points of reference.
1. Holi: The Festival of Colors — India
The Holi festival of colors celebrates the beginning of spring — in late February or early March — and is observed mainly in India and Nepal. Revelers shed the gloom of winter by throwing colored powder and water on others, dancing and singing. This is also a time when India’s social rules are relaxed, and the mending of broken relationships is encouraged.
For next year’s festival in Jaipur, India, FriendlyPlanet.com is offering a nine-day, double occupancy package that includes airfare for as low as $1,999 per person.
2. Mardi Gras — New Orleans
Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, is the final day of partying before Ash Wednesday. But in New Orleans, tourists and locals celebrate during the days leading up to Mardi Gras with parades, costumes, music, the throwing of beads, drinking and partying. The celebration brings in more than $1 billion every year in spending for New Orleans. In 2016, a lot of people will be celebrating from Feb. 5 to Feb. 9, and parades will begin as early as January.
The festival is technically free, but hotel and airfare can be expensive. MardiGrasInsiderTours.com offers budget hotel packages for four and five nights. Double occupancy is as low as $1,395 per person for a four-night stay. You can save money, however, by traveling with more people; a quadruple occupancy is only $995 per person.
3. Carnival — Brazil
Brazil’s Carnival is considered the largest carnival in the world. From Feb. 5 to Feb. 9, there will be plenty of street bands, samba parades, balls and parties in Rio. This year, nearly 1 million tourists visited Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, and the city was able to generate $782 million in revenue, reports The Rio Times.
TucanTravel.com offers a triple-occupancy package that includes a four-night stay and other perks for as low as $1,179 per person.
4. Day of the Dead — Mexico
Day of the Dead — or Dia de los Muertos — is a ritual in which people celebrate and honor their deceased relatives. The holiday is celebrated in the U.S., Latin America and Mexico, where it originated. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 2, people will remember their loved ones with parades, processionals and vigils.
GAdventures.com offers a seven-day trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, starting at $1,099. Tourists will be able to tour artisan villages, observe cemetery vigils, watch parades and more.
5. Running of the Bulls – Spain
From July 6 to July 14, tourists travel to Pamplona, Spain, for the San Fermin festival to see the famous running of the bulls where thrill seekers put themselves in the path of six bulls set loose in the streets. The run is followed by music, fireworks and more festivities.
Pamplona-Tours.com usually offers reasonable deals for those who want to attend the festival. This past year, it offered a four-night package for $1,945 that included an evening at the bull fight, a walking tour of the bull run route, a banquet dinner, a tapas happy hour and more.
6. Oktoberfest — Germany
What started off as a celebration of the marriage between Bavarian Prince Louis and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen later became an annual festival in Munich, Germany. Today’s Oktoberfest includes more than 6 million people going to parades, dressing up in costumes and drinking lots and lots of beer.
Spyglass Tours offers a package that includes a three-night, double occupancy hotel stay from Oct. 2 to Oct. 5, tent reservations, a Munich transportation pass and more for as low as $795 a person.
7. Burning Man — Nevada
Burning Man bills itself not as a festival but as a “temporary metropolis” in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 17, thousands of people gather to explore art, self-expression and community. The event encourages attendees to participate by creating art installations, theme camps or mutant vehicles. Inspiring creativity, individuality and inclusion, Burning Man will likely leave you feeling enriched and connected.
Individual tickets for the event in 2015 cost $390, and vehicle passes are $50 plus applicable fees.
8. Glastonbury Festival — England
The world’s biggest music event, according to The New York Times, takes place in Somerset County near Pilton, England. The Glastonbury Festival celebrated its 45th anniversary back in June, and its lineup included Kanye West, Foo Fighters, The Who, Florence & The Machine, Pharrell Williams and more.
Tickets for the 2015 event were £225 apiece or about $350. The 135,000 available tickets sold out about 25 minutes after they went on sale, so make sure you have your credit card ready to go when tickets for the 2016 festival go on sale.
9. Loi Krathong — Thailand
Loi Krathong is a centuries-old festival that typically marks the end of the rainy season, according to CNN. Those celebrating make a wish and create decorated, lotus-shaped boats and baskets with candles or lanterns to float on the river. It’s a symbolic way for people to get rid of bad feelings or prevent bad luck. Loi Krathon is also know for its flying lanterns that light up the sky.
Last year, a survey by the Center of Economics and Business Forecasting of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce found 77.2 percent of Thai respondents planned to attend festival events, generating an estimated 11.1 billion baht in spending.
10. Inti Raymi — Peru
The Inti Raymi — or Festival of the Sun — in Cusco, Peru, is a nine-day winter solstice celebration, according to Fest300.com. The festival features colorful costumes, copious feasting and reenactments of Incan rituals that will transport visitors back to the culture’s ancient past. The festival occurs every June.
Reserved seating at the Sacsayhuaman fortress cost $100 to $140 for the 2014 festival, according to TheOnlyPeruGuide.com. For those who don’t want to pay for a reserved seat in the fortress, Jacquie Whitt, co-founder of Adios Adventure Travel, said, “It’s possible to enjoy parades and processions beginning next to Qoricancha temple — to and from Sacsayhuaman — for free.”
Keep reading: 10 Exotic Places You Can Visit on $10 a Day or Less