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10 Life-Changing Festivals Around the World

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.
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By Charlene Oldham, Contributor

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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

To save money, "do some of your beer sampling at local pubs and not at the festival itself -- brews inside the festival grounds can go for 10 euros or more," said David Bakke of Money Crashers.

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 cost $390 this year, 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 45 anniversary back in June, and its line-up 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 ticket for the 2016 festival go on sale.

9. Loi Krathong -- Thailand

Loi Krathong festival 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 the 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 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 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."

This post originally appeared on 10 Life-Changing Festivals Around the World

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