Mardi Gras is one of the most famous parties in the world. Swarming the streets of New Orleans, this celebration brings together thousands of people each year to celebrate the day leading up to Fat Tuesday. Think about the craziest party you’ve ever been to. Mardi Gras surpasses any concert, tailgate or frat party you’ve ever been to by a long shot.

If you’re a veteran Mardi Gras goer, or getting ready to join the party for the first time in the upcoming days, you’re in for one heck of a ride. Regardless if you know the ropes or not, it’s crucial to stay safe and fully understand what it is you’re about to experience. Here at 10 tips for surviving 2014 Mardi Gras:

1. Pace yourself. Remember that Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t drink too much too fast and don’t do it all the first day. Enjoy yourself, but drink responsibly.

2. If you have to use the restroom, find a restroom nearby and always know where there is one nearby. The streets will be crowded and the restroom lines will be long, but refrain from using the streets as your restroom (trust us, this is a major problem at Mardi Gras).

3. Don’t wander around alone. If you happen to lose your group, have a meeting spot and/or a fully charged phone to keep in touch.

4. Eat well, but don’t expect to be on a diet this week. You will be dancing and drinking 99% of the time, it’s unlikely you will want a kale salad after drinking margaritas.

5. Keep a lot of Advil nearby. Keep a bottle in your pocket, in your purse, in your hotel too, in your car, etc. Trust us on this one. Advil will be  your best friend.

6. Be mindful of the fact that there are families attending Mardi Gras. If you’re looking for the bare-chested ladies and obscene area, stay uptown near Tulane. If you’re traveling with your family, don’t go anywhere near uptown or downtown near the quarter! Stay near St. Charles area.

7. Do not, we repeat, do not wear your favorite shoes to Mardi Gras. Buy shoes you don’t care about or bring old ones. They will get ruined.

8. When you’re packing, remember to dig for anything in your closet that is purple, green or gold. Those are your go-to colors for Mardi Gras.

9. If  you want some beads, make eye contact with the bead throwers. Eye contact will help you start your bead collection.

10. Last but not least, keep an open mind. This is Mardi Gras. You will see things you’ve never seen before and will be exposed to unfamiliar events, but enjoy it. It’s an experience and an American tradition that is recognized around the global. Have fun and stay safe!