Shares
11
Shares
Share with your friends










Submit

Hawaiian shirt. Check. Colorful lei. Check. Laidback attitude and desire to escape everyday life. Check. Sounds like you’re well on your way to vacationing like a Parrot Head, those rollicking, rabid fans of trop rock troubadour Jimmy Buffett.

If you’ve got tickets to any of his upcoming shows and have travel plans around them, we’ve got a list of easy-to-follow rules that will make sure your change in latitude is the best it can be. In fact, these 10 pieces of priceless advice—which come courtesy of the 25,000-member-strong Jimmy Buffet fan group, Parrot Heads in Paradise (PHIP)—could apply to just about any vacation, or even life in general.

For those who don’t know, PHIP was first launched by fan Scott Nickerson in 1985 and the group has since raised over $46 million for charity. We can all drink to that. Now, here’s what can we learn from these rabid relaxationists…

RELATED: Don’t have Buffet tickets yet? Don’t worry, you can get them now right here on CheapTickets.com!

1. Pack the beach in your bag

Being a Parrot Head is all about that casual, relaxed beach vibe, so packing for a trip as a Parrot Head is relatively simple: shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Beyond those basics you can add swimsuits, coconut bras, grass skirts, and even pirate paraphernalia. As for footwear, pack your flip-flops. No other footwear is required. Maybe throw in an extra pair along with some Band-Aids in case you suffer the fate that Jimmy sings about in “Margaritaville,” when he “blew out my flip flop. Stepped on a pop top. Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.” What the Parrot Heads are trying to tell you here is, keep it simple; do not over pack.

2. Decorate your noggin’

The Kentucky Derby may be all about those elegant chapeaus the fancy ladies wear. For a Jimmy Buffet concert, fans don hats shaped like parrots, shark fins, coconuts and yes, even cheeseburgers. But why limit yourself to one item? Grab a straw hat and cover it with your own interpretation of the Parrot Head Nation—dangle plastic cheeseburgers, bananas, oranges, lobster and flamingos from it. Whatever floats your boat. There are very few sartorial rules for Parrot Heads. In other words, even on vacation, you do you.

3. Waste away in Margaritaville—any Margaritaville

Obviously, Parrot Heads flock to the chain of Margaritaville bars. But did you also know that they also convene at Landshark Bar & Grill, Cheeseburger in Paradise and 5 O’clock Somewhere? Consider the neon signs of these establishments to read “Welcome, Parrot Heads.” You may not always have a view of the ocean or be able to stick your toes in the sand at all the locations, but you’ll always be able to find an island drink served with a brightly colored umbrella. The Parrot Head life lesson here is that it’s not so much about the destination you’re in as it is the company you’re with (and the drink in your hand).

4. Set an alarm for 5pm

Parrot Heads are fond of reminding each other, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” in tribute to the Alan Jackson music video featuring Jimmy Buffett. As he sings, “At a moment like this, I can’t help but wonder, what would Jimmy Buffet do?” Never miss the start of happy hour with a daily reminder of the unofficial kickoff to cocktail time. Does that mean you have to wait until 5 for a drink? The Parrot Heads don’t. As the song says, “It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” Parrot Heads aren’t known to adhere to rigid schedules, and neither should you—so on your next trip, leave some time to relax and see where the day takes you.

ALSO: Spend a little extra time in Margaritaville when you save big with CheapCash! Sign up today.

5. Practice your fin dance everywhere you go

Have you ever seen tens of thousands of grown adults simultaneously touching their hands above their heads and swinging their fins to the left, fins to the right? No? Well, then you haven’t been to a Buffet concert. Being silly and participating with total abandon are two things Parrot Heads excel at. Give it a try on your next vacation and you just might make some new friends or be a part of some really fun and unexpected new experiences.

Flickr CC: Sam Howzit

6. Lei one on at a tailgate party

The party for Parrot Heads starts in the parking lot, with decked-out party tents and truck beds filled with water and edged with grass skirts. Expect to find full tiki bars set up, shark-shaped golf carts and thousands of Parrot Heads roaming with inner tubes around their waists and festooned with dozens of leis. No tailgate around? You can still vacation like a Parrot Head. Just set up a similar compound on the beach. Parrot Heads will soon find you, drawn like moths to a flame to your tiki torch. What this translates to for your next vacation is, find your people. No matter what your destination or interests are (cooking, history, soccer, gaming, yoga, whatever), do a little research ahead of time to connect with like-minded locals.

7. Pack an extra shaker of salt

Who would have thought a song about sponge cake, sunburned tourists and boiling shrimp would end up on the song list for the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame? “Margaritaville” has a lively tune, often belted at the top of their lungs by inebriated Parrot Heads. But it’s a sad song, really. Not only did his flip-flop break, he lost his shaker of salt, which every Parrot Head needs to rim his Margarita glass. This is just a metaphor for being prepared. Don’t suffer the same fate as poor Jimmy. Pack an extra of that thing you know you might lose on your trip—an extra phone charger, sunglasses, swim trunks, you name it.

8. Feast and imbibe like a Parrot Head

At the bottom of the Parrot Head food pyramid are of course margaritas and cheeseburgers. These food choices come courtesy of two of Buffet’s most popular tunes, odes to the “frozen concoction that helps me hang on,” and “that American creation on which I feed!” Other food and drinks mentioned in Jimmy Buffet songs include the Hurricane, gumbo, peanut butter, mango, fruitcake, dill pickles, Dreamsicles and Champagne. Beer drinkers sip on frosty bottles of Landshark Lager made by Margaritaville Brewing Co. The takeaway here? Calories don’t count on vacation. Live a little!

9. Laugh so you don’t go insane

This just might be the most important rule of all because sometimes travel presents you with unexpected challenges—a canceled flight, a bout of rain, a little Montezuma’s revenge. This is not the time to curl up on your hotel room floor and call it quits. Instead, take a cue from Jimmy’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” This is the time you look for a chum with a bottle of rum and make the most of it, laugh in the face of adversity and move on. The beach will still be there in the morning.

Stay in a colorful nest: A list of top Parrot Head hotels

Sashaying into the lobby in your flamingo-festooned straw hat and grass skirt should never feel awkward. If you’re following Jimmy on the road, or just want to spend your vacation with other Parrot Heads, these resorts welcome the lifestyle with open arms.

Fort Lauderdale, FL: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
Like the restaurant, Margaritaville hotels were tailor-made for relaxed sun-seekers.

Miami, FL: Circa 39
Get an instant change in attitude with the brightly colored décor and rum drinks like the Rumaway Bride at WunderBar at this Miami gem.

Montego Bay, Jamaica: Altamont West
The exterior and lobby are painted in parrot shades, of yellow, green and red.

Holetown, Barbados: Coral Reef Club
In addition to its name, so similar to Jimmy’s Coral Reefer Band, Parrot Heads will love this hotel for its laid-back luxury.

Key West, FL: NYAH
This affordable, quirky adults-only property charges by the room, not the person, encouraging Parrot Heads to nest together.

Key West FL: Casa Marina
The Parrot Head Mecca, this hotel hosts the annual conference for Parrot Heads, Meeting of the Minds.

 
app

Tagged: Caribbean, Destinations, Events, Florida, Music

Jan Schroder

Jan Schroder

An award-winner writer based in Atlanta, Jan is also an editor, book author, publisher of Girl on the Go and a really pathetic packer for a travel writer. She is also editorial director of The 100 Companies, a publishing platform with 100-word stories and 100-second videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *