Spring is almost here and that means the streets in NYC will soon be filled with people, fun and most of all food. Throughout the year, NYC boasts some of the country’s most exciting food festivals, and if you’re a fan of food (and really, who isn’t?), attending one sounds like a dream come true, but there are some things you should know first.

At most food festivals, you pay for a ticket, go to the festival, and eat and drink your fill of top quality items on the menu. However, people also complain about food festivals, saying the lines are too long, the weather can be less than ideal, and sometimes food trucks even run out of food. Usually, a food festival depends on you. The festival is what you make it and if you plan accordingly, you’ll have a wonderful experience.

Arrive with plenty of time
Many people make the mistake of arriving an hour or two after the food festival begins. Do not do this, because by the time you get to the festival the lines will be outrageously long and you’ll rush from stand to stand to get the food you want. By arriving early, you’ll avoid a lot of the crowds and can take your time sampling the food.

Dress comfortably
No matter what food festival you’re going to, even if it’s one of the more popular and high-end ones, leave your fancy clothes and high shoes at home. You’ll want to be dress in comfortable clothes and shoes that you can walk around in all day and eat a large amount of food. Aim for loose-fitting clothes and flat shoes. Check the weather ahead of time as well to see how hot or cold it’ll be and whether or not it will rain.

Make a game plan
If you can look at a map of the vendors beforehand, use that to plan out what stands you’ll go to first. If you can’t, it’s even more important you arrive to the festival early, so you can walk around a little and decide the order you’d like to go to the food trucks or stands first. You won’t want to move from one to the next without thinking about the food you’re eating, what if it’s a salty, then sweet, then savoury food? Eating a doughnut, then something fried, and then a sweet food again won’t make you feel good.

Go with people you like
Since you’ll be doing a bit of standing around, either in lines or to eat your food, you’ll want to be with people you enjoy spending time with. That way, if you do have to wait in a long line, you won’t be standing alone or feeling restless. You’ll be able to talk with people you like and have a good time!

Stay hydrated
Since food festivals involve a lot of walking and standing, possibly in the hot sun, it’s important you remain hydrated and avoid any issues. Bring a water bottle with you to the festival and consistently drink from it. If you’re drinking alcohol, it’s even more important to drink enough water, since alcohol can cause dehydration.

Bring cash and cards
Even though you may have bought tickets for the festival beforehand, they might not cover food and drinks or will only partially cover them. Make sure you have cash and credit cards on you to purchase more food or to tip workers. You’ll also need to have your ID if there’s alcohol at the festival, since some festivals do not even let people in unless they have proof that they’re 21+.

Finally, take a look at this awesome list of 24 food festivals around the world that you should definitely try to visit!