The Packing List #1 – Machetes don’t go in carry-on – March 13, 2016

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Hello there!
Welcome to the Bite-sized Travel Packing List #1 (Commemorative Souvenir Edition). This week, I had my annual bout of regret about not going somewhere warm while half of the people I know are away for March Break, so I wrote this newsletter instead. Let’s do this!

Travel news you can use

  • Canada’s new Electronic Travel Authorization program for visa-exempt visitors will have a six-month grace period. Except Americans, who still won’t require one. This is not at all confusing! Apply for your ETA by sending a doughnut wrapped in a maple leaf to your nearest Canadian embassy.
  • More Canadian airports with US Pre-clearance are getting electronic terminals, including my local airport in Halifax. Look straight ahead, the machines take unflattering selfie-like photos that will definitely end up in a slideshow at the Homeland Security holiday party.
  • Going away for March Break? Be prepared in case you get stuck on the plane for 20 hours. By “be prepared,” I really mean “bring baby diapers you can barter for gold jewelry and American money.”
  • My favourite Canadian airlines, Porter and Westjet, finished #1 and #2 in a recent survey of Canadian airlines. My least-favourite airline will continue to respond to passenger complaints like this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will clarify the wording on its “recommended” USD$25 admission fee after a class action lawsuit. The Met has an unmissable collection, but I celebrate American litigiousness on this one because USD$25 is approximately $1 million Canadian dollars right now.
  • The Rolling Stones announced a free show in Cuba on March 25, which is being funded by the Fundashon Bon Intenshon of Curaçao on behalf of Curaçao. If the <ahem> FBI would like to sponsor this newsletter on behalf of either Curaçao or Cuba, I’ll send you a Paypal link.

Nifty finds


Not sure where to go? Let Google help. The mobile app has added a “Destinations” feature that does some of the brainstorming and a lot of the research. Search “[place] destinations,” and the results highlight key cities, estimated costs, flight and hotel booking, suggested itineraries, weather, and most important to me, tourist popularity. Attn Google: please continue harvesting my search data and vital organs if you’re going to do stuff like this with it.

Icelandair is currently offering a “stopover buddy” as part of their push for even more extended layover travel. I’ve done the ol’ Reykjavik stopover, but mine didn’t include a home-cooked meal from an Icelandair pilot.

The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is more than the route from France across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Over on Camino Adventures, Leslie describes the various routes comprising the Camino, along with their lengths and pilgrim popularity. Good to know whether you’re planning for your first Camino or your next one, and especially if you want to avoid 100,000 pilgrims jockeying for a €7 bunk bed after Sarria.


I’ve been working from the same base packing list for years, but if you’re not a packing “enthusiast” (fine, “obsessive”), you might find the PackPoint packing list app a time- and life-saver. Provide the destination, dates, activities and laundry availability and the app produces a suggested packing list even I would use.

If you’re a journalist on the presidential primary circuit, what do you take? Thisarticle from the 2012 campaign tells you how to pack like someone compelled to stay in Iowa for a month in January. I pack light, like I’m on the campaign trail, so I’m always ready to step up if a country is in need of a ruler. <cough>America<cough>I’m right here<cough>

PSA: Please do not pack your neon green, fake blood-splattered machetes in your carry-on.

Zipping the suitcase

That’s it for this inaugural edition of The Packing List. Tell me what you think, what you pack too much of, or where I should go next for vacation by sending a message directly to Find out more about where I travel on See you next week!

Bite-sized Travel Packing List Archive

Halifax Chronicle Herald travel news



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