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Hello and Happy Easter!

This week, I was struck down by the plague. You would think this would have some productivity benefits for home-based activities, but you would be wrong. Huzzah! Over on Bite-sized Travel, I wrote about my adventure exploring the caves of Grotte Marie-Jeanne in Port-à-Piment in southwest Haiti. Thanks for reading The Packing List!


Travel news you can use

  • British travel booking site lastminute.com is offering a “Trump the Trump” guarantee. I know this is just a PR stunt and it is a very good one.
  • Americans are starting to rethink their summer European travel plans. Eesh. There’s no funny take on this, so, buy good travel insurance, or say goodbye to your good buy. At least you didn’t pay for your trip in Canadian dollars?
  • You may not of heard of the Union Pearson Express, Toronto’s glorious failure of an express train between Pearson International Airport and downtown. Few have, it seems, since it was originally priced at CAD$27.50 one-way and enjoyed daily ridership of less than 10% of its capacity. Good news! Fares have been dramatically reduced – starting at $9 for electronic fare card holders – in a bid to increase ridership from nothing to anything, please God, anything.
  • #viajosola (“I travel alone” in Spanish) blew up on Twitter after the murders of two Argentinian women backpacking in Ecuador drew the usual round of BS questions like, “Why were they traveling alone?” (Spoiler: they weren’t alone, they were together) I travel solo regularly and any time I encounter this kind of BS in the form of “safety tips” I want to respond with: “Thanks, but you should definitely focus on telling people not to murder women travelers.” I could go on, but read this more eloquent, similarly-themed response instead.
  • Oh good, hotels are cravenly angling for that sweet, sweet lady business by throwing pink over everything and telling guests where to find the spa. Ladies gotta go to spa before all of that shopping, amirite?
  • Lufthansa is introducing new electronic baggage tags, which will be trackable through the airline’s app. When fully implemented, it will provide luggage delivery info, or if your bag goes off on a separate adventure, tracking, reporting, and scheduling for delivery. Roll-out begins now-ish at Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, and Milan. Canada’s largest airline will continue to laugh and laugh and laugh when they send your bag to Hamilton instead of Halifax.
  • Setting aside The Daily Mail‘s reputation, I love the shade they throw at British Prime Minister David Cameron for his choice of vacation destination, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Fancy some ointment for that burn, Mr. Cameron?

Nifty finds

  • If you can’t get to South Africa for safari this year, Google’s growing world of immersive experiences can take you there. South Africa: The Mzansi Experience takes you along on a virtual safari in Kruger National Park thanks to Street View. Stay inside your vehicle and prepare for elephant sightings!
  • Settle in for a travel-themed Q&A with Michael Palin. In addition to being a founding and current member of Monty Python, Palin has had a remarkable second career as a travel writer and presenter. Even after 25 years, he finds wonder in every part of the world.
  • This charming tale about learning how to pour cider in the Asturias region in Spain reminded me of when I learned to do the same in an Asturian bar in Madrid. Impress your friends and amaze the Asturians when you go to Spain by learning how to do it.

Planning

  • If you’re visiting the San Francisco Bay area, maybe you want to stay at this USD$10,000/night AirBNB which previously hosted Beyoncé (#blessed) and, more recently, Justin Bieber (#antibiotics). Also, you’re poor.
  • Like riding a bike or plotting revenge, travel is a set of skills that can be developed. Master these 20 things, then these 18 more, and then go make your next destination your own.
  • Chatty Maps is a social media + geography project that shows the noise composition in 12 American and global cities.I tested it with my last London flat and it showed 33% “human” noise, which is accurate, because we stayed on the path of many Jack the Ripper walking tours which were educational (from what we could hear on the second floor).

Packing

  • If you’re fighting the good fight to travel carry-on only, one of most vexing questions you’ll ask is: “How long do these wee travel toiletries last?” Her Packing List has done the science for you and reports back. FWIW, I’ve done the “track toiletry usage before you go” method and found a small bottle of contact lens solution lasts me about 10 days.
  • This is not only art, it’s a one-way ticket to a lifetime of “random screenings.” Maybe don’t pack it in your luggage at all.
  • The recent Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas offered up these eight ways to throw money at your packing problems.

Zipping the suitcase

An early draft of this week’s newsletter featured a sarcastic bit about how a controversial political leader got “randomly selected” for ultra-security screening on a recent flight. I scapped all of my jokes about ineffective airport security in light of this week’s terrible events at the Brussels Airport. Instead, I’d like to state the best way to learn the world is a fundamentally good place is to continue exploring it. Wherever you are in the world, including your hometown, exercise an appropriate amount of caution, but don’t be afraid, we’re all in this together.

My apologies for ending this week’s Packing List on a down note. Tell me what you think about this week’s newsletter or any other travel-related topic by sending a message directly to bitesizedtravel@gmail.com. Find out more about where I travel right here on http://bitesizedtravel.ca. See you next week!


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