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Hello! This week has been a sad one across Canada, as wildfires continue to burn in Fort McMurray, Alberta with devastating impacts – more than 80,000 people evacuated and at least 1,600 homes lost. The Canadian government is matching all donations made to the Canadian Red Cross in support of relief efforts: donate here.
If there’s any good news coming out of this terrifying story, it’s from some of the airlines, like Canadian North, who let evacuees bring their pets into the cabin. Just look at this sweet face, wearing a travellin’ scarf and getting ready for take-off:
Let’s hope everyone in Fort Mac finds some peace and comfort during this terrible time. Thanks for reading The Packing List, let’s do this:
Travel news you can use
- No, Air Canada did not *raise* flight prices for flights from Fort McMurray,they just charged premium last-minute rates for people fleeing the wildfires. That is completely different! And it’s the computer’s fault! And they eventually fixed it! Unrelated: look at more pictures of dogs flying out of Fort Mac on Canadian North and Westjet.
- Starting today, Paris will ban cars from a number of streets on some Sundays, including the legendary Champs-Élysées, to remind everyone that it is possible to have nice things. [en français]
- Norway is attempting to fix one of the stupidest things about making connections while traveling internationally. A pilot program will allow some travelers to clear customs inside the secure zone and continue on to their new gate, without having to leave, re-enter, and go through security again to get a connecting flight. ALL HAIL NORWAY.
- If you’re flying in, to, or through the United States any time in the next few months, pray to Beyoncé and give yourself *hours* to get through security screening because it’s already a hot mess of long lines and understaffing and it’s just going to get worse throughout the summer.
- Airlines are recruiting passengers to complain on social media, so this is going to get as messy as your cousin’s birthday party where the family drama went from dysfunctional to Shakespearean.
- Carnival Cruises kicked off the onslaught of American cruise tourists to Cuba, the previously-verboten island for Americans that lit-er-ally everyone else has been going for decades.
- Oh good, the Kardashians showed up. While there are mixed feelings about Americans going to Cuba, the country does *not* deserve this.
- Much is being written about a recent study that shows increased incidences of air rage on airplanes with first class sections. I kind of shrugged it off until I counted up the hundreds of a-holes in oversized sweatpants I’ve seen spread out across a seat equal to two seats’ worth of space back in steerage. CLASS WAR!
- Britons with 10-year passports from 2006 onward are advised to upgrade to biometric ones now if their travel plans take them to the United States. The US is turning away travelers – even ones with valid travel authorizations and visas – for lack of a biometic passport. Sigh.
- Venice is installing aerosol sprayers to fight off aggressive, food-stealing seagulls in St. Mark’s Square. Reminder: people voluntarily pay a €5-6 cover charge for this pleasure. And pay €7,50 for a single waterbus ticket. That is unrelated, but it still annoys me three years later.
- I fixed this headline: “Idiot with a selfie stick shuts down roller coaster at Disney.”
- Delta Airlines plans to introduce new baggage tags with RFID technologybecause they want to be the absolute best at losing your luggage. I wrote about this story last week, but I thought of a better joke for it, so I’m repeating it strictly for my benefit.
- This is next-level last wish fulfillment. A bottle washed up on a Cape Breton beach, a tequila bottle with $25 inside and the ashes of a man with a simple wish: to travel the world.
- What happens to your body during a flight? Nothin’ good.
- JetBlue offered customers on a recent flight a 25% discount every time one of the five babies on board cried. By the time they landed, passengers had earned a free flight. I’m sorry to report this one-time-only publicity stunt totally worked.
- New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has installed a replica of the Psycho House on its roof garden (with an amazing view of Central Park) for sole purpose of haunting your dreams for all eternity.
- A fellow from London has just completed his three-year project to visit pubs by every Tube station in the city.
- Manhattanhenge, the annual New York phenomenon where the sun sets perfectly on the city’s grid, is an only-in-New-York experience. This year’s dates are coming up fast, so book your ticket, hope for good weather, and cross the street safely when it’s time to capture it.
- A charming tale of a woman who quit her job as a bartender and is now sailing the world with her first mate, a cat called Amelia. At one point, Amelia went AWOL on shore, but their story resumed its happy ending. If Hollywood wants to make a movie about this, JUST TAKE MY MONEY.
- When is buying an airline ticket like gaming the system? Only always. The key to cheaper fares: fly when no one else does.
- These tips will help you save money from booking to arrival, because you will likely end up paying too much for something at another point in your trip.
- I’m not sure I’ll ever have enough time in London, but I’m going to continue to chip away at it later this month. If your time is super-short, check out this itinerary for two perfect days in the city.
- Ten lessons from living in NYC that also apply to travelling. Yes and yes.
- Can you eat healthy at the airport? No.
- Here’s a thoughtful piece that considers a tough question: is “dark tourism” okay?
- The train is a terrific way to see any country, so here are 25 of the greatest train journeys on Earth.
- Pretty terrific tips for being a good tourist when you’re on a guided group tour. I think I managed to follow all of these tips when I wrote about a food tour I did in Venice.
- And when you’re ready for your biggest adventure yet, check out thesesteps to planning a round-the-world trip.
- Are you a chronic overpacker who wants to see the light and go carry-on only? Here’s the cure for your disease: a 10-step program.
- What do you pack for a cross-country cycling trip? Not nearly as much as I thought.
- When I ran, traveling for marathons was a lot of fun. My crumbling vertebrae say “NOPE!” now, but if you need a nice, concise race kit packing list, this one covers race day beautifully.
- If sketching and painting are your bag, here are a few ideas for packing your palette. I’ve had a few bursts of artistic inspiration while traveling, but I’ve discovered no one wants to see my drawings of stick figures buying bread.
Zipping the suitcase
What is all of those sporty packing lists? Let’s not repeat that or I’ll be taking my running shoes to London and exercise might interfere with my exploration of local pubs and gin palaces. Tell me what you think about this week’s newsletter or any other travel-related topic by sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about where I travel on http://bitesizedtravel.ca or on one of my many of other internet channels. See you next week!