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Hello! It’s been quite a week in my corner of Canada, where we got approximately 70cm (~28 inches) of snow over a few days. I’m very tired, but got to skip back and shoulder day at the gym.
It seems uncertainty is the new normal. What does it all mean? I think this is going to be a week-to-week evolution: figuring out whether there are new rules this week, whether they apply to you, who is being harmed in the process, and is it worth it? As usual, things may change between the time I write this and the time you read it, but let’s hope for the best. Thanks for reading The Packing List, have a great week!
Travel news you can use
- A bill before the Canadian parliament will expand the enforcement powers of US border guards who conduct US pre-clearance at Canadian airports and I AM NOT HERE FOR IT.
- It is not news Air Canada inconvenienced a bunch of passengers after their flight was cancelled and there was no food at the airport. It is news when a Westjet pilot bought those AC passengers a bunch of pizzas. This story is on-brand for both airlines.
- Police in Iceland are pulling over swerving drivers who are not drunk, just watching the aurora borealis. Please don’t drive & aurora-gaze.
- To boost tourism, Argentina is refunding hotel and lodging tax for visitors. Canadians and Australians must still pay a C$92/A$100 “reciprocity” fee prior to entry, for something that is technically visa-free travel, so they can pound sand.
- This week in US travel discrimination news:
- A new travel ban is on its way. By the time you read this, it may have already been introduced and has caused fresh, new chaos.
- If you’re Canadian going into the US, these are your rights (spoiler: you don’t have any).
- 46% of Germans who would like to visit the USA won’t go under the new regime, while 36% have said they would still like to travel there.
- The US travel ban is causing travelers to re-think their American travel plans. Bookings and “traveler confidence” are down.
- What’s it like to travel when your otherwise acceptable passport says you’re originally from one of the banned countries?
- The Canadian dollar is still pretty terrible against currencies like the UK pound and Euro, come visit us instead!
- Airlines are removing in-seat screens and entertainment systems because travelers are bringing their own devices. I regularly fly on an airline that does this, providing an in-flight entertainment system over free, locked-down wifi. Highly recommended!
- AirBNB hosts in New York City – who rent their own individual apartments – are concerned about the recent crackdown. Where do these people live when they have AirBNBers?
Nifty finds: your rights & digital privacy
- This week, we heard about the American citizen/NASA employee who was forced by US CBP agents to unlock his NASA phone for their review.
- So, here we are: some ideas for protecting your digital privacy from the unwelcome, snooping eyes of US border agents.
- What are your rights if you’re flying to the US and border agents demand access to your phone and social media accounts? If you’re an American citizen, you have more rights than you may think. If you’re a visitor, you’re [bleep] out of luck. I’d suggest cleaning off your phones and changing your passwords to things that are hilariously offensive.
Planning your next trip
- I don’t want to go *everywhere*, but a round-the-world noodle tour sounds like a great idea.
- This NatGeo story about urban innovation in Kigali, Rwanda is only sort of travel-related, but I’m sharing it because it highlights a Kickstarter I’m supporting – a woman-run craft brewery that’s being mentored by a terrific Canadian brewery. It’s been exciting to watch this project develop, and this is an inspiring read about how Kigali is a brilliant example of a modern African city.
- A variety of consumer-friendly (mostly US) regulations for travel mishaps that no company will tell you about.
Packing lists and tips
- The harmless things in your checked luggage that will trigger a search, with more detailed tips for packing your bags. (That second link is on some kind of prosperity gospel website, so you’ll be peppered with ebook download requests.)
- This generously-pocketed “airport jacket” is a great way to avoid baggage fees and end up in secondary screening.
- FWIW, I bought one of these travel pouches/seat back packs for in-flight comfort and I LOVE IT.
Zipping the suitcase
Tell me what you think about the newsletter by sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about where I travel here on http://bitesizedtravel.ca. See you next week!