Photo: Tourism British Columbia
Whether you're traveling to Canada for the upcoming 2010 Olympics or going to soak up the post-Games vibe, Vancouver remains one of my favorite cities. It's a vibrant, eclectic community that really does have something for everyone—laid-back fish shacks, high-end sushi, designer fashion, funky thrift shops, a world-class art museum and offbeat downtown galleries. What's particularly attractive is that Vancouver is an incredibly navigable city. It's walkable in its busy downtown area and is well connected by three rapid transit lines both above and underground.
Now, while I'm a fan of Vancouver as a destination, I do have one big warning for anyone traveling to Canada in the next several weeks. Following the attempted bombing of a Northwest flight on Christmas Day, Canadian authorities have enacted a ridiculous and draconian security rule for those flying home from Canada: no carry-on bags allowed. That means no briefcases or backpacks. Just a small laptop bag that can carry just…a laptop. Or a small purse. That's it. *
Not a single security authority has been able to logically explain this new rule to me. But they're out there, earnestly enforcing it. Recently, when I flew home from Vancouver, the security lines meant about a two-hour wait, not counting the additional time it took for folks to start repacking all their stuff into check-in bags at the terminals.
And I was no exception. I was denied boarding (along with hundreds of other passengers) because they said my briefcase was too big. This is the same briefcase that has logged more than 1.5 million air miles carrying my laptop, wallet, airline tickets and notebook. Note to Canada: If you want me to come to the Olympics, please employ common sense and remove the ridiculous one carry-on bag rule.
* Editor's note: After the original publication this article, the Canadian government lifted its restrictive ban on carry-on items on all flights entering the U.S. Read more about Transport Canada's travel rule change in The Vancouver Sun .