Heading north to see the Olympics in Vancouver?

by Jessica on November 11, 2009    |    1 Comment

Many moons ago when my parents moved my brothers and I from Connecticut to Oregon, we drove cross-country and spent much of our trip north of the border in Canada. I don’t remember much in the way of details about the places we saw, and as an adult I’ve only managed to make it back up to Canada a handful of times. My most recent journey was a road trip through British Columbia this past summer with my mom, and like any good trip to a place that just begs to be explored, it only whet my appetite for more Canadian adventures.

Pretty soon, the eyes of the world are going to be focused squarely on one of the coolest cities in Canada – and the world, I daresay – when the Olympics set up shop in Vancouver. Most of us will probably watch from afar, but as any sports enthusiast can tell you, there will also be a gaggle of people showing up in Vancouver to see the events live and to soak up the international atmosphere.

Back when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City, my husband and one of his friends planned a road trip to check them out (since it was so tantalizingly close from Portland). They’d planned on roughing it, sleeping in the back of the friend’s covered pickup and just catching a few of their favorite events before heading home. Then my mother stepped into the picture and said a family friend was (a) competing in the games, and (b) lived in Park City. So she ended up tagging along and they all crashed in high style in the comfy basement of our family friend’s house.

This time, with the games also temptingly close to us in Vancouver, I’m fully expecting my husband to announce that he’s headed north sometime in February. Unfortunately, however, this time there aren’t any family friends in Vancouver whose basements he can call home.

What about you? Are you planning to spend some of your vacation time (and money) in Vancouver for the Olympics? Do you already have your airfare to Vancouver purchased and are now scouring the listings for whatever cheap hotels in Vancouver might still have rooms available?

Travelers to Vancouver for the Olympics likely won’t be surprised by higher prices on everything from flights to accommodation, but smart travelers will also try to find ways around paying top dollar for anything. I haven’t checked vacancies recently, but a couple months ago when I was looking at this for other articles I found several of the hostels in Vancouver were offering specials or extra perks for guests staying during the Olympics. I’d still recommend booking sooner rather than later, but if you’re a last-minute traveler it still doesn’t hurt to ask if there are any cancellations or unforeseen vacancies.

For more help on picking a hostel, here’s an article I wrote with information about the Olympics venues in and around Vancouver (plus some of the hostels in the city), and here’s another article I wrote with a few of the best-rated hostels in Vancouver. We also wrote a series of articles dedicated to different ways to find Olympics travel deals, which come in handy.

And if you’re anything like me and you’d just as soon let the Olympics chaos die down before you book a trip to Vancouver or British Columbia to see what all the fuss is about, then you might want to take a look at my 5 reasons to visit British Columbia that have nothing to do with the Olympics. Just browsing through that article makes me want to go back. Now.


November 11, 2009

One of the unfortunate aspects of the Olympics is that corporate sponsors are trying to dominate not only people’s mind space, but the physical space as well, which will be enforced by the police if IOC and VANOC get their way: http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjmupul.

For a more genuine local experience, I would recommend avoiding the ersatz chains & mass brands; discover what is unique to Vancouver. For example, there is a serious coffee culture here outside of Starbucks: http://www.thecafeguide.com/city-guide-dt-4.php.

A couple of Web sites that will help you with food and drink suggestions are:



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