Pack Your Bags: Olympic Essentials

The blaze of the Olympic flame and the glint of gold medals may have ignited your interest in a Vancouver vacation this February, but now that the torch relay is nearing the finish line, it's time to double check your baggage and make sure you have what it takes to live the Olympic Dream. Here's a list of the items that no winter sports fan should be without:

1. More Cowbell

A must-have at ski races, cowbells were first used in Switzerland to help spectators cheer on their favorite athletes without taking off mittens or losing voices.

2. Your Country’s Flag

Win or lose, the Olympics is a celebration of nations. Support your compatriot athletes by sporting a flag, and don’t be afraid to go the extra mile by decking out in national colors from head to toe.

3. Loonies and Toonies

No, not the cartoons. Canadian one-dollar coins are known as “Loonies” for the picture of a common loon on one side (“Toonies” are two-dollar coins). Bringing Canadian cash is a good way to avoid the hefty service-fees charged by many credit cards for foreign transactions.

4. Personal Translator

Even without the visiting international athletes, coaches, and spectators, over 50% of Vancouver’s population speaks a native language other than English. Get ready for a multi-cultural tour-de-force in British Columbia’s cosmopolitan capital.

5. Walking Shoes

Tourism Vancouver advises that because of Olympic crowds, street closures, and limited parking, “the easiest, fastest and safest way to get around Vancouver during the Games will be public transportation.” Get ready to get around on foot and by public transit.

6. Dancing Shoes

Once the day’s competitions end, the real festivities begin. Think of the Olympics as two weeks of international après ski partying. Downtown Vancouver hotspots like the Roxy Cabaret and Celebrities promise to be packed with sports stars and fans alike.

7. Sports Gear

Most of us aren’t going to make it to the top of the podium, but you can still get to the top of the mountain. Skis, snowboards, ice skates, and even sleds will help you achieve your own Olympic aspirations alongside the competitors.

8. Quatchi, Mukmuk, Sumi and Miga

These are cartoons. Show your Olympic pride with the Vancouver Games’ official mascots. The cartoon animals represent different aspects of Canadian culture. They also represent the spirit and enthusiasm of the Olympics.