Act Fast to Book Vancouver 2010
Want good tickets to the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Canada's Far West? There's no time to waste: They go on sale this October.
If you don't want to bother with ticket lotteries, pay a little more for a package that includes tickets and a hotel stay. For example, Sports Traveler, a Chicago-based sports tour operator, provides accommodations ranging from two to five stars, but it won't release its 2010 packages until next year (888/654-7755; sportstraveler.net). CoSport hasn't announced its package prices for the Games in Vancouver yet either, but they'll probably be similar to prices for previous Olympics. Consider that for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, packages that covered four nights of lodging and tickets to one event, but not airfare, started at about $2,700.
Before the Winter Games commence, the Canada-U.S. border crossing rules will change, and documents such as a birth certificate and an ordinary driver's license will no longer be sufficient for authorities. The simplest, most surefire strategy in 2010 will be to bring your passport. If you need to start from scratch and apply for a new passport, know that it currently costs $100; you may prefer to apply for a passport card, which costs only $45. For more info on passports and passport cards, visit the Department of State website (travel.state.gov). By 2009, some states, such as Washington and New York, will be offering enhanced driver's licenses that will be about as cheap and effective as passport cards. You will be able to use a passport, a passport card, or an enhanced driver's license to enter and exit Canada by car, bus, rail, or cruise ship. If you fly between here and Canada, you'll need a passport.
*CLARIFICATION (Oct. 8, 2008). Due to an editing error, the original version of this article included the phrase "The lottery favors early birds." By that phrase, we meant to say that it would be advantageous to apply for tickets in the first round rather than wait. We did not mean to imply that it is a "first-come, first-served" lottery. We should have been more clear in explaining that ticket applications in the first round are given equal weight (and are not prioritized according to the date they were submitted).