Author Topic: How to Save on Trip to Portland  (Read 5214 times)

RonMcCord

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How to Save on Trip to Portland
« on: March 23, 2016, 10:24:11 AM »
I'm planning on visiting Portland in July for about a week.  Right now it's looking to be about $500 for tickets and $200-300 for stay at a hostel.  I know there's a lot of public transit and bike options, but I'm not sure if I'll still need to rent a car.  I'm planning on visiting a friend up in Vancouver, WA and I want to get some informational interviews in but I don't have anything arranged yet so I don't know where those will be.  Also wouldn't mind meeting any fellow mustachians in the area if you're interested.  But I need some tips on keeping the cost down and maybe some ideas for things to check out while I'm there.

MerryMcQ

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 12:45:12 PM »
Portland has pretty good mass transit, including buses to Vancouver, so it is very possible to get around without a car. Look up MAX (the lightrail), which has a line directly to the airport and to many popular places around town. If you want to do day trips outside of Portland (like to Multnomah Falls or the coast) you could rent a car for a single day...

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 01:44:26 AM »
I found that accommodation was a bit cheaper in Vancouver than it was in Portland itself, but yeah the MAX doesn't reach Vancouver. The MAX is fairly cheap though, $5 for a daily pass, which works on the MAX and buses.

Information about the public transport system (including maps) is available here: http://trimet.org

I went on a bike tour which was interesting (although probably not the cheapest). Driving in inner-Portland was a bit of a pain (well finding parking was) but not terrible.

If you're not preparing your own food, try the food trucks :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 01:48:21 AM by alsoknownasDean »

kpd905

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 08:31:55 PM »
Apply for the Barclays Arrival+ card, you get $420 credit toward any travel expense after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.  Put your flight on that card, and use the points to drop the cost of the flight to $80.

pdxvandal

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 11:18:39 PM »
No need to rent a car if you're wanting to save some bucks.

In addition to TriMet, you can sign up for Uber or Lyft (new members get $15-25 in free rides) as well as Car2Go.

Check out neighborhoods like Mississippi, Alberta, Hawthorne, Belmont (all not in downtown, but not far from the core). Lots of great food, drink and people watching.

Rent a bike in the city and explore. Lots of bike-friendly trails and drivers typically are very aware of all the cyclists. Avoid Voodoo Doughnuts ($hit doughnuts and long lines).

Good luck and have fun!




Blazin

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2016, 07:06:32 PM »
I don't know that you need a car, but we waited to the last minute to rent one a few years ago and it ended up being more expensive.  We had initially waited because we were unsure if we would need it as well. I would recommend reserving now if you think you might need it and you can always cancel later if you decide you don't need it without paying any fee.s

RonMcCord

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 07:50:26 PM »
Apply for the Barclays Arrival+ card, you get $420 credit toward any travel expense after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.  Put your flight on that card, and use the points to drop the cost of the flight to $80.

I applied but was declined.  I have no credit history so I have a feeling I was declined for that reason.

Gizsuat2

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 09:36:57 PM »
1. You must go to the Gorge and hike around.  Skip Multnomah Falls.  Go to any other trail.  Zipcar seems to be everywhere, so they'd be a good option to get out there.

2. Go to Blue Star Donuts.  Ditto the avoid Voodoo Donuts thing ... it's way more a tourist thing these days.

3. Eat out as much as humanly possible, but go to happy hours.  There are incredible happy hours here.

4. SE/NE is a lot more walkable than anything west of the Willamette, so consider staying over there and getting around by foot.

Have fun!

bacchi

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 10:11:04 PM »
Forget the rental car. If you're staying in the Alphabet hostel, you can walk to downtown (if you're a strong walker). The alphabet is also close to Forest Park.

Join car2go if you think you'll need a car, or just plan on the Max and trolley and bus.

Gizsuat2

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 12:02:37 PM »
Correction to my earlier "stay in SE" advice ... totally agree with last poster, stay in the alphabet district.

otter

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 01:01:26 PM »
I can't comment on accommodation, since when I visit Portland I go to see friends, and stay with them.

I think you will be fine without a car.

On my recent visit, I rented a car because I wanted to go hiking on the coast and the friend I was seeing didn't have a car, and my other friend's pickup was N/A. It felt weird not biking, but the weather was shitty so I didn't mind too much.

On my earlier visit, I was visiting the friend with two cars. I had a loaner bike and used it to get everywhere, unless we drove somewhere in his car. I find Portland quite easy to get around in without a car.

If you want to leave the city (e.g. coast, Multnomah, Mt. Hood, wine country), you'll need a car. You can rent one locally, but rates are cheaper at the airport. I'd probably use ZipCar or such.

Next time I go I'm taking my Bike Friday NWT, unpacking it at the airport and riding into the city :)





Catastrophysicist

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 07:32:07 PM »
The 4T Trail is a good way to spend a few low-cost hours: https://4ttrail.wordpress.com/take-a-hike/

Also, the hike from Lower Macleay Park Trailhead (http://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Lower_Macleay_Park_Trailhead) up to the the Audubon Society, or further on to Pittock Mansion is worthwhile.

If you expect you are going to eat out quite a bit, I can recommend some place to keep it relatively inexpensive, if you'd like, but first I'd be curious what your diet is like. I will submit, though, that I am in extreme disagreement as to the quality and worthiness of Blue Star Donuts. This is not an endorsement of Voodoo-- I think both are bad. https://destinationdoughnut.wordpress.com

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 07:38:36 PM »
Here was a thread a while back with lots of suggestions for Portland: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/advice-on-trip-to-portland/

Hope this helps as well!

RonMcCord

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 09:49:39 PM »
If you expect you are going to eat out quite a bit, I can recommend some place to keep it relatively inexpensive, if you'd like, but first I'd be curious what your diet is like.

I don't know how much I would eat out.  I wouldn't mind trying some new places, though.  As for diet, I don't have any major allergies or intolerances and the only diet I'm on right now is just calorie counting.  So I'm pretty much open to anything.

otter

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 11:50:03 AM »
I will submit, though, that I am in extreme disagreement as to the quality and worthiness of Blue Star Donuts. This is not an endorsement of Voodoo-- I think both are bad. https://destinationdoughnut.wordpress.com

Oh! Why? :)

I discovered Blue Star on my last trip, and I think they're fabulous! Some of the best donuts I've ever had. One of them had a dropper full of Grand Marnier that you injected into the donut.

I do not know the OP's food tastes, but I do find Portland to be a really good city for eating well cheaply in, do to the food truck scene and the quality of not-expensive places there.

Also, Pok Pok. This place was a revelation to me!

RonMcCord

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2016, 08:42:28 PM »
Update on the trip:  I've purchased the tickets and booked an Airbnb.  I'll be staying 15 minutes from the airport, but I'll be coming in after midnight, so Uber or Lyft are pretty much my only options at least on arrival.  I'll be near a bus line and there's a Zipcar station a little ways out.  I'll be a few blocks from the Kennedy School and my friend said he'll probably meet me there.  I don't have much else planned because I was waiting until I booked a room before I started looking for informational interviews or places to check out. 

RonMcCord

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2016, 08:35:40 PM »
Update: Tried getting some informational interviews scheduled and that didn't pan out at all.  So I'm attending tech and networking meetups.  I got stuff booked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  I'll be going to the Oregon Zoo with a friend (he's got a pass and can bring guests, so I'm going in free) on Monday, and I'll be meeting another friend at the Kennedy School sometime during the week.  That's all I have planned for now.  I want to check out Multnomah Falls, Powell's City of Books, Floating World Comics, and Ground Kontrol, which I'll try to squeeze in through the week.  Also, any recommendations on food trucks (open to anything.  Mexican, Indian, fusion, or Mediterranean would be nice if I have to narrow it down), sushi, or Bahn Mi?  I'll probably have breakfast and lunch/dinner at the AirBnb, but still want to check out the local food scene.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2016, 07:21:30 AM »
Update: Tried getting some informational interviews scheduled and that didn't pan out at all.  So I'm attending tech and networking meetups.  I got stuff booked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  I'll be going to the Oregon Zoo with a friend (he's got a pass and can bring guests, so I'm going in free) on Monday, and I'll be meeting another friend at the Kennedy School sometime during the week.  That's all I have planned for now.  I want to check out Multnomah Falls, Powell's City of Books, Floating World Comics, and Ground Kontrol, which I'll try to squeeze in through the week.  Also, any recommendations on food trucks (open to anything.  Mexican, Indian, fusion, or Mediterranean would be nice if I have to narrow it down), sushi, or Bahn Mi?  I'll probably have breakfast and lunch/dinner at the AirBnb, but still want to check out the local food scene.

Bamboo sushi is fantastic, but I also have a major soft spot for the kobe beef roll at Yama Sushi. (Ah, my pre-mustachian, frequent sushi days...)
Nong's Khao Man Gai is a critically acclaimed food cart, with good reason. She also has a brick and mortar now as well. I think 3 locations total, 2 carts and a shop.
I have several friends who over the moon love La Jarochita for mexican food cart, but I've never been gotten anything there personally. Smells good though.

Dicey

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2016, 07:52:50 AM »
Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate is in Portland and she swears by her "Chinook Book" for entertainment. She also regularly hosts exchange students. She has several posts on how she shows guests around town without busting her budget. She's a very good writer and frequently hilarious.

131071

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2016, 10:41:46 AM »
I believe Portland now runs transit to the Columbia River Gorge - so you may be able to get to Multnomah Falls and some other great hiking without renting a car.  If you have a rental bike, you could bring that as well - seems you could easily spend a whole day biking and hiking in that area.   More details here: http://bikeportland.org/2016/05/20/new-columbia-gorge-express-transit-line-will-carry-you-and-your-bike-to-historic-highway-destinations-183912

dougules

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2016, 11:07:50 AM »
You shouldn't need a car in town.  Trimet has good deals on day/week passes.  C-Tran can get you around to some extent in Vancouver WA depending on where you go, and if I remember correctly they accept Trimet passes. 

If you want to get out into the rural/wild areas, though, you'll probably need a car.  Some other people here might know of ways to get to the woods without a car, but I know don't of any.  If you were to rent one, I'd only do it for the days you're not staying in town. 
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 11:11:56 AM by dougules »

RonMcCord

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Re: How to Save on Trip to Portland
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2016, 10:48:55 AM »
Update: Just got back from the trip, and thank you all for advice on places to check out and restaurants to eat at.  Visited Multnomah Falls with the shuttle, the Oregon Zoo, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Powell's, OSMI, Pittock Mansion, Chinese Garden, the food truck pods on 10th and Alder, Saturday Market, and some of the events being held while I was visiting.  The Chinese Garden was kind of a letdown compared to the Japanese Garden, but other than that very nice places.

Restaurants: Tried Waffle Window, Aybla, Ruby Jewel Scoops, Kennedy School, a bahn mi from some random food truck on Alder's, a couple of places in Vancouver (friends picked me up and showed me around), Bamboo, Bollywood Theater, Pine Street Biscuits, Salt and Straw, Voodoo Donuts Too (there's a second, less congested one in the NE area), Blue Star, and Ringler's, and for most meals I just cooked at the airbnb.  Everything was great, and I'm sure some of the places I didn't hit would have been too, but a lot of it came down to what was nearby.  Personal take on Voodoo vs. Blue Star: Tried the Mexican hot chocolate doughnut from both places.  Voodoo had a bit more spice which I liked, while Blue Star was overall better tasting.  I think they're better for different things.  Blue Star is nice for eating one outside and sipping a drink, while Voodoo is better for grabbing a big box to bring to family or to events.  But Voodoo definitely isn't worth waiting in a line wrapping around the block for.  The second location has basically no line, though I heard it can get crowded after work hours.

The tech meetups were productive.  Met with people in the field and they gave me advice and connections.  I'd really like to live up here, though the rising cost of living, and the increased competition from code bootcamps (I was told that it's basically a pipeline for Jr. Devs and that applying from out of state will make it difficult) makes me wonder what I should do.  I have a couple friends in the area who'd love for me to come out that way and I want to, but it seems like my choices are move and hope it works out or stay here and apply and hope someone actually hires me.  That probably deserves a new topic, but thanks to everyone for advice on where to eat/see/not spend tons of money (grand total for the trip was $1225.10, which was only slightly over budget)