Posted in Traveling Adventures

Planning for Portland

Traveling makes me anxious. So to alleviate this, I plan, plan, plan. I plan for the best case scenarios as well as the worst and although I know I cannot plan for everything, it makes me feel better knowing that I have a few back ups in case a hiccup arises. So when my boyfriend mentioned that he wanted to visit Portland, Oregon, I put an alert out on Kayak, signed up for a few airline fare alerts, and checked sites like every few days. One lucky day, I came upon a deal for a roundtrip flight to Portland from LA for $150 and I snatched it right up.

Next was housing. We searched around and found a nice airbnb place in the Alphabet district. It was close enough to downtown, but far away enough that it wasn’t expensive. Be aware that airbnb is not your 4 or 5 star hotel. Some places will have the basics like a towel and shampoo/conditioner, but for the most part, be prepared to bring your own toiletries. I’m fairly new to the airbnb scene, but the two places I did stay at were not exactly the best rooms. In New York City, our floor was not very clean. The owners had just gotten a new puppy and well, accidents happen. In Portland, the room had a distinct wet dog smell every time you entered the room. Luckily, when I travel, I usually use the room for sleeping and that’s about it.

As a foodie, next on my list was to find places good places to eat in Portland. I figured that posting on social media asking for recommendations was the best plan of attack and did my friends deliver. I got so many recommendations that we couldn’t try them all. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though. Since housing was already set up, I looked up all the places people recommended and pinned them on a custom google map so I knew where everything was in reference to where I was.

Up next was finding things to do…you know…when I wasn’t eating. Googled the obvious “Things to do in Portland” and found several sites dedicated to it. Trip Advisor is great and so was this.

Last thing was transportation. Luckily, Portland has a very good transportation system and for $5 a day, I could use their light rails and buses to my heart’s content.

Here is my checklist for planning a trip within the U.S.:

– Transportation? (Fly vs drive, rental car vs public transportation?)

– Housing? (Friend’s place, hotel, air bnb, or hostel?)

– Food? (Location in reference of where I’m staying?)

– Entertainment? (Are there any festivals native to the area? Time constraints?)

Research can make all the difference. I’d rather spend several hours looking up places to visit than winging everything and missing out on a lot of cool things. Plus, planning will save you a bunch of time while you’re there. There have been numerous instances where my friends and I have spent an hour here and there trying to figure out what to do. Once I was in Portland, all I had to do was look at my online map and see where I was and what was nearby that I had bookmarked and off I went.

My custom map of Portland eateries and entertainment
My custom map of Portland eateries and entertainment

How my planning worked out and not so worked out in my next post. 🙂



My name is Mai and I am a recent PhD graduate. :) When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland. Come join me on my journey and help me navigate this world. :)

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