Jonesing for Vacation

ComputerI’ve been in a travel rut lately. Ever since going back to school, I’ve been writing Italian papers, reading endless SF for my World Science Fiction class, and constantly battling to catch up for all the work I’m not doing. While I’m always all about exploring new places in your own town, my recent forays into Brunswick have consisted of me walking to Little Dog to study and then stopping at Hannaford on the way home to get some groceries. Last weekend I ventured home through Boston despite the forecasted blizzards and had a great lunch at Trafford in Warren (I definitely recommend the Trafford Burger with brie), but that has been about it for adventures for me lately. That said, I have some very exciting plans lined up and figured I’d share a little bit about my planning process (plus, I just discovered Unsplash and some great stock photos to go along with all this).

WaterfallTomorrow, I’m heading into Portland with my friend and travel buddy Bailey for my February Take 12 Trips excursion, and we’re planning to visit some classic places we haven’t been before (like the Portland Head Light, maybe), but what I’m really getting pumped about is my upcoming trip to visit Bailey in Seattle over spring break. We have a lot of coffee shop visits lined up, as well a potential visit to Snoqualmie Falls, another place to hit up on my Washington to-visit list. It’ll be really nice to have a local guide to show me Seattle: I never would’ve heard of Theo’s Chocolate Factory, the Fremont Troll, or Gasworks Park if not for having a reliable Seattleite friend. To top it off, we’re going to roadtrip down to Portland! After comparing places time and again to Portland, Oregon, I’ll finally have a standard to compare against. I’ve put things on the itinerary like make jewelry now and go to the feminist bookstore which Women & Women First is based on, but I’m really excited to actually get to know the character of this funky, eclectic city.

There are a couple of things I consult when preparing for a trip like this so that I don’t just drink coffee in Seattle and pretend I’m friends with Fred and Carrie in Portland.

  • Look up travel blogs–Local bloggers can be your key to the city. As someone who writes about where I know, I’m a firm believer that other similar bloggers can provide you with some awesome insight into where you go. These will definitely help me out as I continue to plan and research.
  • Foursquare–Foursquare curates some really reliable city guides which have served me well in Philly, Boston, and Madrid. Seattle and Portland both have their own, too. Even if a city doesn’t have a comprehensive guide like these do, if you do a search of Best Nearby or Coffee Shops for the place you’re visiting, you’ll be sure to find some of the best places around.
  • Airbnb–Whenever I know I’ll be staying at an Airbnb on a trip, I always contact hosts right away. Places can book up for unexpected reasons, and you don’t want to be a week away from your trip without a place to stay. Always search early, and make sure to consider things like location, parking, and check-in/check-out times.

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