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Keeping travel local this year

10399796_161454925247_6688913_nI really wanted to do a big trip this year – somewhere fun and exotic! Last year I went to Cuba, the year before was Hawaii, and the year before that was France & Morocco. But with the weak Canadian dollar (and my goal to save 50% of my income this year), it just didn’t make financial sense to go anywhere too crazy … so I’m making a conscious effort to travel locally this year. Or at least within Canada and the PNW region. :)

With that in mind, RD and I just booked our first vacation of the year! Next month we’ll be taking off to beautiful Tofino on Vancouver Island. It just so happens that a couple of good friends and their kid will be up there at that time too, so will be nice to hang out with them. After Tofino, we’ll be hopping on a ferry up to Powell River to visit a few of his friends and family.

This is still going to be an expensive trip. Tofino is not cheap – but we booked accommodation through with a full kitchen so we can cook most of our meals. And in Powell River we’ll be able to stay for free. Still though, I anticipate the week will cost us around $1,000 each.

Other vacation happenings for the year include my family’s annual trip to Seattle for the Blue Jays series (will be pricey!), at least one or two trips to Toronto for freelance work, and I’ll be taking some time off at Christmas. We’ve also talked about going up north to RD’s hometown for a visit at some point this year. Ideally I’d like to carry some vacation forward to 2017, but it looks pretty unlikely as I only get 4 weeks off.

What are your vacation plans for the year?

A week on the Oregon coast

The last few months have been stressful – demanding deadlines at the full-time job, trying to sell my house, trying to find an apartment to rent (that is going to be a whole blog post – the rental market in Vancouver is crazy!), travel for freelance work, and the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. So before I started my new job, I just wanted to get out of the city for a week and recharge.

We ended up settling on a road trip to Oregon because even with the exchange rate, it was a relatively inexpensive trip, and, well, Oregon is awesome.

The first two nights were spent in Portland. Hotels in downtown Portland are always ridiculously expensive, so we used VRBO to rent a little microloft in the Pearl District. The space was the perfect size, and although the location was a bit noisy at night, it was a great location for daytime exploring. My boyfriend (who will now be known as RD on this blog) had never really spent much time in Portland, so we did the Saturday Market, Powell’s Books, VooDoo donuts, and hit up a couple great restaurants and breweries. It was way too rainy to do much else – we didn’t even get up to Nob Hill – so that’ll be saved for next time.

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After Portland, we headed to the coast where we spent two nights at Heceta Beach, just a few minutes north of Florence. This ended up being our favourite stop of the trip because the beaches are way less crowded than further up the coast. The cottage was perfect – super cozy and just a 5 minute walk through the sand dunes to the beach.

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We then headed up the coast and spent 3 nights in Cannon Beach. We stayed in a tiny cottage that I can see being perfect for the summer months. The beach was beautiful – great for running! The only downside was that because of the weather, RD wasn’t able to get any surfing done. But there were so many hikes and walks in the surrounding state parks that we had more than enough outdoor activities to occupy our time.

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We both had a fantastic time, and got really lucky with the weather. When I was monitoring the forecast in the week leading up to the trip, I kind of expected rain the entire time. But it was sunny for 5 days, rainy for 1 day, and didn’t start to get crazy rainy until our drive back to Vancouver.

I also did very minimal cross border shopping while we were there – all I came back with was 5 bottles of Trader Joe’s sriracha, 4 jars of cookie butter, and 2 bottles of Charles Shaw wine. The essentials. :)

As for the financials, we didn’t spend much to be honest. My share of accommodation for 7 nights was about $525 after the exchange rate. We limited going out to restaurants, and made most of our meals in the cottages. I would estimate that including gas and groceries, I probably spent less than $850 in total for the week.

This was my first time doing a trip to Oregon during the winter. Every other time I’ve gone down has been in the summertime, and now that I’ve seen empty beaches and cheap rental cottages, I’m not sure I could bring myself to go during the summer again. :)

Seattle & Las Vegas

524406_10151544240740248_311230672_nTomorrow after work I’ll be driving down to Seattle to meet up with my family for our annual Blue Jays trip. I’m really excited to watch my first Mariners game of the year, dust off my Hentgen jersey, and eat a vegetarian chili hot dog. :) I had originally budgeted $200 for this weekend trip, but as it turns out I forgot that in exchange for buying the baseball tickets ($107 each), my parents had offered to pay for our hotel rooms. So, since the baseball tickets were bought months ago, the only expense I need to worry about is gas and food – probably about $100 in total.

In other travel news, I’ve booked a trip to Vegas for October. Actually I booked it last month, but don’t think I told you about it. I know, I always say I’m never going to go back again. And every year I book another trip. :) However, this time I’m meeting up with my one of my oldest blogger friends, Amber, and two of her best friends. The flight down cost me $390, and we are splurging on the suite at the Cosmopolitan for 2 nights at a cost of $385 each after exchange rate. Yes, this will be an expensive trip as far as Vegas goes. But since two trips this year have been cancelled (RV trip up north, and Mexico in November), I had a little wiggle room in my travel budget. :)

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