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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. :)

The countdown to Cuba

About this time last year, my sister and I were discussing where we could go on our next “sisters adventure” trip. Previous trips included a cruise to Alaska, New Orleans, northern Italy, and countless day trips up island. This time we wanted something a bit different, and my sister was really into the idea of going to Cuba for her birthday. We weren’t able to get our acts together to go last year, but with my sister’s birthday coming up, we went ahead and booked a one-week trip to Cuba! :)

The trip isn’t until mid-May, but I’m already excited. We both agreed on having a city vacation instead of staying in a resort, so we booked a hotel right in the middle of Old Havana. From there, we will be able to walk to many of the main attractions in the city, and if we want to hit the beach we can just take a taxi or bus.

As for the financials, I am covering half of my sister’s airfare/hotel as part of her birthday present. So the total cost to me will be around $2,050 – which does not include meals.

Our hotel stay covers breakfast, but we are on our own for lunch, dinner, and any drinks or snacks. Which is fine, because I’m interested in trying out new restaurants and local food. Although I did a bit of Googling and am a bit concerned about finding healthy vegetarian options, but am sure I can make it work. :)

So if you’ve been to Cuba before, I’d love to hear about your favourite restaurants, attractions, and beaches! Is it worth renting a car? Anything to avoid? Is there anywhere outside of Havana we should definitely see?

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