Before I tell you guys about my adventure in Portland, I thought it would be a good idea to let you guys know where I lodged and how I got around in Portland. I think it would be valuable information for those who plan on visiting Portland.
I was browsing through Kayak which surfs the net for the very best deals on flight and doesn’t miss . I adjusted my travel date to Tuesday, October 30 to Saturday, November 3 since I noticed that Tuesday is the cheapest day to fly. Well… at least for domestic flights. After browsing through the flights, I settled on Delta for $126.40. That was a pretty good deal! I assumed tickets to Portland was going to cost around $200 or more. Instead of booking in Kayak, I booked my flight from Delta because I wanted to start their SkyMiles program since I want to start collecting all my miles from my travel. My hope is that I’ll be able to travel more and with the collected miles, I can go to more places.
I bought the tickets without realizing my flight time is at 6:05am… And usually, when I go to airports I come two hours earlier just to be safe. On the day of my flight, guess what time I came to the airport? I came at 7pm… I know, I’m crazy. But honestly, I didn’t feel safe riding a Lyft and Uber at 4am in the morning and I knew I was being paranoid. Welp… I faced the consequence of coming too early because I hung out at the airport for more than 10 hours… I couldn’t sleep at all because the chairs were so uncomfortable so I forced myself to stay awake during that whole time. They say that the cheapest flight is the first flight of the morning. So hey… if it means saving money, then I’m in. But next time, I won’t let my paranoia stop me from riding Lyft or Uber to the airport at 4am.
PRICE: After I booked my flight from Delta, I went to Hostels.com to find a hostel to lodge in. Hotels and Airbnb are too expensive for my budget so hostels were perfect for me. I don’t really care about privacy and I’m fine with sleeping in the same room with strangers. The cheapest one I could find was HI Portland – Northwest. Each night costs $32 except for the weekend which costs $35. I paid a 13% deposit which was $17.03. And when I got to the hostel, I paid the remaining balance of $113.97 plus cleaning and service fee which totaled to $131.42.
HOW TO GET THERE: So I took a direct tram from the airport to the hostel. If you’re coming from the airport, there will be red line MAX train waiting outside and you just need to take that train all the way to Providence Park. After you walk north on 18th Avenue 5 blocks to the hostel. You have to go to the direction where McDonald’s is and you just keep on walking until you’ll see the hostel sign.
CHECK IN/OUT: Check in time is 3:00 pm so if you are able to come around that time. However, if you come early like me, they have a place where you can store your luggage for free. My flight landed around 8:40am and by the time I got to the hostel, it was 10am. I went to the front desk to store my luggage and they gave me a storage room card key for the storage room. They have lockers to store your luggage and if you need a free lock, they’ll provide you with one.
The check out time for the hosel is 12pm so you have plenty of time to pack up and get ready to leave.
THE ROOM: I thought I was going to be in 8 bed female dorm room but I was actually placed in a 4 bed female dorm room. The front desk clerk gives you a card key that gives you access to your room. They also give you a paper with your last name so you can claim your bed. The bed comes with a pillow, pillow cover, wool blanket, and a bed cover.
Unfortunately for me, there was one lower bunk bed left but there was a name tag so I thought it was claimed. The bed was neat and it looked like no one used it yet but I thought someone must have came earlier than me to claim it. I realized that no one was using that bed but by that time it was too late. Someone else claimed the bed so I took the top bunk bed and I hated every single moment of it. The stairs were located on the side of the bed so climbing to my bed was difficult as there was no clear entrance. And I have a small bladder so I use the bathroom often throughout the night. OH MY GOSH it was such a pain to climb down the stairs and climb back up again. I hope that I will never get the top bunk bed again. It was horrible.
However, continuing on, the room also had lockers inside the closet where you can store and lock your luggages. And on top of the lockers are towels that you can use.
BATHROOM: The bathroom was super clean every time I used it. The bathtub had no traces of leftover hairs and the hostel provides you with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash… Or at least that’s what I think. I mean it was there next to the bathtub so I assumed that it was the hostel’s. I brought my own toiletries so I didn’t need to use the hostel’s. Anyways, they also provide you with a small free pink towels you can use and after you’re done using it, you can just dispose it in the bucket below. I thought the bathroom would be occupied and busy since two rooms share one bathroom but every time I went, I didn’t have to wait and I was able to use it immediately.
KITCHEN/DINING ROOM: The hostel provides a kitchen if you want to cook and save money for your trip. You can put your food in the fridge but it’s recommended that you write your name so people don’t mistake it for theirs. There’s also plate and utensils you can use and afterwards, you clean them in the sink. On the other side is the dining room and I saw people hang out reading a book or browsing the web with their laptop. The white door leads to the secret garden where you can chill outside. There’s a grill at the courtyard if you want to have BBQ with your friends.
FOOD: The hostel has a small cafe called The Hostel Cafe where it offers salad, burgers, and more. Thankfully, the hostel provides free breakfast vouchers and you’re able to get one free bagel with coffee, tea, or juice. Or you can receive $3 off any menu item of $6 or more whether it’d be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You get one voucher for each night you stay so I received four since I was staying there for four nights. This saves you a lot of money since you’re getting free breakfast so there’s no need to buy breakfast.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the bagels but they were good. I toasted mine extra toasty since I like to have a crunch to my bagel. And I just slathered on chive and onion cream cheese. Thank goodness for those bagels because there were some mornings where I had to hike and that carb gave me the fuel to keep on going. Or I would’ve fainted long ago.
ACTIVITIES: What’s great about this hostel is that they provide activities such as downtown walk tour and art walk. Each day they have a different activity that you can participate in. On Saturday nights, they have community dinner so travelers are encouraged to interact and make new friends. They also have van tours you can book to go to Mount St. Helen’s volcano, Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls, and the Oregon Coast.
CONCLUSION: Except for the uncomfortable bunk bed, I really enjoyed my stay at HI Portland NW. It was conveniently located close to the red line MAX train which I took to my way back to the airport. The price was very reasonable and they offered free bagels and juice! I’m planning to come back to Portland and I would book myself a spot at this hostel again. It was clean and the employees there were super nice. The front desk is open 24 hours so you’re able to get help whenever. I highly recommend this hostel for those who are going to Portland and they need to find a cheap place to stay.
What’s great about Portland is that they have great public transportation. A lot of people in Downtown Portland either walks or ride the tram or bus. Portland uses the TriMet service which provides bus, MAX light rail, and WES commuter rail. For my trip, I used the light rail and the bus a lot.
You can either buy a paper ticket at the light rail stations or you can get a Hop Fastpass which is a transportation card or you can download the app. I downloaded the app just for convenient’s sake and it worked perfectly fine for me. You just tap your phone with the app present on the tap machines at the stations or inside the bus. What’s convenient about this is that you can reload the virtual card anywhere.
PRICE: I reloaded my virtual Hop Fastpass with $5 each day since it’s a day pass and I knew I was going to visit a lot of places. In total, I spent about $25 for public transportation which isn’t bad at all. I never once took a Lyft or Uber in Portland because it was unnecessary since I had the bus and the rail train.
Google Maps will be your new best friend during any trip. If it wasn’t for Google Maps, I would’ve been lost long ago especially when I had to hike at Washington Park. I noticed that street signs are hard to find in Portland compared to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, they have huge street signs next to the traffic light so it’s easy to identify where you are. But in Portland, most of the street signs were small and they were located on the poles that are in the corner. It’s similar to the street signs you find in neighborhoods. But anyways, always have Google Maps with you. It will help you enormously during your trip.
Hopefully, this information was helpful and can help you guys if you are planning to go to Portland. I had a really great time there and I had time to meditate about my life which I’ll talk about in upcoming posts.