1. OVER PREPARE
I had booked Spirit Airlines with reluctance. I had saw so many videos saying how terrible it is in terms of service and having to pay for everything. I had wanted to bring my Jansport backpack which went over their height limit by .75 inches. I called their customer service and they stressed as long as my bag fit in the seat in front me, I will not be charged the "Carry-on fee". Okay great. I went to pack my bag and had a freak out moment because I thought I had over packed since my bag was started to bulge. This was a blessing in disguise because unloading my bag of unnecessary things made my trip easier to travel light. I had also preplanned my outfits and toiletries so I wouldn't have a lot of unnecessary items to carry and everything I brought I used. I had also reserved my rental car online prior to arriving to ensure I would have a car and prepaid for gas for when I returned the car (not sure if that was the best option but let me know what you have done).
2. CALL AHEAD AND ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS
With my first tip, I called the airline customer service to verify the carry-on rule. I had also called my hotel to let them know I will be arriving at a really late time. Not sure if that would have affected anything, but I'd imagine that them knowing I was showing up really late would alleviate their stress of wondering where I am. I'd like to believe that right? Anyway, during this call (I had read on their website they charge for overnight parking in their garage) I had asked if they include free parking. Unfortunately, they charge $30 a night but because I had told her that I was coming in so late, she had suggested to park on the street overnight for FREE because the parking meters typically run from 8am to 8pm, and then wake up in the morning to pay by the hour for parking. Thank you to the front desk lady who had given me this information. I had saved $52 from NOT parking in their garage ($60 minus the $8 I had put in the meters in the morning). Personal WIN!
3. PLAN OUT YOUR ITINERARY
I had less than 48 hours to be in Portland. I had arrived around 10pm Thursday night and I had left around 8pm Saturday night. Realistically, I had about 26 hours accounting for sleeping. So I had written down everything I wanted to do/see and organized them in a way that would allow for them to all fit. Multnomah Falls was a must, so this drove my reason to rent a car versus taking Uber. I figured I wouldn't be back in Portland for awhile so this is a must see. Screen Door, Voodoo Doughnuts, Powell's Bookstore, Nong's Khao Man Gai, Pip's Doughnuts, Salt & Straw and PDX Bike Tour were necessary on our itinerary. So assuming each meal would take an hour long and bike tour would take approx 2.5 hours and mapping out each destination, I organized the events as such:
- Arrive around 10:30 pm
- Get car @ 11 pm
- Check-in Hotel around 11:30 pm
- Multnomah Falls
- Powell's Bookstore/Voodoo Doughnuts (because they were within a block of each other)
- Bike Tour @ 9 am
- Pip's Doughnuts
- Dinner ?? @ 4:30 pm
- Return Car by 6 pm
Which leads me to my next tip
4. ALLOW FOR SPONTANEITY
With having everything laid out, I knew where I would and would not have time to do things. Clearly Friday was the day to fit most things in because there weren't any restrictions on arrival or departing. I was hungry when I arrived in Portland, so I yelped restaurants open at 12 am and found Santeria; after eating at Screen Door we stumbled upon Kopi Coffee; after seeing the Falls we made a view stop at the the Columbia River and stopped at the outlet stores; and made an impromptu trip to Vancouver, WA after eating dinner. Each of these little finds made my trip memorable and I'm so glad I got to experience each stop and food I ate.
With that being said, I wish you first time travelers the best of luck on your trip and hope you have a great time. Please ask questions if there is anything specific you would like to know about traveling or what I did in Portland.