Category: Travel

Visiting Seattle or Hosting Visitors-What to Do

flyoverseattle

Are you visiting Seattle for the first time? Or are you a Seattleite hosting out of town guests? We’re going to run a series on what to see and do on your first visit to Seattle or your second, activities indoors and activities outdoors, and finish with a post on touring Seattle with children.

First time visitors…

To start with ideas, check out Seattle Southside for a great calendar of upcoming events, restaurants to try, and beautiful places to stay.

Next, see our seasonal bucket lists filled with great things to do in Seattle that highlight each beautiful season:

Spring Bucket List
Summer Bucket List
Fall Bucket List
Winter Bucket List

If the lists don’t tickle your fancy and get the list of to-dos going check out our list of ideas filled with great Seattle photo opportunities.
Space Needle & Seattle Center
Monorail
Pike Place Market
Original Starbucks
Tour Safeco Field
Alki Beach at Sunset
Ride the Ducks

Stay tuned for more next month on things to do in Seattle on a second trip or visit for more off the beaten path but fully loved activities and sights.

Posted in Around Seattle, Cities, Outdoor Recreation, Travel

Seattle Transportation – Public Transport

Last month we talked about bicycling around the beautiful Seattle area, this time we’d like to talk about the next cheapest and environmentally friendly way of travelling around town – public transportation.  In Seattle this is made up of the Metro and Sound Transit systems which use buses, Light Rail, ferries, commuter trains, and Van Pools to get you where you need to go.  You can find maps, schedules, and trip planners on both Metro and Sound Transit’s websites.

(On a side note, if you haven’t ridden the Light Rail yet from downtown Seattle to the airport or vice versa, you need to – it is so easy.  If you are a visitor wanting to commute from the Seattle Tacoma International Airport to downtown Seattle, the Light Rail is the way to go.  There is a light rail station right outside the airport (follow the signs to the Link Light Rail) with a passenger crossing bridge connected to the airport parking garage.  The current fare from SeaTac to downtown is $2.75 per person and the trip takes approximately 30 minutes.  If you are a local, using the Light Rail to get to the Airport is often easier than arranging a ride with a friend or taxi.)

Seats

No matter what option you choose; public transportation is one of the best ways to save money, save time, and save you from high stress.

  1. Money
    Taking public transportation saves you gas, tolls, parking fees, and wear and tear on your own vehicle all of which saves you quite a bit of cash.  And many employers or even educational programs can offer you discounted or free transit cards, like the Orca card.
  2. Time
    Since public transportation can run on its own tracks, or its own bus lines, or at the very least carpool lanes, significant time is saved in bypassing the intensity of Seattle traffic.  Plus, public transportation runs on a tight schedule nearly all the time (for better or worse, depending on your own timeliness).
  3. Stress
    Because you’re saving time and saving money you’re also saving your sanity by reducing stress.  You’re also not gripping the wheel and grumbling against other drivers.  But one of the best ways public transportation allows for a less stressful life is giving you true free time.  You know you will be on the bus, Light Rail, train, ferry, etc for a certain length of time every morning and every evening (or different hours for less traditional shifts).  This free time can be used to simply sit and have no one asking for something (moms, at a minimum, know what I am talking about here), sleep, read a book, chat with a friend on the phone or online, send an email, knit like my friend Irina, or even chat with a friend you made on the daily commute.  You get more time to get things done or more time for yourself or rest.  Forced commuter free time is still free time.  Write the great American novel, the next top Billboard song, a great new blog, or even just a to-do list.  Search for a better job, put a new book on hold from the library, or even schedule your next vacation.  With a pen and paper or even a smart phone, there are so many productive ways to spend your time when you’re using public transportation.  And a nap never hurt anyone (though my infant son doesn’t always realize that point). Nearly anything you do with your commuter time is helpful and can bring your stress down.

I love love love Seattle Metro and Sound Transit, except when it doesn’t save me time or stress, though always my money.  Sure, you can get around town and nearly anywhere in the Greater Seattle Area but it doesn’t mean you can always get there easily or quickly.  I once had a commute from Columbia City to Bellevue that took two hours each way on 2-3 buses (on top of 11 hour work days).  But I appreciate and acknowledge that things are always improving on the Metro and Sound Transit systems.  The Orca Card made things much easier in getting rid of the sometimes confusing paper transfer system.  The Rapid Ride bus lines are increasing across the city.  More and more systems are getting free Wi-Fi.  And the Light Rail is slowly inching its way both politically and via track lines across town in all directions.  I know that public transportation is always working to do the right thing and will continue to save locals and tourists money, time, and stress.

So have you ridden a bus recently?  Tried the Light Rail yet?  Converted anyone else to commuter trains?  Started a Van Pool?

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Posted in Around Seattle, Travel

Specializing in “Oh BLEEP” Travel Moments

A trip to the airport can be pretty crazy. The typical traveler has an hour or two of jumping through hoops before takeoff.

suitcase

Wait in line. Get ticket. Wait in line. Remove shoes. Security pat down. Sprint to gate. Wait in line some more. Squeeze into middle seat.

And this is an ideal scenario. No travel day is complete without at least one “Oh BLEEP!!!” moment. Maybe you forgot about that nice bottle of wine you were carrying that you can’t get through security or maybe the kids’ stroller broke. You can quit chugging wine in the security line and your kids don’t have to run as fast as their little legs can take them.

Ken’s Baggage & Frozen Food Storage, Inc. helps SeaTac airport travelers with “Oh BLEEP!!!” moments every day. Almost 30 years ago two Port of Seattle police officers decided to give up the stresses of police emergencies to help people survive their travel emergencies.

Over the years Ken’s Baggage & Frozen Food Storage, Inc. has had a few competitors providing some of the same services, but none of them did enough to keep up with Ken’s Baggage. Their competitors didn’t know that in order to last they had to do it all. Ken’s Baggage is available for travel emergencies like last minute shipping, copies and faxes, cell phones, calling cards, car problems, a notary public and more. But Ken’s doesn’t only help with travel emergencies, or they might just be called Ken’s “Oh Bleep” Moments. In fact Ken’s offers services that the savvy traveler with a full passport and a diet of airplane peanuts will plan ahead to use. Veteran travelers plan ahead to use their services when hauling extra luggage. Cruise ships and fishing lodges refer travelers to Ken’s Baggage & Frozen Food Storage to transport and store perishable goods. Adventurous travelers with a long layover use Ken’s Baggage to store their luggage while they ride the light rail downtown to Pike Place and enjoy the Seattle sites luggage free.

If you haven’t been convinced to use Ken’s Baggage you can be late to get home because your car battery died, your kids can struggle with a broken stroller, your client can miss that fax, and they all might forgive you. Except when you put rotting fish in the overhead bin, no one will forgive you for that.

For contact details go to www.kensbaggage.com

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Posted in Services, Travel

Think of the Children

Traveling with children? You may or may not realize the implications that come with bringing little ones on board. Here are 5 “I’m traveling with children” mistakes to avoid:
Think of the kids

Red Eye Flights.
It might seem like a brilliant idea to save precious dollars by booking the redeye now, but you might realize you’re not quite the next Einstein pretty quickly when you wake up in the middle of the night to try and corral tired and grumpy kids.

Free Shuttle Rides. A family vacation may not be the best time to rope a friend into driving you to the airport. Travel can be tough on kids and subjecting your friends to stressed out kids is a surefire way to strain a friendship. When traveling with kids try simplifying things with reliable and convenient airport parking with shuttle.

50lb Bags. If your kids are struggling to drag their bags across the dirty airport floor as you rush to catch your flight they won’t be happy campers or you could end up carrying all the bags plus the kids. An easy way to avoid this problem is to do a practice run; try having your kids carry or wheel their bags around the house to make sure they can handle their luggage before you leave.

In Flight Boredom Blues. Traveling can be a real bore for a kid. Plan some fun. You don’t want to worry about your kid being restrained by an air marshal. Plan ahead for this with some activities or games. A kid’s travel pack is a great way to keep your kids occupied for a few hours.

Airplane Food (or the lack thereof).Save your kids from the airplane food. Plenty of kids can be picky eaters so beware. They will probably like airplane food even less than you. This is an easy problem to avoid. My favorite solution is to make traveling a special event for kids, break the rules for once and do the junk food at Burger King or a Frosty at Wendy’s. The airport has plenty of options in terms of dining so regardless of what you feed them, just make sure their bellies are full before bringing them on the plane.

Remember to adjust your travel plans for the little ones next time you travel; for the children, yourself, and the weary business traveler trying to sleep in the seat in front of your kid.

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Posted in Services, Travel

New Location for Seattle Southside Visitor Bureau

Street View of Seattle Southside

Seattle Southside has a new home! On May 13, 2010 the leading tourism and destination marketing organization in South King County moved into their new visitors center located on 176th Street in SeaTac near International Boulevard. The close proximity of the center to SeaTac Airport makes it easily accessible to travelers and its signage can even been seen from the airport’s new Light Rail platform.

Visitors can come to the center to pick up brochures, book a hotel or to ask Seattle Southside’s knowledgeable staff any questions they might have during their Seattle stay.

Open Weekdays 9am-5pm; Weekends 10am-4pm.

www.SeattleSouthside.com

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Posted in Around Seattle, Services, Travel

SeaTac Airport First in Country With New Bird Tracking System

Sea-Tac Airport takes the Next Step in Avian Radar Development with Real-Time Bird Tracking System

In partnership with University of Illinois researchers and the Federal Aviation Administration, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the first airport in the country to begin the use of a new advanced bird tracking system with real-time displays of bird activity on and around the airport. This enhanced technology will allow wildlife management staff to access live data as they patrol the airfield to minimize bird hazards.
 
Sea-Tac Airport has been the demonstration site for avian radar research since 2007. Three avian radars are currently installed at Sea-Tac, two on the top of the airport’s office building and one in the middle of the airfield between two runways.
 
“Sea-Tac is a leader in the evaluation of this technology,” said Dr. Edwin Herricks, the leader of the University of Illinois research program, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “I don’t know where this program would be without the input and real-life evaluation efforts by the staff and support from the Port of Seattle.”
 
Through the FAA-designated Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) at the University of Illinois, the latest milestone in the research program builds on equipment from Accipiter Radar Inc. that provides geographic displays of bird activity on Google Earth ™ maps.
 
“This technology will give us situational awareness of the entire airfield day or night – it will be like wearing a huge pair of binoculars,” said Steve Osmek, Sea-Tac Airport’s wildlife biologist. “Rather than depending only on what we can see from our particular location, we’ll be able to know if there are bird issues anywhere around the airfield so we can respond quickly and appropriately.”
 
For more information on the CEAT research, go to the University of Illinois Avian Radar Assessment Program at http://ceatasmp.cee.illinois.edu/
 
For more information on Sea-Tac Airport’s wildlife management programs, go to http://www.portseattle.org/Environmental/Water-Wetlands-Wildlife/Pages/Wildlife-Management.aspx

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Posted in Travel

Car Hire Seattle

Carhiredirect.co.uk searches up to 40 car rental companies, guaranteeing you the cheapest car hire price online. Whether you are looking for cheap car rental in the UK, car hire in Europe or Worldwide Carhiredirect.co.uk will have the cheapest hire cars available, from luxury convertible car hire to 7 seater people carriers.

Find the cheapest deals for car hire at Seattle airport using the easy to use car hire comparison site, absolutely free.

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Posted in Travel

Parking Lot Goes Green

So how does an off-airport parking lot go green?

SeaTacPark.com, located just south of Seattle Tacoma International Airport, has implemented four strategies to reduce air and water pollution, paper waste and energy consumption.

Water Filtration System
Water Filtration SystemAsk SeaTacPark.com Manager, Dave Bass, and he’ll tell you, “To begin with, before parking a single car, it is necessary to install a system that will separate out contaminants such as (sediment and oil) from lot runoff before the water is released into the city’s storm water system. The Vortechs Model 7000 Stormwater Treatment system installed at SeaTacPark is a high-performance system which uses a combination of swirl-concentrator and flow-control technologies to maximize treatment even during peak flows so that the quality of water released from the site will sustain the rich wildlife of the Puget Sound area.”

Natural Gas Shuttle Bus
Natural Gas Shuttle BusThen the lot added a 2009 Champion 14 passenger Natural Gas (NGS) Shuttle Bus. SeaTacPark.com’s shuttle was literally the first of the 2009 shuttles converted to use compressed natural gas in a BAF Technologies engine system. In fact, SeaTacPark.com’s shuttle is featured on the cover picture of the manual that is issued to maintenance companies.

Electric Vehicle Outlets
Electric Vehicle OutletsNext the lot began to offer parking spaces with electrical outlets to accommodate electric vehicles. SeaTacPark.com has 4 spaces which are available on a first come first served basis. Electric vehicle drivers are encouraged to phone 206.824.2544 or email info@SeaTacPark.com the day that their parking episode is to begin to ask whether outlet spaces are available.

Paperless Reservations
Paperless ReservationsThe most recent step has been to offer the best rates without requiring hardcopy paper reservations. SeaTacPark.com’s online reservation system recently has been updated so that it is clear that the parker need not print and bring in a hardcopy of the reservation form. While those that prefer a hard copy may still print and bring it in, those that wish to reduce their ecological footprint, can simply tell the lot attendant at checkout the name under which the reservation was made. The lot attendant will look up the name in the reservation system and offer the parker the best rate (daily, weekly or monthly) for the actual period parked.

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Posted in Services, Travel

Gogol Towncar Services

For the holidays, why not treat yourself, your friends and family to executive-class transportation at affordable prices? Whether you are looking for shuttle transportation to/or from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or searching for a town car service for a wedding, vacation, convention or other special event, Gogol Town Car Services offers comfortable, safe and cost-effective transport.

As a  member of the Seattle Limousine and Town Car Association, Gogol Towncar Services is ready to meet your transportation needs with a choice of Lincoln Town Cars; Escalades, Hummers and Navigators ranging from regular to stretch; SUV’s and vans from mini vans to 14 passenger coaches. All vehicles are available with such accommodations as WiFi, cell phone, newspaper and bottled water.

Professional chauffeurs provide excellent service to wherever your desired location may be in the Greater Seattle Puget Sound Washington State Area. Drivers are proficient in speaking English and also speak Spanish, French, Dutch, and Russian.

Taking a cruise out of Seattle? Gogol also offers affordable cruise ship transfers from SeaTac airport and area hotels to Seattle’s port. And, if you have extra time before boarding your ship, you may wish to take a tour of some of Seattle’s most famous sights!

Upon visiting the website, you will find fleet and rate information with prices based to/from SeaTac International Airport, as well as the ability to schedule reservations online. You may contact Gogol Town Car Services at (206) 403-7681, or go online to www.gogollimo.com for more information.

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Posted in Services, Travel

Seattle Southside Visitor Information

Seattle Southside Visitors Services

Seattle Southside – The Pacific Northwest Starts Here!

Just 15 minutes south of downtown Seattle and a world away from downtown prices, Seattle Southside offers Seattle visitor information with something for everyone – a variety of affordable accommodations, more than 75 quality restaurants, over 5 million square feet of shopping and the world-renowned Museum of Flight.

Start your Pacific Northwest adventure here at www.seattlesouthside.com.

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Posted in Around Seattle, Services, Travel

SeaTacPark.com – Best Parking Value in SeaTac

Top 10 Reasons to Park with SeaTac Park:

  1. Best SeaTac parking value of any of the SeaTac parking lots!
  2. Park 25 paid days, get 5 days FREE with PremierParkClub.
  3. Open 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year and an easy online reservation option.
  4. Within one mile of SeaTac airport and the closest off airport parking to Interstate-5 and quick access to downtown Seattle and Seattle airport parking.
  5. Continuous shuttle service to/from Seattle Tacoma International Airport and parking.
  6. We’re the only GPS equipped shuttle buses in SeaTac, guaranteeing prompt pick-up
  7. State of the art security throughout our SeaTac Airport Parking lot.
  8. Our courteous drivers and helpful staff provide convenient car side pickup, curbside drop off and luggage assistance.
  9. Express checkout with all major credit cards.
  10. Like a 4 star hotel, we pay attention to the details.

Buggy Special

Click buggy for $10.95/day coupon special
Visit our website at http://www.seatacpark.com/
e-mail us at info@seatacpark.com

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Posted in Services, Travel

Adventure Associates

The staff at Adventure Associates offer you a variety of very special travel adventure. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or one adventuring out for the first time, you will find that the professionals at Adventure Associates will make your trip the trip of a lifetime.

Adventure Associates is proud to offer women only travel packages. When women travel together there is a network of support created in which she is motivated to create change and nurture her own strength. Whether it be small changes in her personal life or a new commitment to act in a positive way impacting the global community, she has a voice. Women traveling together find camaraderie, a place to talk about commonalities, to discuss how she moves though the world differently. She is confident and takes initiative with new activities and new responsibilities. Routine is broken; roles change. When she travels to new horizons or turns to the outdoors, what is encountered there are infinite gifts: physical adventure, spiritual enlightenment, unencumbered freedom and deep-rooted connection.

Create a personalized tour.

Tired of your standard guided tour trips? Each year they design many personalized trips for private groups of friends, family and work colleagues who wish to share an adventure together. Whether it’s sailing the Galapagos, a private safari to Africa, a family tour of Costa Rica, or a surprise birthday celebration cross-country skiing in Yellowstone National Park — they have the expertise to handle all the logistics for you. You invite the guests and they take care of all the rest.

Adventure Associates offers trips that include a variety of activities including bicycling, camping, cross country skiing, hiking, overland trekking, investigating ruins, sailing, sea kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, and much more.

Make your favorite activity part of your next vacation.

Adventure Associate guides believe friendship and discovery are the most prized commodities on the traveler’s road, and cost only the time it takes to listen, to explore, to step from one known, well worn trail to a fresh cut path through new terrain. To learn more, go to their website at http://www.adventureassociates.net/.

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