Travel options between Portland and Seattle


Seattle and Portland both lie in the North-Western part of the United States known as the Pacific Northwest. Each is a unique travel destination with plenty of things to see, do, and eat. You will surely be torn between Seattle and Portland. The good news is that you can go from one city and back in a day easily. Here are x travel options between Portland and Seattle.

Travelling by car

First up on this list of travel options between Portland and Seattle is to drive yourself. Regardless of whether you are moving from Seattle to Portland or vice versa, take Interstate 5 (I-5). If you are going to Portland drive south and straight for 173 miles. If driving to Seattle, head north. The road is pretty clear most of the time so you should get to your destination in about 3 hours. Expect traffic delays south of Seattle as this area can be congested during peak times.

Advantage of travelling by car:

Car travel is liberating because you can make as many stops as you like.

Disadvantage of travelling by car:

Time your travel to avoid rush hour. If you must travel on Friday afternoon or evening, leave an hour earlier than you normally would if possible. Travelling on the weekend is also a bit costly in terms of parking, even in downtown hotels.

Travelling by train

The best way to travel between Portland and Seattle when on a budget is by train. There is no need to stick to a serious schedule as the commuter train that connects these two cities plies the route several times in a day. Since there are no incidents of traffic jams, train travel is quite reliable and relatively fast.

Train travel also allows you ample room for walking around and stretching your legs. If your mealtime finds you in transit, the café is a great place to quench your thirst and tame your hunger pangs. Do you have some work you need to do before you get to your destination? The train has free Wi-Fi. Many people overlook the fact that when they reach their destination, they still require a means of getting around. If you opt to take the train, you can bring your bike with you.



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While the train is one of the fastest ways to get to and from Seattle and Portland, those using the train for the first time should avoid taking the Coast Starlight. While it takes the same route, it embarks from California and is late most of the time. This train is for those who are not in a hurry, have no plans for travelling back the same day and do not mind waiting for the train. Taking the Cascades is a great option because the train starts its journey from Portland and is typically on time.

Advantage of travelling by train:

It is definitely more comfortable riding in a train. The train also comes to a stop at a location where it is quite easy to get to your hotel accommodations. You can also bring your bike if you prefer to get around Portland or Seattle that way, both of which are bike-friendly cities.

Disadvantage of travelling by train:

Moving between Seattle and Portland on a round trip costs an adult about $50 on the Amtrak Cascades trains. If you land a good deal, the costs can be much cheaper than that. Stay away from the Coast Starlight train which starts from L.A. because it can be late for hours.

Travelling by bus

Travellers who prefer bus travel must choose between the Greyhound and the Bolt Bus. For those who have been using this route for years, they would know that the Greyhound is king here. Well, these are the old-school folks who have trusted the brand for years. For this group of people, it would take quite some effort to convince them to move to another bus service and that is probably why the Greyhound is still on the road amid a negative down-market rap.

The other bus service on this route, the Bolt, has quite a huge following, especially with the younger generations. Online ticketing, free Wi-Fi and street pickups and drops make it a favourite. (FYI: Greyhound owns Bolt)

Advantage of bus travel:

It can be more comfortable when driving is the responsibility of someone else other than you. The Bolt Bus is really cheap. If you book early enough, you are likely to pay as low a fare rate as $1 for one way travel. The Greyhound makes a lot of stops on the way, so it is suitable for those who are not travelling all the way.

Disadvantage of bus travel:

Since the buses move along the road, the chances of getting stuck in traffic are pretty high, especially over the weekend, holidays and evenings. During these long travel sessions, it can get quite uncomfortable travelling in a bus because of the cramped spaces. There is less room to move around than a train and you have to either bring your own food/snacks or stay hungry till the end of the trip.



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Travelling by plane

Last up on this list of travel options between Portland and Seattle is to fly. Taking a flight from SeaTac to Portland takes an average of 45 minutes. The good thing about this route is that there are many airlines offering multiple flights per day.

If you choose to fly because you are in a hurry, your greatest concern may be where to leave your vehicle. Thankfully Parkos offers an extensive selection of parking lots in and around Seattle’s airport. Considering the distance of travel, it is possible to come back on the very same day. If you choose to use Parkos.com cheap airport parking SeaTac, you get to choose between short term parking, long term parking, valet parking and self-drive parking. These parking facilities are secure and flexible. You can make the experience even easier by making airport parking reservations before your trip.

Advantage of air travel:

There are plenty of flights each day and travel time is only 45 minutes.

Disadvantage of air travel:

Travel time to the airport and having to be there an hour in advance adds to the total trip time. Flights generally cost more as well.


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