Avoid the Airport in the Pacific Northwest – Amtrak Cascades Review

When traveling on vacation do you have to trudge through crowded airports? Depending on where you are coming from and where you are going the answer is a qualified No.

We took a cruise from Los Angeles, California to Vancouver, British Columbia on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas (Review here) and a one night cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington on the Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Star and had to get home to Portland, Oregon. Most people just go straight with taking a plane and don’t think about what their alternatives are. Well, In Washington and Oregon along the I-5 corridor one option is Amtrak’s Cascades.

Our choice, travel 45-60 minutes from the cruise terminal to SeaTac then spend 1-2 hours trudging through and around the airport, an hour and a half in the air, then another 30+ minutes waiting for our bags or travel 10 minutes to the Amtrak station, wait 15 minutes for our train, spend 3 and a half hours on the rail, grab our bags and go. When the time going by air is compared to the time going by rail it is almost a coin flip, while the actual travel time is longer by rail the additional time in airports and getting there outweighs the same actions by rail. So we opted to take the train, and we did not regret our choice and from now on when we need to get to Seattle from Portland we will always take the train.

The Amtrak Cascades travels a scenic route through the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon past Mount Saint Helens and over the Columbia Gorge. Amtrak Cascades service is financed and operated in partnership with the states of Oregon and Washington, giving residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest a viable alternative to air travel.

The beauty of the option is where the train station is located in both Seattle and Portland, unlike airports, which are usually located in an out of the way location the train station is right downtown, this is true in almost every location that Amtrak goes to.

Once we debarked from the Norwegian Star we exited from the Seattle Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 and grabbed a taxi right in front. There was an “unofficial” porter working the cabs, a nice young man that appeared to be working just for tips helping people get cabs and their luggage loaded, I don’t know how the cruise lines and taxi drivers view these helpers but he did earn a tip helping us get quickly settled with a cab. The driver took us directly to the train station which was a 10 minute at most drive from the cruise terminal.

We checked our bags with Amtrak baggage handlers and waited for our train, shortly before the train arrived Amtrak personnel assigned us seats and the train arrived on time. When the train arrived everyone headed to their assigned cars in a leisurely pace. We boarded, …

Yes, Napa Valley, but Which Airport?

You want to go to California wine country–and for good reason. Not only will you see the scenic splendor of soft hills covered with vineyards, but you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the history, architecture, and some of the best restaurants in the U.S. However, since Napa and Sonoma Valleys don’t have their own commercial airports, you will need to select among airports nearby, including the Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, and the airports in Sacramento (SMF), San Francisco (SFO), and Oakland (OAK).

Picking the right airport can definitely impact your costs and enjoyment of the California Wine Country. Here I’ll review the pros and cons of each airport so you can pick the one that suits you best.

Oakland Airport (OAK)

Can we talk? Oakland Airport is my least favorite choice because its highways are congested, and the drive to Napa passes through urban sprawl.

If you do select this airport, be especially careful with timing. You won’t want to mix rush-hour traffic with trying to make a flight.

On the other hand, Oakland Airport offers the most budget airfares in Northern California.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

If you are visiting both the Bay Area and Napa Valley, this airport is a good choice.

The San Francisco Airport offers the most non-stop flights into Northern California. And, with Southwest, AirTran, and Frontier serving SFO, you can get airfares as low as Oakland’s.

However, just traveling toward Napa, you can get stuck in traffic congestion, or even worse, rush-hour slowdowns.

Here’s a route that cuts down on congestion by avoiding downtown San Francisco: From the airport, take westbound Interstate 380, which starts just north of the rental car terminal. Then take the northbound I-280 freeway, northbound Highway 1, and then the Golden Gate Bridge for better scenery, even though you’ll encounter some stop and go driving on Highway 1 in San Francisco.

Beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, your route will depend on your first stop, but see the link at the bottom of this article for instructions on locating the most scenic drives through Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Sacramento Airport (SMF)

The Sacramento Airport is probably used least for access to the Wine Country, and yet I often prefer it.

With a population nearing 2 million, Sacramento benefits from extensive air service, including budget airlines, such as JetBlue and Southwest, which help to keep the fares down of all the airlines serving this airport.

In addition, you don’t have to drive through dense urban areas to get to Napa Valley. In fact, you don’t have to drive through Sacramento at all, which allows you to avoid rush-hour congestion.

Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS)

Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport reopened to commercial flights in 2007. It is often called the Sonoma County Airport, and also referred to as the Wine Country Airport or Santa Rosa Airport.

(The airport is named for the famous Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown and his pals. Charles Schulz lived …

Lax airport car service: Los Angeles & Lax Transportation Service by Atatransport

Situated on the southern coast of California, the LAX Airport or the Los Angeles Airport owns the credit of being one of the busiest airports in the world. It operates a large number of domestic as well as international commercial flights to several places. Getting to LAX Airport is very easy as there are several excellent transportation modes available for reaching there. One can reach there by bus through Line 8 of Torrance Transit, Line 6 of Culver City Bus system, and Line 3 of Santa Monica Big Blue Bus system. All of them halt at LAX City Bus Center situated in Parking Lot C.

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Car Hire Los Angeles Airport is another way of reaching LAX airport. There are good car rental agencies that provide this service to make the journey easy and comfortable. Apart from this, one can reach LAX Airport by metro rail too. There is a connection offered by Shuttle bus “G” to the LAX station on the Metro Green Line. Another huge benefit to using an LAX airport car is the comfort and convenience. If you are traveling from your home to the airport you avoid the trouble of dealing with traffic and of having to take a shuttle from a distant extended stay parking area to the terminal you will be flying out of. With a cab you get no amenities and very little leg room. With a bus you get basically no leg room and you have to deal with your luggage, the crowds and frequent stops. With a limo you get a comfortable smooth ride with plenty of leg room and some potential amenities including a mini-bar and a television. You also get dropped off directly at the terminal you are flying out of and the limo driver will even help you unload your bags.

Taking an LAX airport car is simply a superior option. It provides a greater level of convenience than any of the other options can offer. You get to enjoy a much quieter, private and comfortable ride and you may even be able to watch television while you are traveling. The cost is lower than most of the options and in some cases all of the options. You don’t have to leave for the airport as early and you are taking fewer risks with your personal vehicle. The most important thing when picking a limo as the option of choice is to investigate the different companies and pick one with the best reputation that offers the service and price you want. When it comes to selecting an LAX car service you will also want to consider what your overall transportation needs will be while you are in the city.  In other words, you need to determine before you plan your trip whether or not you will need transportation assistance only to and from the airport, or if you will you require a car service at your disposal during the entire course of your stay in Los Angeles.  You …