Holiday Travel

by James & Miel on December 23, 2008 · 0 comments

Currently being in Portland, Oregon puts holiday travel on my mind. For those of you not paying attention to the weather in the Pacific Northwest, Portland is in the midst of the worst snow storm in forty years.

While being frugal around the holidays helps to stretch the budget a bit further, there are times when it helps to not scrimp.

Public transportation is often a great alternative, but winter weather can create havoc on these systems. I was reminded of this the hard way. To avoid the bother of renting a car, since I had a return ride back to Portland, I opted to take public transport. I took the Amtrak bus from Portland to Eugene; this was 2.5 hours late. Had I decided to take the train it would have been about six hours late. Then I tried to take the Greyhound down further South to my parent’s place. When I discovered that this was running at least six hours late, with a snow storm coming in by then, I opted to borrow a car from a family member to make the trek down.

Chains. These are also a necessary evil. Keep in mind that if you buy from Les Schwab and don’t use the chains you can get a full cash refund in the spring. It is also best to buy these before the weather hits, to avoid lines and hassle. These days many cars don’t work well with chains, including my mother’s PT Cruiser. We managed to make it in safely without them but would have laid down the cash if it had been an option.

Winter Gear. It is also great to buy winter gear before something hits. I tried to buy traction devices for shoes from REI but they were selling them as fast as they could get them in!

Stocking Up. While generally I’m not much of an advocate for buying excess of immediate needs, having extra food and such when a storm hits is wonderful. We certainly won’t be starving through the holidays. It doesn’t look like we’ll be leaving the house for several days. You can try to save money on your food purchases, though, if you want to be frugal about stocking up.

Entertainment. In a snow storm like this at least most entertainment can be had for free. James’ brother skied from REI to the Amtrak on his trip down South (many hours delayed). Or you can go for the stand by of a snow ball fight, building a snow man or many other winter activities. My nephew, nearly three, has determined that all of these activities are much too cold and that he’d rather play games inside!

Hopefully you are safe and sound with your family this year!

Happy Holidays,


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