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Some questions for a solo traveller

Singapore
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Some questions for a solo traveller

Hi, its great to be part of the TripAdvisor community. I used TA long time ago to plan short trip getaway to countries in my region.

I intend to travel in the second half of June 2013. That's pretty far from now so I'll focus on basics(more detailed planning will be about Q1 next yr). Here are some questions I have.

1) Roughly how long does it take to leisurely cover the attractions in downtown Seattle? Will one full day and 2 half days be enough?

My intended exploration will be mixture of attractions/window shoppings/scenery. For summer days, heard the sun set at 9-10pm so does that means most businesses(other than food)/attractions will also stay open till dark?

Space Needle is included in this and "Boeing™ Assembly Plant/Future of Flight Aviation Center" is excluded from this attraction considerations

2) What's the best way to get to neighborhoods? Thinking of going Queen Anne. Do taxis ply neighborhoods like regular traffics?

3) Is there any recommended guided day tours to Olympic National Park? I am not willing to haul my luggage across town so its pretty much a trip from Seattle. I cant find any for this, only for Mt Rainer.

4) Is it recommended to book Boeing Plant tour via a tour agency(transportation provided) or to book directly with Boeing and take a cab there? Not comfortable taking buses there as I see multiple transfers are required.

For direct booking, roughly how many days in advance should it be booked for June since its a peak summer period?

5) I have 2 undecided days in my itinerary. Have shortlisted Olympia, Bellingham, Tacoma and Bellavue. No car & will be exploring towns by foot only. Which ones are recommended?

* i found someone talking about Larrabee State Park for bellingham. However is it advisable considering that I'll need to rely on taxis to get there? I wouldnt want to be stranded in the park if no taxis are available from the park back to town.

6) For domestic US flight, do I have to check in 2 hours in advance too? Will checking in take longer for non US citizens?

I have much more questions but this seems to be my main points for seattle only. Am heading to Portland OR after Seattle and will post in that forum since its not in WA.

PS: Just to give an idea of my intended trip, its a 10 nights trip. 5 days in Seattle, 3 days in Portland. 2 remaining days are undecided - considering Sacremento/San Francisco via Amtrak, Salt Lake City via Alaskan Air, Vancouver via Alaskan Air or add one day each to the two cities. For a traveller that came a long way(i.e USA not commonly visited), appreciate tips on the remaining days.

Edited: 24 September 2012, 19:10
Singapore
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1. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

No replies? Hope its not TL;DR issue.

Clarification: For point 5, it will be day trips from Seattle. Wont be spending a night at the shortlisted towns.

Washington
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2. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

Sorry ceecookie, just a busy day yesterday. Responding to your query needed more time.

1. Read this "one day itinerary without a car article", it will give you an idea of what you can accomplish in a day. See if that hits most of your highlights. Everyone is different in how they travel, and what they want to accomplish, but in general, you should be able to cover much of what you want to see downtown with one full, and two half days. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60878-c2242/Seattle:…

2. For close in neighborhoods, (Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, U district), you will find buses are great. Ballard and Fremont are a little further out, taxi if you want to reduce your travel time. West Seattle is fun to explore via water taxi, then there is a bus that will take you both to the Alki Beach area (restaurants) or the West Seattle Junction (more shopping, restaurants).

3. Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness with somewhat limited services, with several hours travel time from Seattle.

There are a couple tours from Seattle. Take a look at Evergreen Escapes. Hopefully glacier meadow or Kaleburg will check in with more recs. http://evergreenescapes.com

4. Without a car, I would book the Boeing Tour with an agency. It is about 45 minutes north of Seattle, in Mukilteo, so expensive with a cab, cumbersome by bus.

Here is the tour information:

http://www.futureofflight.org/fof_Boeing.html

5. Not much in Olympia. For Bellingham, I would take the train, it's charming in it's own way, but, really depends on what you would like to see. Here is an article on going car free to/and in Bellingham that may help.

bellingham.org/press-releases/…

Bellevue is a suburb of Seattle, that has grown to the 5th largest city in Washington, and home to several major companies. A couple interesting things, the Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue Arboretum, plenty of shopping, and it is easy to get from downtown via express bus, but unless shopping is high on your list, most people would not find it that interesting for a day trip.

Tacoma, though, might work well as you can take the Sounder train from downtown Seattle (it runs regularly), visit the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, LeMay Car Museum. All are clustered very close, within walking distance of the train, plus there is a light rail that goes from the Tacoma Dome to the Theater district. Plenty of restaurants to stop for a bite to eat.

Another day trip that you might enjoy - but do with a tour group - is a Snoqualmie Valley tour that includes Snoqualmie Falls and the Woodinville Wine country/touring tasting. It is quite scenic and the wines are fabulous.

6. Since 9/11, I have learned to give myself plenty of time at the airport, and no longer scream in at the last minute. I have found it to be a much better way to fly :-)

For domestic flights, when I am not checking luggage, I allow 1.5 hours and that is plenty. If you are checking luggage, 1.5/2 hours. It does matter what time and what day your flights are. Some domestic airlines seem to have longer lines checking baggage than others. Security, while getting better, can be unpredictable. There should be no problem or difference for a non-US citizen.

Hope that gives you a start.

Singapore
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3. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

Dear Islandgrl,

Thanks so much for taking your time to answer my questions. I greatly appreciate your helpful advices and It definitely gives me a start.

Silly me, I have mixed up the Future of Flight and Museum of Flight because of the similar sounding name! I thought the Boeing plant tour was in the Museum of Flight and according to Google Maps, its 7 miles away only. Seems I will have to allocate more time for Museum of Flight because I am an aircraft fan and will definitely want to cover both places :)

Many thanks for the inputs on the shortlisted cities. Will consider either Bellingham or Tacoma later on. Will look into Snoqualmie Valley but i dont drink wine so afraid i wont be joining those that includes wine tasting.

By the way, what is the recommended budget for daily meals in Seattle? Will US$50-70/day be enough for typical local breakfast, cafe/restaurant for lunch and dinner and a few Starbucks coffee thrown in?

Thats all I have for now. In future when I have more questions I will post them here. Thanks in advance to all that contribute more advices.

Bellingham...
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4. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

If you check out www. viator.com it will give you an overview of the type of sightseeing tours available from Seattle. If you see something you like, you can book through them.

In downtown Seattle it will be easy to include Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass as they are close. The Boeing Factory Tour can be done with a sightseeing company for ease of transport.

For another town to visit I would recommend taking the Clipper to Victoria for the day (.http://www.clippervacations.com) or the Amtrak train to Vancouver. Either can be done as a long day trip or with an overnight. Both towns are much more interesting than Olympia, Tacoma or Bellingham.

Olympic National Park is really too far to be done as a day trip, but Viator does list an Mount Rainier day tour if you do want to get up a mountain. Larabbee State Park is just not that interesting at all; just a small cove beach and not reachable by taxi or public transportation.

Hope you enjoy your visit. I'll be in your town in November.

Singapore
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5. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

Thanks comcox. Regarding Vancouver BC via Amtrak, I checked the train schedule and the longest time I will have as a day trip is 5-6 hours here(arrive 11am+ depart 5pm+) assuming no delays. Will it be enough to cover the main attractions of Vancouver?

Hope u enjoy ur trip to my country in Nov. Have contributed to ur thread in return

seattle
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6. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

you really need more time in Vancouver and an overnite would be best. I'd look at tours thru

toursnorthwest.com

customizedtours.net

as the better local choices. Viator is a booking agency and some of their prices are more than booking it yourself. Its a better idea to just book with the tour company. Both of the ones listed above do the Boeing tour.

Bellingham...
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7. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

Vancouver does have two companies that offer tourist buses around the main attractions: http://bigbus.ca/home/ and http://www.vancouvertrolley.com/. The Trolley has a stop closer to the train station than the Big Bus. These are hop-on/hop-off services so you pick what you want to see.

seattle
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8. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

since you have to go thru customs and immigration on both sides plan on being on the train about one hr early.

9. Re: Some questions for a solo traveller

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