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Have you noticed there’s no other place for teenagers to talk about travel?
Here you can read what other teenagers have to say about travel – from day trips to journeys abroad, shopping, eating, coasting, and other activities on vacation. Also, parents can read what teenagers like and dislike about family vacations and destinations so that they can plan a family trip that YOU will enjoy.
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July 28th, 2015
New York: The city that never sleeps.
There is always something going on. Parties, events, shows, plays, concerts, etc. As a tourist, it’s impossible to do everything in one trip. Much less do it on a student budget. Everything is so expensive! Here are my top 3 tips for doing New York on a budget.
1. Top of the Rock. There’s no need to pay the $60 to go on the Empire State Building, when you can pay half ($30 for adults) to visit the Rockefeller Center. You get an amazing view and are able to see everything from Times Square, the teeny Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, etc. You also get the best picture ever (of course you have to pay extra, but its so worth it).
2. Stay at the YMCA in Harlem. For a cheap place to sleep at night, this is the place to go. If you are traveling on a budget, $90 a night is not bad compared to the $230 a night. Depending on getting a standard sized room or a double, the prices will change. However, the YMCA includes a pool, gym access, and more. The only catch is having to share 4 bathrooms per floor. It wasn’t too bad but it was definitely good enough for 13 students on a budget.
3. Use the subway and buses! Maybe this is a given, but a MetroCard can be used on subways and buses! I didn’t know this. Using this pass, you can get practically anywhere in New York using these two transportation systems. The fare for one ride is $2.75. If you are going to be using the subway and buses, it would be worth it to buy a 7-day pass. Taxis are really expensive, the subway and buses are the way to get around on a budget.
It’s impossible to do everything in New York. But not doing everything in New York this first time around, means that we just have to come again, right?
July 22nd, 2015
You’re on vacation in Portland, visiting friends, buying vintage clothing, drinking kombucha on tap, doing acrobatic yoga at Laurelhurst Park, watching somebody walk their pet pig, and you realize: You’ve got a paper to write. Or, you’ve got a bunch of emails to send to your boss and co-workers. Or, I need a break from people. One of the best things about Portland is the coffee, and here are some of our favorite coffee shops to get work done and hide out in, if need be!
5) Red Square Cafe (4505 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215)
This spot is a bit special for those who need to get work done on a computer because this is a free internet cafe. Now, it is a bit of a smaller space, but rarely is it crowded. Sandwiches are their specialty, and you can fill out a sheet for a build-your-own sandwich. The location of the cafe is awesome. If you get bored of sitting around and getting work done, you can take a break by walking further down Belmont and go to some boutique shops. You can also take a stroll through Laurelhurst Park nearby. That said, the Soviet-era theme is entertaining and fun and the atmosphere is nice and calm, perfect for a morning of reading and writing!
4) Coava Coffee (1300 SE Grand Ave. Portland, OR, 97214)
Coava has a loooot of space and is actually has the best coffee in town, in my humble opinion. If you are an espresso connoisseur, you’ll love Coava. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of space, but I will say it can get quite busy. Bring your headphones just in case you need to shut people out. The location is deeply in Inner-Southeast, extremely close to downtown, just in case you get an itch to go shopping.
3) Hungry Heart Bakery (414 SE 80th Ave, Portland, OR 97215)
Now technically… this is a bakery. But they do have coffee. The space is also often quieter and calmer. The coffee is yummy, but the baked good are what make this place special. Bialies (and bialy sandwiches), macarons, croissants (and croissant sandwiches), pastries, muffins, brownies and most famously cupcakes, as well as other fresh baked treats, make up their menu and are sure to please the customer.
2) Bipartisan Cafe (7901 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215)
Bipartisan is actually right around the corner Hungry Heart, but their specialty is pie. And they do it right. My favorite, personally, is marionberry-peach, but they have apple, apple blueberry, apple marionberry, apple raspberry, banana cream, butterscotch cream, cherry, chocolate cream, chocolate espresso cream, chocolate orange cream, chocolate peanut butter cream, coconut amaretto cream, coconut cream, espresso cream, German chocolate cream, lemon meringue, lemon raspberry meringue, marionberry peach, peaches & cream, peach blueberry, peach raspberry, pear candied ginger, pear raspberry, pecan, pumpkin, sour cream apple, strawberry rhubarb, aaaaaaaaaand triple berry. That’s a lot of pie. Their sandwiches, soup, bagels, wraps, and other baked treats are also delicious, and there are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Also, they serve Water Avenue coffee. The space is quite large, though it is often busy, many people are also there to get work done. Also, the decor is fairly entertaining, as they run with an American politics theme.
1) Rocking Frog Cafe (2511 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214)
So I have to say, this is my favorite place to hide out in Portland. The donuts are homemade and delicious, the coffee is amazing, and every salad and sandwich I’ve had here tastes so fresh! Rocking Frog is located in a house, so there are many rooms, most of which feel like a study or a beautiful library. There’s plenty of nooks to study in, and though it can get busy, there’s usually space. Worst comes to worst, there’s a backyard with plenty of seating.
The thing about Portland, even SE Portland, is that there are countless coffee shops and cafes that are perfect spots to concentrate and do what you need to do. If you come to Portland, I recommend getting as much work done as you can before coming, because you don’t want to spend your vacation in a coffee shop working, but that being said… that wouldn’t be the worst thing, either, right?
July 18th, 2015
One reason I love Portland: Original Practice Shakespeare (OPS). A few weeks back I went to the top of Mt. Tabor, a dormant volcanic vent in my neighborhood, with snacks and a blanket on hand, and watched the OPS crew perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. It. Was. Hilarious. And I’m not even that into Shakespeare. In fact, I used to dread reading Shakespeare in high school. But seeing it performed is different than reading it in class, and OPS is veeeeeeery unique.
OPS faithfully walks in the tradition of Shakespeare. They use natural lighting (other than the special performance I saw, which was in the middle of the night) and there is not much of a set. The most unique aspect of OPS is that there is little rehearsal. The actors have a tiny scroll of their lines, and are often just as surprised as the audience to the movement of the plot. The acting moves fast and things can get a bit improvisational, and the audience is very much involved. In fact, booing and cheering are encouraged, just like in the days of Shakespeare. Also, the actors are not scared of getting involved with the audience, as they often make their way into the audience and even respond to their shouts. Just as outrageous as the acting are the outfits. The crew has a very eclectic and even eccentric taste. Overall, the OPS twist to Shakespeare is both modern and absurd. It’s a glorious mixture of things that makes for a great time for the whole family. And… it’s free!
This summer, from July 23rd to August 2nd, there is the Fourth Annual Laurelhurst Festival. There will be 12 different performances of 11 different Shakespeare plays. To find out the days and times of the performances at the Festival and otherwise, check out their website here.
June 16th, 2015
Last fall, I wrote about Gas Works Park, an innovative park that was brilliantly built out of the remnants of a gas plant. This park was deemed by the Seattle Times as ”easily the strangest park in Seattle, and may rank among the strangest in the world.” This space is not only beautiful (yes, in a strange way, nevertheless BEAUTIFUL) but also incredibly fun. Their events this summer prove the latter.
Here is the next month of events at Gas Works Park!
HONK! Fest West in Seattle
June 18, 2015
HONK! Fest West is a three-day music festival that puts the spotlight on”marching bands, drum corps, samba lines, and anything acoustic and mobile that makes a ruckus.” This eccentric celebration of music, life, and joy itself is most definitely family-friendly and free!
Build Disaster Kits at the Fremont Fair in Seattle
June 20, 2015
As part of the Fremont Fair, this event will be all about supplying Seattle families with emergency kits in case of natural disaster or other emergencies. The Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, Seattle Works, and the Allstate Foundation have come together to support and run this event.
See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Run Seattle WA 2015 in Seattle
July 12, 2015
Registration starts now for the Women’s Half Marathon, 5K and Kids Run at Gas Works Park. You like running? How about goodies? For those who register, there will be plenty of that at the See Jane Run half-marathon. The Runners Goodies include: Technical T, Finisher Medal, tote bags, goodie/virtual bag, chocolate, and beverages.
Doesn’t sound too bad, huh?
To stay updated with events at Gas Works Park, check their EventBrite!
June 10th, 2015
You want to go on a trip maybe to Hawaii, New York, Tokyo, or Paris. How are you going to get all of that money? Your family can’t really afford to go on a trip, what do you do? You find ways to save!
Here are my top five tips on how to save:
1. Recycle cans and bottles. If you find water bottles, soda cans, or soda bottles going into the trash at your house, you are basically throwing away money. In each state, it is different as to how much a bottle can costs. But money is money. If you fill up 3 big garbage bags, you can make $30! Those $30 could go toward your trip.
2. Recycle change. You see a penny on the floor and you don’t pick it up. How many times have you seen a penny on the floor? In total, you could have had maybe 50 cents. But everything counts! If your parents come home everyday with change and you know they hate carrying it around, take it and store it in a piggy bank. By the end of a month those 75 cents everyday coming home will turn into close to $25!
3. Get a job! If you are 16+, you can apply to get a job in most fast food places, stores at the mall, or almost anywhere. If you’re not or your parents won’t allow you to get a job, there are many more options. Mowing lawns for neighbors, babysitting, or cleaning family member’s houses. You can always make deals with your aunts and uncles like, “I will clean your backyard, mow the lawn, pull the weeds, cut the bushes, etc. if you give me x amount of money”. Most family members will be more than happy to help!
4. Swagbucks! What if you earned points for every search you made and those points added up to free gift cards? That would be amazing, right? Well, Swagbucks lets you get $10, $25, $50, $100 gift cards to places like Target (where we usually get because then we can get gift cards to many more places), eBay, Amazon, Starbucks, Burger King, Caribbean cruises, and Hotels. By using their search engine, answering surveys, watching videos, etc., you can easily earn points to get gift cards. Those gift cards can go to paying for Subway or Starbucks at the airport, or your dream cruise you’ve always wanted to take. You might as well earn points for your searches that you normally do on Google.
For instance, for our Disneyland trip, we earned $500 worth of Disney gift cards by redeeming our Swagbucks for Target and buying $50 gift cards for Disney. It took my family a year to get that much, but slowly we earned all of our money to buy our tickets and food.
5. GoFundMe. GoFundMe is a website that allows you to advertise your cause for which you want to save money for. Many are for Travel, some are for Medical reasons, or Family Emergencies. You raise money by writing a story about yourself and why you need the money. People then look at your page and decide if they would like to donate to your cause. The amount can be as little to $1 or as big as $1000 or even more. I currently created one for my trip I want to take to Costa Rica. You can read more about it and donate here. You have to advertise it by going to your local newspaper or radio station to see if they can give a shoutout about it. You could also share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to get the word out. Family members and friends are most likely to donate $5. Before you know it you have saved up at least half of your money. A close friend of mine raised $2000 for her trip to Europe by sharing on her mom’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and local radio station.
By doing all of these things, overtime, the money will add up! These are just a few ways to save money for your trips or dream vacations. Encourage your family to do these as well and then those dream vacations will come true!