The Savvy Traveler :: Lora

Lora is a Seattle-based freelance journalist who among other literary pursuits, writes a lot about traveling in Oregon, Washington and BC. Local travel is one of her first loves, and she regularly packs up to explore the region's city, country and seaside destinations with her husband and two kids. Many of her family travel tips and adventures can be found on As if she's not busy enough, in addition to all this, she's also written a book: Northwest Kid Trips: Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver. Here are her trip styling, Savvy Traveler picks...

1/ What are your top 3 trip styles and why?
[trip style = weekend getaway + urban + budget conscious] On perfect weekends, I do all three---staying in a four-star hotel I scored through Priceline in either Vancouver, BC or Portland. But budget conscious doesn’t always mean “cheap.” I’d rather stay in an upscale hotel or vacation rental than a super-discounted motel with a moldy fridge.

2/ What items are always on your packing list?
- Our picnic backpack (so we can eat anywhere, anytime)
- My iPhone (see why below)
- A great map and a swimsuit---you just never know when you're going to encounter an awesome mountain-fed stream for a quick dip

3/ Essential travel gadget or app?
My iPhone, which helps us navigate through cities, check in on work while I’m away, and gives the kids something to do while we’re sitting in border traffic.

4/ Favorite destination, plus what's on your radar and why?
Oh, my favorite? That’s so hard to decide. I love the Parisian alleys and cafes, Rome’s history and cafes, Florence’s art and cafes…hmm, I guess cafes are the deciding element.

On my radar: I intend to take a week-long trip up Vancouver Island this winter. I also hope to go to Japan---we had a planned trip for last March when the terrible Earthquake happened. We ended up going to Ireland instead, which was fine, but we still really want to go to Japan. Our Pacific Rim culture is so influenced by Japan, and I’ve always wanted to visit Japan---since my childhood, in fact!

5/ Best trip you've ever taken?
One of my most memorable trips was taking our 15-month old on a two-week driving vacation through Southern France and Italy. It helped me to realize that it was OK to travel without reservations, to drive along and let the road unfold. We'd show up in a town and pick a hotel upon arrival. Of course, this approach works best off peak-season, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to travel. We took this improvised approach to our trip along the Oregon Coast last fall and had a blast.

6/ Best destination/hotel/campground to take kids in summer and why?
This is a difficult question! Really, you can’t go wrong with any destinations in Washington, Oregon or British Columbia---especially in summer. In fact, I try to make sure we're always home during the summer, just so we can travel locally.

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our once-monthly Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

Other Savvy Travelers
Bryce, The Pilot

[photo via lora]