If you’re looking at traveling from Portland to Vancouver, there are many options available to you. Depending on your budget and requirements, you have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing how and when to travel…
Portland travel information
Portland in Oregon is a travel hub in the U.S. for both domestic and international travel. There are many different travel options here since it’s one of the most populated cities in the U.S.
Portland is the biggest city in the state of Oregon, meaning that it’s the travel center for the Pacific Northwest. Most of the buses and trains operate from downtown Portland at Union Station. This is also close to Portland International Airport.
Portland’s Union Station serves many Amtrak train and Greyhound bus routes. You can also use the intercity bus service, local TriMet bus connections, MAX Light Rail connections and Portland Streetcar connections here. Union Station is well-equipped with both a bar and a restaurant.
There is also a passenger lounge for business-class and first-class travelers.
Vancouver travel information
The bustling coastal seaport of Vancouver in British Columbia is one of the most ethnically diverse and dense cities in the whole of Canada. It is the most populous city in its province.
Its diversity is part of what makes Vancouver so interesting. More than half of Vancouver’s residents don’t speak English natively.
What is interesting about Vancouver in terms of travel is that it is surrounded by water on three sides. This means it has many bridges. It also has the SkyTrain system, which is a light metro. There are also buses, trolleybuses, streetcars, trains and a SeaBus.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located in Richmond on Sea Island. It is a busy international airport. Most long-distance trains arrive at Pacific Central Station.
Traveling from Portland to Vancouver
If you’re heading from Portland to Vancouver, there are many different ways to approach your journey. So let’s take a look.
By Air – Portland to Vancouver
Arguably the quickest and most obvious way of getting to Vancouver from Portland is by plane. First, you’ll need to take the Red Line tram to Portland Airport (PDX) from downtown Portland.
The tram runs every 20 minutes or less. The journey takes around half an hour to travel the 11 miles, with tickets being a reasonable $2 to $3. When you take the tram, you’ll need to get off at Portland Int’l Airport Station – it’s really straightforward.
There are many possible flight options between Portland (PDX) and Vancouver (YVR), with the flight time being approximately 1h10m.
There are numerous direct flights daily with Air Canada, and Alaska Airlines, Inc. Delta Airlines also has a daily flight with one change in Seattle. The total flight time for this option is around 3h20m.
According to Rome2rio.com, the flights range in price from $75 to $465 for a one-way flight.
Once in Vancouver Airport, you’re about 9 miles and a 24-minute train journey to the center (Vancouver City Centre Station). The trains run every 10 minutes and cost in the region of $3 to $5.
By Air – Portland to Bellingham – Vancouver
If the direct route isn’t suitable or you’d just like to combine two journey types, there are other flight options. For example, you can travel via plane from Portland to Bellingham (BLI) and then get the shuttle to Vancouver from there.
The flight from Portland to Bellingham takes between 2h45m and six hours (depending on the change in Seattle). It costs between $90 and $240.
The shuttle from Bellingham Airport takes just over 90 minutes and costs between $30 and $60. The shuttle arrives in Vancouver at Holiday Inn Downtown.
By Train and Air – Portland – Seattle – Vancouver
Should you wish to combine journey types or have a stopover in Seattle, you can travel from Portland to Vancouver by train and air.
The first leg of the journey is from Portland to Tacoma Amtrak Station on the train. This is a journey of around 140 miles, and it takes approximately 2h30m. Ticket prices start at $30 and go up to around $48. There are around five trains each day.
After arriving at Tacoma Amtrak Station, you would need to walk to Tacoma Dome Station and take bus number 574 to SeaTac Station. This journey takes 45 minutes and costs just a couple of dollars. There are buses every 30 minutes.
Once at Seattle Airport (SEA), Vancouver is a short one-hour flight. This flight costs as little as $100. Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, and Delta all run daily flights.
By Bus – Portland to Vancouver
If taking the bus appeals to you, you have a few options. Whilst there is no direct bus between Portland and Vancouver, the journey is fairly straightforward.
From Portland to Seattle, you can take the Greyhound number 9704 or Flixbus USA 2110. The former takes 4h30 and the latter 3h30. The cost of the bus from Portland to Seattle is reasonably priced and starts at $10, going up to around $35.
Once in Seattle, you can take an Amtrak bus directly to Vancouver. This journey takes 3h30. You can purchase tickets online at Amtrak.com.
Getting the best deals
People often choose to go by bus because it is reasonably priced. Here are some tips on getting the best deals for your fares.
- Book in advance. Prices will be more expensive the closer to your departure date you are. However, if your trip is a last-minute affair, it is still better to book as far in advance as you can; you will always pay the most on the day of travel.
- If you have the luxury of choosing when you travel, holidays will be cheaper, as will mid-week. Travel companies put their prices up when they know lots of people will be traveling!
- Tickets will always be cheaper purchased online rather than in person or through a travel agency.
- Look for money off vouchers and codes from social media or on websites.
- Subscribe to reward systems and apply for points-based reward cards.
- Check to see if you are eligible for a discount – students, the military, and pensioners can often get a reduction in the ticket price.
Tips when traveling on a long journey
A long journey on a bus or train isn’t easy. A bus trip is probably the least comfortable as you’re unable to get up to stretch your legs. So you should make sure that you bring things to keep you entertained and comfortable. Blankets, neck pillows, headphones and your smartphone or tablet can make the journey much more pleasant. Don’t forget snacks too!
By Train: Portland – Vancouver (direct)
If you’re looking for a cheaper way to travel but one that offers relative comfort, the train is a great option.
The train from Portland to Vancouver covers some 331 miles and takes around 8 hours. The prices are really reasonable, starting at $40 and going up to $75.
The train from Portland to Vancouver is direct, so once you’re on that train, you can relax for the whole journey until you reach your destination. Some overnight trains are also available.
Tickets can be booked at amtrak.com, at the train station or by telephoning +1800-871-7245.
Tips for traveling by train
Even though the train journey is long, Portland to Vancouver is direct, which means you can settle down until you reach your destination.
In addition, most Amtrak trains have Wi-Fi, which means you can browse the internet, work, and stream music to your heart’s content. However, don’t rely on this and have a backup plan just in case!
Trains between Portland and Vancouver typically run twice a day. There is usually an 8h day train and a 16h overnight train. At the time of writing, the day train departs at 3 pm and arrives at 11 pm.
The night train leaves at 7:30 pm and arrives at 11:45 am the following day.
If you enjoy driving or road trips, traveling from Portland to Vancouver isn’t too far. You can typically travel 315 miles in just under six hours.
Fuel for this journey would probably cost around $50, but this could be quite economical if more than one person is traveling.
Suggested stop-off points
It’s possible to make the journey all in one day. Seattle is around halfway, but it’s probably not ideal for a quick stop-off.
There are some smaller towns that would be a great lunch stop, including Lakewood, Everett, and Lynnwood.
If speed is what you need, flying is the quickest way to get from Portland to Vancouver. However, if you consider check-in time and transport to and from the airports, it’s not much slower to make the journey by car, if you have one.
If your budget is tight, driving is the cheapest, followed by the train and bus.
For people who enjoy traveling and like taking in the scenery, the train is a really pleasant way of getting about.
When you decide how to get to Vancouver from Portland, you’ll need to assess your priorities. If you’re in a hurry, you might want to fly. But, the train or bus might be appropriate for those who like to take in the scenery or like a stress-free journey.
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Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam