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Old 10-23-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
peachygreen
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Seattle - Vancouver Timing Question

I am planning to fly into Seattle for our Cruise to Alaska. Yes I know flying to Vancouver is more convient but I have a ton of Rapid Rewards points on Southwest so flying into Seattle is Free (for all 4 of us).

It looks like I could fly into Seattle on Saturday morning and get in at either 11:05am or 12:15pm. From the Amtrak schedule it looks like there is a train that leaves at 4:45pm.

How doable would it be to catch the 4:45pm train on the same day my flight arrives into Seattle. From a logistics perspective I would think it would be easier to have one very long travel day and only have to check into one hotel. This would then give us all day Sunday and part of Monday to explore Vancouver. If we stayed in Seattle on Saturday night and took the train Monday morning we would get to short days in both cities which means we probably wouldn't see much of either is my guess.

I'll be traveling with 2 adults and 2 kids ages 8 and 4. We would take a taxi from the airport to the train station.

I know it will be a long day as our flight would leave Houston at 6:10am CT or 7:55am CT and we wouldn't get to a hotel until most likely 9:00pm PT (train is scheduled to arrive at 8:15pm and I plan to stay at the Pan Pacific). If we did this we would stay at a hotel by the airport in Houston Friday night to make getting to the airport easier in the morning.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:51 PM   #2
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It's definitely possible. From what I remember (this was like 2007) it's about 30 minutes from the Amtrak station to the airport. Just to be on the same side I would go for the 11.05 flight in case of delays.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peachygreen View Post
I am planning to fly into Seattle for our Cruise to Alaska. Yes I know flying to Vancouver is more convient but I have a ton of Rapid Rewards points on Southwest so flying into Seattle is Free (for all 4 of us).

It looks like I could fly into Seattle on Saturday morning and get in at either 11:05am or 12:15pm. From the Amtrak schedule it looks like there is a train that leaves at 4:45pm.

How doable would it be to catch the 4:45pm train on the same day my flight arrives into Seattle. From a logistics perspective I would think it would be easier to have one very long travel day and only have to check into one hotel. This would then give us all day Sunday and part of Monday to explore Vancouver. If we stayed in Seattle on Saturday night and took the train Monday morning we would get to short days in both cities which means we probably wouldn't see much of either is my guess.

I'll be traveling with 2 adults and 2 kids ages 8 and 4. We would take a taxi from the airport to the train station.

I know it will be a long day as our flight would leave Houston at 6:10am CT or 7:55am CT and we wouldn't get to a hotel until most likely 9:00pm PT (train is scheduled to arrive at 8:15pm and I plan to stay at the Pan Pacific). If we did this we would stay at a hotel by the airport in Houston Friday night to make getting to the airport easier in the morning.
Have you thought about renting a car in Seattle and dropping it off in Vancouver?

Mike
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
mommybunnyof2
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We are in the same situation. We have free flights using Southwest so we need to find the best way to get to the Vancouver from Seattle. We are thinking of renting a car and driving the 3-4 hours. We are also looking into riding the shuttle that's only about $200 for our family of four. We still have some time to decide since SW doesn't have their flights open for our departure dates (late July).
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
peachygreen
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Have you thought about renting a car in Seattle and dropping it off in Vancouver?

Mike
I have thought about it but that means taking carseats with me and quite frankly I don't want to do that. For a trip that length I would definately need the heavy 5-pt harness seat for my tiny 4 year old and my 8 year old will still need the high-back booster. I'm looking forward to a cruise without carseats this time. I don't have any excursions that will require a carseat so it will be nice to "travel light"
It also means that my husband would be driving the 3 hours instead of getting to just kick back and relax on the train as a family, play games together, enjoy the scenary, eat in the dining car etc. It would also mean either getting 2 one-way rentals and having to drop off the car at the Vancouver airport and getting a shuttle/taxi back to the port or getting a round trip rental (which is actually cheaper) and pay to park at the terminal for the week.

I am pretty sure that a cab to the train station and the train up and the express shuttle back are going to be the easiest/most economical way for our family to go. I will continue to look into all my options however.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
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This is a beautiful train trip.If you go at night you will miss the beautiful scenery. Also you may still want to fly in a day in advance because if your flight is late and you miss the train, how will you get to Vancouver?

We went a few years ago and spent a few days in Seattle before going to Vancouver. We had a wonderful time. We bought a Settle City Pass. It let us see a lot of the city sites and saved $$
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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There is also a bus straight form SEATAC to Canada Place (and other hotels)

http://www.quickcoach.com/

We are just flying straight to Vancouver. Being from California is wasnt that much more on Alaska Airlines.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:00 PM   #8
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That would be great, but..... if I'm reading it correctly, the 4:45 pm itinerary is a bus.

Quote:
getting to just kick back and relax on the train as a family, play games together, enjoy the scenary, eat in the dining car etc
And that means that those things aren't possible. The bus is VERY different from the train. The scenery is lovely on the highway, but there's no water views like on the train, and the bald eagle sightings are few and far between. No food, no water, and when we got put on the bus because of a landslide canceling the train, no toilet, either. Lots of rest stops instead, and at Peace Arch we got to get out of the bus with our carryons and go through metal detectors while putting bags through xrays there, instead of doing it all at the station before getting on the mode of transportation. A very very different trip.


ETA: just called them (was making tons of phone calls anyway) and yep, the only trains are at 7:40am and 6:50pm. Everything else is a bus.

The timing of those trains is why answering "how should I get to Vancouver from Seattle" is so complicated. Because it really does require one night in Seattle and then, if you're playing it safe, one night in Vancouver too. And suddenly just flying into Vancouver feels a whole lot cheaper!

Of course, one night in each is awesome and I highly recommend it. It's just not a budget-friendly option.


http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/867/917/...des-091013.pdf
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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I'd avoid the bus and driving if I could. The border is unpredictable. You don't want to start your trip stressed
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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Flying into Vancouver definitely not cheaper (bor would it feel it) when the plane tickets are free. I could have sworn the time table said it was a train but the website was glitchy today. Either way we are flying in Saturday for the Monday cruise. I was trying to figure out a way to maximize our time. If we fly and stay in Seattle for a night we get a half a day there and a half a day in Vancouver and an extra day of travel stress. Can we check or store luggage at the traib station in Seattle.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #11
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It definitely was glitchy, that's why I phoned them. And because the little picture next to the 4:45 could be either a bus or a caboose in my eyes.

I don't mean flying from home to Vancouver, I mean flying from Seattle to Vancouver, which is like 45 minutes, vs spending the extra time in both cities. Everyone always talks about how expensive it is to fly from Seattle to Vancouver, and since I have zero interest in propeller planes I've just trusted them. But DH took one once for work and it was just so FAST. But when you are suddenly *having* to spend more money on hotels, it's worth considering!
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:58 PM   #12
peachygreen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
It definitely was glitchy, that's why I phoned them. And because the little picture next to the 4:45 could be either a bus or a caboose in my eyes.

I don't mean flying from home to Vancouver, I mean flying from Seattle to Vancouver, which is like 45 minutes, vs spending the extra time in both cities. Everyone always talks about how expensive it is to fly from Seattle to Vancouver, and since I have zero interest in propeller planes I've just trusted them. But DH took one once for work and it was just so FAST. But when you are suddenly *having* to spend more money on hotels, it's worth considering!
I'll keep an eye out for fare sales. I only found rates in the $350 a person range. That is way more than I am wanting to spend when I could get the train business class for all 4 of use for $190. I was planning on the express bus on the way back because I have read that you can save time since leaving from Canada Place to the airport you clear customs when you leave.

So it looks like I would have no problem getting the 6:50pm train, sunset is around 9:15pm so most of the trip would still have nice views. I am sure the kids would end up sleeping most of the way though.

I still have time to think about it. We might just get a hotel in Seattle for the night, have dinner see the Space Needle and the Market and then catch the early morning train on Sunday. It just means more transfer time and less time to explore in Vancouver.
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