heather and i with coffee in front of the seattle public market sign

Kicking off 2019 with a trip to Seattle was definitely a move in the right direction. Not only did one of my Instagram photos get the most likes ever, but I had a BLAST unplugging from work and normal life for a week! Seattle and the PNW has been on my bucket list to visit for about 10 years (!!!) and y’all bet your coffee addictions I’ll be back soon! There are so many incredible spots to visit, and next time I’ll be packing my REAL camera and some hiking gear to explore the PNW outdoors. (You can see more about our trip here.)

Since I’m hoping to travel more in 2019, but not drop thousands of dollars, I thought I’d share how we did this trip for under $500. (Can you believe it!? I hardly can!)

Here’s our breakdown of costs:
$227 for airplane tickets (thanks Frontier and cheeeeap January one-way flights!)
Lodging: FREE! (staying with friends does that. but AirBnb is great if you plan ahead!!)
Transportation: $60 using bus,
train, and uber/lyft (and lots of free walking!)
Food: $160 for 4 days
Museums: $25 to
Museum of Flight, $10 tickets for Smith Tower happy hour

I truly believe that if you make travel a priority, it can happen! You just have to be vigilant at searching for cheap flights (or be willing to drive). Since I didn’t travel for about 5 years in college and right after (except for family or work-related travel), I am embracing the value of this season of singleness and not-yet-motherhood. It’s a chance for me to get to spend tie with dear friends, see some incredible places that God created for us to enjoy and experience, and learn about culture… and about myself. It’s so possible to visit AMAZING places and not break your budget!


— January is a great time to visit Seattle! Particularly if you aren’t planning to do much hiking. It’s warmer than the midwest (I wore layers & a rain jacket— no winter coat!), not many other tourists to crowd things up, and you may run into some off-season deals! Next time I go, however, I’d like to visit in summer or fall to experience other angles of the area.

—Make a Plan! Heather and I started a Google Doc and ended up planning out each day. A little more “Type A” but definitely saved us headaches most of the time. Use strategy, see things in the same area to save on transport costs & walking energy, and know when places open/close. Have some backups handy in case you run into unexpected closings or what have you.

—See the main tourist things first! We started out at Pike Place Market. It was a Tuesday morning in January aka NOT busy! Perfect for navigating around with ease and not feeling pressured to move along.

— Dim Sum in Chinatown. So cheap, so good. What else needs to be said!?

— Pack light. Since we flew Frontier, and had three or four one-way flights, we didn’t want to pay extra for baggage. SO, we packed in our backpacks! A little challenging, but I did it and will stand proudly on that fact.


— Stay in the same place (hotel/airbnb) the whole time (so you can leave all your things there the entire week!) Wearing our backpacks all day on Friday wasn’t a highlight. Haha!

— Next time I’m willing to pay for better flights/more packing space. I want to take my real camera! Buuuut my iPhone XS did an amazing job and honestly so many of the photos are wonderful, I’m not mad. :)

— The Seattle Public Library is incredible. The architecture astounded me, even though I’d seen it in photos! I’d love to have gone back and just sat and read a book. (Plus, it’s free!)

—I wish I’d known the cost for a Brewery Tour and planned for that. They’re pricy, but would be such a cool experience!


— Uhhhh everywhere!? Of course: Pike Place, see the Needle (and if you want to spend a whole day there, get the city pass & get to see the Needle, Aquarium, MoPOP, and Chihuly!! Heather isn’t a museum person so we didn’t opt for that this time) and walk around the Pier. We did do the Museum of Flight, which could honesty take a whole day. If you aren’t a museum person, skip it. But if you like history and/or airplanes, this is for you!

—Visit the neighborhoods (next time I want an AirBnb in Queen Anne because it’s adorable!) and just walk around. Found my dream vintage volvo station wagon in baby blue… so ya know I gotta move now. ;)

— You MUST do happy hour up the Smith Tower! It’s discounted, and you still get the full museum experience if you want it. Or just go straight up to the top for some great drinks and equally amazing 360-degree views of the city! Also, if you enjoy a fancy drink, check out any of the other speakeasies in Seattle!

— Take a ferry! We chose the one to Bainbridge Island and it was magical. Most shops and things were closed (that’s what you get for off season travel!) but we loved dreaming up what people on the Island do in real life. ;) Plus, you gotta splurge for dinner at the Harbour Public House. Amaaaazing.

— Thanks to Instagram and my friend Callie, we visited the best coffee shop on our final day in Seattle. RUN DON’T WALK to Storyville Coffee! (It’s a maze finding it but worth the hunt!!) Next time I’ll be there multiple times if I can!


-one backpack and one foldable canvas purse/bag
-one pair of tennis shoes (the only shoes I took/wore!)
-one rain jacket
-one pair of black of loose leggings and one pair of skinny jeans
-PJ’s that worked as airplane clothes (leggings and t-shirt, since we traveled at night)
-a tank top & undergarments
-one long black cardigan
-two long-sleeved shirts
-two sweaters
-rain jacket and large blanket scarf

That’s it! I could have taken one less sweater and done laundry, or even re-worn items (as I did). It was a lot easier to pack in a backpack for this trip, probably helped out by mild temps there. It was amazing to not need a winter coat in January for Seattle! I worried about just wearing tennis shoes but the rain was more like drizzle. As long as you don’t step in any puddles, you don’t need rain boots. :)

If you’ve made it this far, Gold Star! Now for the fun part… photos! Enjoy a few of my favorites from our 4 days in Seattle!

photography of seattle skyline
happy hour cocktails smith tower seattle
ferris wheel in seattle
seattle dim sum restaurants in Chinatown
fresh poke bowl in seattle pike place market

Below is the Seattle Public Library. (Just a small part!)

two girls traveling outside seattle library
vintage blue station wagon volvo
tips for tourists in Seattle
good view of the ferris wheel in seattle
street where sleepless in seattle was filmed
french macaroons in seattle bakery

That’s it for now! Tell me what you think— did I miss anything?

And who wants to be my next travel buddy!?

Amelia Renee