Travel experts give low-budget summer getaway ideas for Oregonians

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Inflation is making travel more expensive for everyone, but that doesn’t mean Oregonians have to skip a summer getaway.

Although a “staycation” may be the most convenient and least expensive option this summer, there are still plenty of fun and interesting things to do close to home.

For example, Oregon is home to 361 state parks, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of Oregon State Parks, said Allison Keeney with Travel Oregon.

“So there’s lots of free activities happening all throughout the year and summer,” said Keeney.

A trip to a state park is easy on the wallet too. It’s $5 for a day pass and $30 for an annual pass.

Keeney said another inexpensive option would be exploring one of Oregon’s self-guided food trails, which highlight local food and drinks. There are a number of food trails across the state.

“It’s really a great way to kind of DIY [do it yourself] your way around destinations. Again, it’s like U-pick farms, restaurants, breweries,” said Keeney.

She said if you’ve got an electric car, Oregon has one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States. For drivers who don’t have an electric car, you can rent an electric car online.

RELATED: Tesla plans super-sized charging station in small Oregon town

KGW found one going for $98 per day on a website that allows people to rent their cars.

Keeney said people should also think about bringing bicycles with them on their trips if possible.

“Oregon is one of the most bikeable states in the United States with 17 scenic bikeways. And even in some of the more remote part of the state, they’ll be equipped to handle bike repairs and parking and wayfinding,” said Keeney.

For hotel stays, Keeney suggested staying midweek and following hotels on social media, where they might post deals.

What about flying somewhere?

When it comes to flights, experts say inexpensive fares for this summer may be challenging to find.

“This late in the game, it might be really hard to find those really cheap fares,” said Lousson Smith with Scott’s Cheap Flights, a company that sends last-minute deals to both free and paid subscribers. “Right now is a great time to be looking at flights for Christmas or the early winter months.”

Smith said it’s important to adjust expectations. But if you’re still bent on flying somewhere this summer, there are options.

“You can consider flying one way and then driving back,” said Smith.

RELATED: Airfare is surging, but PDX prices are soaring above other cities

Another option is to fly somewhere then take an Amtrak train back. Smith said instead of focusing on the destination, plan with price in mind first. That’ll expand options.

“Sometimes people get caught up on the place they want to go when they really need to be thinking about what type of trip they want to have,” Smith said.

Smith also talked about mistake fares, when airlines mistakenly sell flights that are mispriced. While they do happen every now and again, Smith said they’re often available for only a short period of time. Even when people are able to book it quickly, it’s possible the airline may not honor the low price and cancel.

Whether searching for a flight or staying close to home, flexibility is also key.

Free or low-cost travel ideas and events this summer:

Statewide tourism destination websites:

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