Category Archives: The Pacific Northwest

Photos from the Sail to San Juans are Up!

WIT Agent Wailana sailed up the San Juan Islands from Portland! Check out her photos of her journey in our gallery.


The San Juan Islands are a popular destination for whale-watching, bird-watching, sailing, motorboating and seaplane flying! Our agent Nancy has also stayed in the San Juans in 2012. It’s a great getaway addition to a trip to Seattle and/or Victoria. Call Wittravel to book a weekend stay or an extended vacation for you and your family. Call 800-821-0401 or email

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Filed under North America, Our Travel Agents, The Pacific Northwest, Travel by Ship, USA

The San Juan Islands

photo by jeffgunn, Creative Commons

You may have been wondering why this blog has been dark this past week—well, our blogger has been out of town!

She traveled up to the San Juan Islands, always a lovely destination in the summertime. Just a few hours north of Seattle, the islands are a beautiful escape for travelers within the Pacific Northwest. She definitely recommends visitors charter a boat while they’re there! The San Juans are best enjoyed by sail; unlike a motorboat, sailing allows for a more leisurely enjoyment of the islandscape. Chartering a boat is also the best way to catch sights of some sealife and local birds! A plethora of wildlife awaits you in the San Juans—seals, sea otters, orcas, dolphins, puffins, eagles and many more.

Visitors can also charter a sea plane for some fantastic bird-eye views, go kayaking around the beaches, hiking or bicycling.

Naturally, there is a well-developed ferry system that connects the islands. And don’t forget your passport—beautiful Victoria harbor and Vancouver Island await just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca!

Did you know?

–          The islands have an average of 247 days of sunshine a year.

–          There are no traffic lights anywhere in the islands.

–          San Juan Country has more miles of shoreline than any other in the USA, capping at 375 miles.

–          Roche Harbor’s Hotel de Haro is one of the most famous hotels in the area, with patrons as notable as Theodore Roosevelt and John Wayne.

Call Willamette Intl Travel for great travel connections to the San Juans. We’ve chartered boats, wildlife viewing tours, and rented idyllic cabins for couples and families. Call us at 503-224-0180 or email

photo by jeffgunn, creative commons

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Filed under Cruises, Family Travel, North America, Our Travel Agents, The Pacific Northwest, Travel by Ship, USA

Travel Tips Countdown: One to Three HOURS before you take to the skies

This week we are presenting a series on Travel Tips for new and experienced travelers alike. Check out our Agents’ tips and tricks on how to survive pre-travel!

Today: Checking In and Surviving Security

  • Check in at the airport. It’s advised to check in 1 ½ to 2 hours in advance of each domestic flight, and 2 to 3 hours in advance of each international flight.
  • Curbside check-in? Some airports offer curbside check in. Just present your photo ID along with your reservation number to one of the booths. You can print your boarding pass here as well. Note! You cannot check in international luggage at the curbside check-in.
  • Connection. Do make sure that if you have a connection your luggage is tagged to your final destination, and the boarding pass you receive has checked you in to your final destination. If this is not the case, you will have to recheck in your luggage and yourself during your connection.
  • What’s this about Liquids? Use a quart-size clear Ziploc for holding any liquids/gels that you want in your carry on.  Items must contain less than 3 oz. of liquid, among other restrictions. It cannot be a larger capacity container that is holding less than 3 oz., either.  It can ONLY be a quart size bag; it cannot be crammed full either.
  • Prohibited Items. There’s a plethora of items you’re not allowed to pack in your carry-on by the TSA. This includes firearms, sharp objects, self defense items, explosive materials, dangerous chemicals, etc. For a full list, check out: When in doubt, leave it out. Or better yet, put it in your checked luggage.
  • Operating Carrier. Always check in with the carrier operating the flight. If your flight is a codeshare, the flight code might read KL6008 but actually be operated by Delta. Check your reservation if in doubt.
  • Unpack certain items before you go into security. Be sure to unpack laptops and film, and have your boarding pass and ID ready.
  • Dress the Part. As you pass through metal detectors, screening will go by faster if you minimize metal on your person—keys, jewelry, piercings, watches. Keep these items in your carry-on until you pass through security. Remove your shoes. Slip-on shoes are recommended, but for comfort do make sure they are closed-toe. Tip! Children under the age of 12, seniors over 75, and passengers with certain disabilities or medical conditions are exempt.
  • Water Bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated on a flight. Once past security, travelers can purchase water (though often expensive) and take it onboard with them. Alternatively, you can have an empty water bottle in your carry on and fill it once you are past security.
  • Self-Check Kiosk. These machines are invaluable. If your airline has a self-check kiosk at the airport, you can skip the long check-in lines, check-in, print your boarding pass, then proceed to the luggage-only line in a matter of minutes.

Want specific tips but don’t see them here? Leave a comment and we’ll post about it!

Willamette Intl Travel has been in the travel industry for more than 35 years and we keep informed with all the latest policies and updates. Call us for more info! 800-821-0401 or email


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Filed under North America, The Pacific Northwest, Travel Tips, USA

Reading List: Pacific Northwest & the Columbia River

Time for another reading list from your agents! Today we’re taking a look at some of our favorite nature and historic books on the Pacific Northwest and the Columbia River…

Robin Cody. Voyage of a Summer Sun: Canoeing the Columbia River. A canoe trip from the headwaters of Columbia to Astoria

William L. Lang and Robert C, Carriker. Great River of the West: Essays on the Columbia River. Essays from historians and anthropologists on the history, culture, and mythos of the river.

Robin Cody. Another Way the River Has. Old and new essays about life on and around the Columbia River, from Estacada to Ilwaco.

John Logan Allen, Marjorie Burns, and Sam Sargent. Cataclysms on the Columbia. All about geology of the area, Bretz floods, etc

R. Gregory Nokes. Massacred for Gold. The 1887 massacre of 30 Chinese on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon.

William Dietrich. Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River. Another engaging history of the Columbia river.

Bill Mercer. People of the River: Native Arts of the Oregon Territory. An insightful and compelling study on the rich artistic heritage of Native Americans and their unique designs, materials, motifs.

Marge and Ted Mueller. Fire, Faults, and Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River Basin. Fifty-three trails on and over cliffs, walls, potholes, caves, and rivers through the Pacific Northwest. Includes maps, photographs, and illustrations. 

Planning a trip to the PNW? Call us for more details! Wittravel is based in Portland, Oregon, giving us a terrific base from which to design a “naturesque” vacation just for you.

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Filed under North America, Reading Lists, The Pacific Northwest, USA

Alamo Bowl Package: Book now!



Thinking of heading to the Alamo Bowl to see Texas square off against Oregon State? Willamette Intl Travel has partnered up with Brad at Teel’s Travel for an exclusive, escorted package to the game on Saturday, December 29!

With our special prices we can organize stays at the deluxe Marriott Riverwalk with additional rooms at the Hyatt.

The Alamo Bowl Package runs December 27-30, 2012 and includes:

–         Private deluxe motorcoach to/from San Antonio airport

–         3 nights in first class accommodations at Marriott Riverwalk

–         Welcome reception on the Riverwalk

–         Mike Parker Live radio show

–         OSU Pep Rally Thursday on the Riverwalk

–         All applicable taxes and grauities

–         Add-on Option: OSU Alumni Tailgater

We can arrange roundtrip air from Eugene or Portland to San Antonio for you as well!

Single, Triple and Quad room pricing available

Deluxe Hosted Package:

–          Land Only: from 845 per person  

Basic Package

–          Land Only: from 699 per person

Packages are selling fast! Don’t miss this chance to catch the game firsthand! Call us now!

503-224-0180 or email

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Filed under The Pacific Northwest, USA

Video: A Glimpse into the King Tut Exhibition

Now in Seattle until January 2013.

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Filed under Egypt, Features, Middle East, The Pacific Northwest, Videos, Washington

Trip Report: King Tut Exhibition

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to inspect cruise ships and the King Tut Exhibit. Today we take a look at her account of the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

King Tut Exhibit: By Wailana

Last month, Willamette Intl Travel featured a piece on the King Tut Exhibit on our blog. So having spent the better part of a day conducting research on it, I was excited to finally see the grand treasury for myself. That morning of July 14 was considerably foggy, so after first arming myself with some northwest coffee and buttered bagel, I then climbed up to the Seattle Center. Around 9.30 I collected my tickets from a kiosk and entered through the back entrance of the Pacific Science Center (entrance was closed for some unknown reason).

The purchase of my ticket had some notable perks that might interest the would-be Seatown Tourist. These are available with all ticket types, including students. Perks include:

–          $5 off for a combo package of Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit and Space Needle

–          $3 off on the Space Needle

–          Exclusive discounts at participating Pharaoh’s Gold locations throughout Puget Sound

–          Access to the rest of the Pacific Science Center and its other exhibits

Winding through the lake-top maze of the museum took me to the Tut lines. Guests can purchase audio tours before or at the door. Due to the large volume of crowds, entry is divided every fifteen minutes—time is chosen with your advanced purchase—but you can stay as long as you want inside the exhibit. I was there for about 1h15. I recommend that you come a bit earlier—it was really crowded by 10.30! If you purchase a hotel package with Willamette Intl Travel, your ticket will gain you VIP access—this means you can skip the line!

After a brief wait, my group flooded a dark room and watched a quick introductory film narrated by Harrison Ford and accompanied by dramatic orchestra. It was all very theatrical and designed to galvanize us with anticipation. The exhibit itself was chilled, dimly lit, with lights carefully focused as golden spotlights on each treasure and Egyptianesque music. Each room had a theme—pharaohs, spouses and children, viziers and other important whatnots, deities, and the tomb of King Tut itself.

Treasures included notable jewelry, statues, domestic items (vases, etc), but no papyri. Three of the most interesting pieces were the collection of mustachioed scribes, the straw bed of the young pharaoh (amazingly almost fully intact!) and the tiny sarcophagus that held two fetuses, alleged daughters of King Tut. They also showed photographs from the 1922 excavation of the tomb, and how it appeared before any disturbance by the archaeologist Howard Carter.

Unfortunately there was no mummy, so my morbid fascination was not appeased. They did have an artist’s very lifelike, very impressive, replica. Tutankhamen’s body was shown with pictures of Akhenaten’s (his supposed father), and the differences between preservation were remarkable. It’s understandable—and forgivable—then why Tut’s mummy is one of the only few that has never been removed from the dry desert of Egypt.

I was fortunate to see this exhibit more than twenty years ago in Egypt. I descended into Tut’s original tomb chambers in the Valley of the Kings—though encased in its golden sarcophagus, his mummy was still there!

The exhibition makes its final stop on its multi-decade worldwide tour in Seattle. In January 2013, the exhibit will return to the hands of the finest curators in Egypt. So this is the last chance for Americans to view the ancient treasures in their own northwest backyard!

Check out my photos of Seattle and the exhibit here.

You can arrange VIP exhibit & hotel packages with Willamette Intl Travel! Call us for more info or email Wailana at

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Filed under Egypt, The Pacific Northwest, USA, Washington, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?