Tips for Travelers
Entry requirements are subject to change. For current information, see the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website (www.travel.state.gov). All visitors from abroad must be in possession of a valid passport in order to enter the United States. Also required in most cases is a round-trip or return ticket, or proof of sufficient funds for a visit and a return ticket. Visitors from most countries must also have a valid visa for entry. (See the State Department website, www.state.gov, for a current list of countries for which the visa requirement is waived.) Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside your country of permanent residence.
Traveling with Children
Oregon is a great place to travel with kids, with plenty of attractions and activities to keep them interested. One of the first things travelers by car will notice is the ample number of rest stops, with one every 30–60 miles or so on most major routes. In most towns and cities, public parks offer play structures and open spaces where kids can burn off some energy. Many Oregon state parks offer excellent recreational opportunities for families such as guided hikes, nature programs, and campfire presentations.
Many B&Bs discourage children. Where possible, we’ve indicated policies (for and against) in accommodations listings, but it’s always a good idea when making a reservation to inquire as to whether the lodging is appropriate for children.
Travelers with Disabilities
Oregon is generally proactive with regard to providing accessible facilities for people with disabilities, though there’s always room for improvement. The great outdoors and some older buildings (lighthouses, for example), of course, can pose some insurmountable challenges, but many parks and recreation areas work to accommodate visitors with mobility issues. Access-Able Travel Source (303/232-2979, www.access-able.com) is a starting point for information on accessible travel.
The Golden Access Passport, which allows free entry to designated federal recreation areas such as national parks and monuments, Bureau of Land Management lands, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife sites, is available to those who are blind or permanently disabled. The pass is free to qualified applicants; get details from the National Forest Foundation (877/465-2727, www.natlforests.org).
Elderhostel (877/426-8056, www.elderhostel.org) is a nonprofit organization that offers travelers aged 55 and over a full spectrum of affordable recreational and cultural experiences all over the world. Dozens of opportunities are usually available in Oregon at any given time and may include such experiences as natural history courses on the coast, theater tours and performances, train excursions, field trips to the desert, Columbia River cruises, the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and much more. The Elderhostel in Ashland is actually quite famous for having one of the most dynamic Elderhostel programs in the country.
Gay and Lesbian Travelers
In Portland, college towns such as Eugene and Corvallis, and most touristed areas, gay and lesbian visitors can expect to find progressive attitudes. In these places there are venues that specifically cater to same-sex couples. Outside of these places, one may find the attitude considerably less open and accepting; in more rural parts of the state, the attitude may be downright hostile.
On the other hand, gays and lesbians live all over the state, and the relationships that these folks have built with their neighbors and coworkers often paves the way for acceptance of gay and lesbian travelers.
In Portland a free monthly magazine, Just Out (www.justout.com), is a useful resource, providing entertainment and events listings in the area as well as addressing political and social issues. Another useful resource, with some destination and travel-planning information for Oregon (as well as the rest of the world), is Gay.com’s travel pages (www.gay.com/travel).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel